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8 Must-Watch K-Dramas Starring Veteran Actor Sung Dong Il

Veteran actor Sung Dong Il is everyone’s favorite appa! You’ve seen him play the father to three different daughters from various editions of the popular Reply series. He even starred in the variety show Dad! Where Are We Going? with his kids, Joon and Bin, showcasing his parenting style in real life. But Dong Il’s 34-year acting career features more than just heartwarming family dramas. Check out the list below for more of his *amazing* work—including currently airing drama Jirisan.

Early Projects

1. It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)

Who else is in it: Jo In Sung, Gong Hyo Jin, Lee Kwang Soo, EXO’s D.O., Lee Sung Kyung, Yang Ik June

In this unique melo-romance that tackles mental health, author and DJ Jang Jae Yeol (In Sung) meets his match in psychiatrist Ji Hae Soo (Hyo Jin). Jae Yeol suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, while Hae Soo has sex phobia. Can a relationship bloom out of their growing attraction? Dong Il plays Dong Min, Hae Soo’s workmate at the hospital and also one of her housemates. He becomes invested in the case of Jang Jae Beom (Ik June), Jae Yeol’s brother, when he becomes the former’s court-appointed psychiatrist.

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2. Reply 1988 (2015)

Who else is in it: Lee Hye Ri, Ryu Jun Yeol, Go Kyung Pyo, Park Bo Gum, Lee Dong Hwi, Lee Il Hwa

We thought we’d put at least one installment of tvN’s Reply series on this list because being a part of all three dramas is a highlight of Dong Il’s career. He plays a different father in each drama, but his character always uses his real name. Reply 1988 tells the story of five friends living in 1988 and the challenges they face growing up—including love and family problems. Dong Il plays cheerful Duk Seon’s (Hye Ri) dad, who racks up some debts after his friend borrows money from him and disappears. He loves his family a lot and does his best to make ends meet.

3. Legend Of The Blue Sea (2015)

Who else is in it: Jun Ji Hyun, Lee Min Ho, Lee Hee Joon, Shin Hye Sun, Shin Won Ho, Lee Ji Hoon

Dong Il’s impressive portfolio features plenty of popular dramas. This includes hit fantasy rom-com Legend Of The Blue Sea, which stars Hallyu sensations Jun Ji Hyun and Lee Min Ho. The drama revolves around the innocent mermaid Shim Cheong (Ji Hyun) who falls for human con artist Heo Joon Jae (Min Ho). As Shim Cheong tries to adjust to daily life as a human, we also get flashbacks of her past life in the Joseon era. Dong Il plays Ma Dae Young, a fugitive Joon Jae’s stepmother hires to kill him. Dae Young makes several attempts on both Joon Jae’s and Shim Cheong’s lives. Dong Il won a Special Award for acting at the 24th SBS Drama Awards for this role.

4. Miss Hammurabi (2018)

Who else is in it: Go Ara, Kim Myung Soo, Ryu Deok Hwan, Lee Elijah

This critically acclaimed legal drama gives audiences a glimpse into the lives of South Korea’s judges. The story is based on a novel written by Moon Yoo Seok, chief judge of the Seoul Eastern District Court. Unlike other dramas in the same genre, it focuses on the intricacies and struggles judges face when making decisions, painting a more humanized picture of them. The main storyline centers on Park Cha Oh Reum (Ara), a newbie judge who can’t stand injustice. She butts heads with Lim Ba Reun (Myung Soo), a logical judge who only looks at the cold hard facts. Dong Il brilliantly plays Chief Judge Han Se Sang, a righteous man who guides them with a firm hand.

5. Trap (2019)

Who else is in it: Lee Seo Jin, Lim Hwa Young, Seo Young Hee

If you’re in the mood for something *mind-blowing*, OCN thriller Trap is sure to take you for a ride. In it, Kang Woo Hyun (Seo Jin), a celebrity announcer with political aspirations, experiences hell on earth when he takes his wife and son up to the mountains for a vacation and encounters a huntsman. He returns to the city alive, but what happened to his family and who is responsible? Dong Il plays Go Dong Kook, an experienced detective who takes on Woo Hyun’s case. As the story unfolds, horrifying facts come to light and Dong Kook realizes the stakes are even higher than he anticipated.   

Recent Projects

6. The Cursed (2020)

Who else is in it: Uhm Ji Won, Jung Ji So, Jo Min Su

This time around, Dong Il stars in a horror thriller. If you’re scared of ghosts and the grotesque, this might not be your cup of tea. If you love Asian horror movies, though, this one’s for you. Dong Il plays Jin Jong Hyun, the suspicious CEO of fast-growing IT company Forest. What the world doesn’t know is that he’s possessed by an evil spirit. On his trail is reporter Jin Hee (Ji Won), who gets help from teen So Jin (Ji So), a shaman who can kill people by casting curses. So Jin is out for revenge, and she won’t hesitate to use her skills to achieve her goal.

7. Sisyphus: The Myth (2021)

Who else is in it: Park Shin Hye, Cho Seung Woo, Heo Joon Seok

We love how Dong Il keeps evolving by picking so many different drama genres. Sisyphus: The Myth is a sci-fi thriller that takes audiences to a world where time travel is possible. Tae Sul (Seung Woo), genius CEO of the company Quantum and Time, gets a glimpse of his supposedly dead brother, Tae San (Joon Seok), while trying to stop the airplane he’s riding from crashing. As he searches for his brother, he meets Seo Hae (Shin Hye), a woman from the future, who wants to save the world from destruction. Dong Il plays Hyeong Do, a man from the future, who works as a “broker” for time travelers. There’s more to Hyeong Do than meets the eye, and Tae San and Seo Hae must discover his secrets before it’s too late.

8. Jirisan (2021)

Who else is in it: Jun Ji Hyun, Ju Ji Hoon, Oh Jung Se, Jo Han Chul, Go Min Si

Jirisan is a much-anticipated action thriller currently streaming on iQiYi, which revolves around a group of rangers at Jirisan National Park, who patrol the mountains and rescue those who are lost. Ji Hyun plays Yi Kang, the best ranger of the group, nicknamed “Mountain Ghost God” for her uncanny navigation skills. Despite this, she actually hates the mountains. Ji Hoon is Hyun Jo, a military captain who becomes a ranger after getting visions of death on the mountains. Dong Il plays Dae Jin, the well-respected head ranger, who gives his all for the park and his co-workers as penance for neglecting his family.

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