Kim Tae-woo made his acting debut in 1996 in an episode of KBS2’s Hometown of Legends. The following year, he landed his first film role in The Contact, which was awarded the Best Film in the 35th Grand Bell Awards. In 1998, he acted a supporting role in the KBS2 drama Lie, which won him Best New Actor at the KBS Drama Awards. His career breakthrough came in 2000 after her was cast in the blockbuster war film Joint Security Area. His work in the movie earned him the Best New Actor trophy at the 2001 Golden Cinematography Awards.  The movie also took home Best Film citations at the 38th Grand Bell Awards and the 21st Blue Dragon Film Awards. In 2002, he headlined the SBS series That Woman Catches People, in which he received an Excellence Award at the SBS Drama Awards. In 2006, he joined the cast of the movie Woman on the Beach, in which he was named Best Supporting Actor at the Busan Film Critics Awards. In 2013, he was nominated for a Special Award at the SBS Drama Awards for romantic melodrama That Winter, the Wind Blows. In 2015, he picked an Excellence Award at the KBS Drama Awards for his performance in the sageuk series The Jingbirok: A Memoir of Imjin War.

Kim Tae-woo’s younger brother Kim Tae-hoon is also an actor. In 2013, Kim Tae-woo revealed in the MBC talk show Knee-Drop Guru that he had undergone a tongue surgery to make his pronunciation clearer.