5 new K-dramas to watch in October 2021: Jun Ji-hyun in Jirisan, Han So-hee in Netflix series My Name, Lee Young-ae's TV return, and more

She Would Never Know, Hospital Playlist season two, D.P., Squid Game, Nevertheless, Kingdom: Ashin of the North, Sweet Home

Chuseok (harvest festival) brought with it a wealth of new shows in September, many of which are still on the air. But while the October schedule is a little lighter, it comes with plenty of heavy hitters, including the most hotly anticipated programme of the year.

Notably, the vast majority of the stars of October’s prime time drama line-up are women, who lead a range of stories, from a revenge drama and crime-comedy to a period gender-swap romance and an action-adventure tale in the mountains.

1. The King’s Affection

Next month, KBS2 will air the new romantic period drama The King’s Affection, starring Park Eun-bin and Ro Woon, based on the webcomic Yeonmo by Lee So-young.

The story concerns twins born to the Crown Prince’s wife. The daughter is sent away to be killed, but is secretly spared, and when the son later dies, the twin daughter is brought back and raised as Prince Lee Hwi. Played by Hot Stove League lead Park Eun-bin, she grows up to become a crown prince, but fears revealing her identity.

SF9 member Rowoon, last seen in She Would Never Know, appears as Jung Ji-woon, Lee Hwi’s teacher. From a noble family, he is a natural optimist and soon starts to develop feelings for Lee Hwi. (KBS2, October 11)

2. Reflection of You

Following a two-year hiatus, Dear My Friends actress Go Hyun-jung will return to the screens in the women-fronted drama Reflection of You. She will play Jeong Hee-joo, a woman who endured a difficult youth to become a successful painter and essayist and now lives happily with her rich husband and their two children.

Hot off Hospital Playlist season two, Shin Hyun-been will play Goo Hae-won, an art teacher who loses her way after a fateful meeting. Hee-joo meets Hae-won, who reminds her of herself during her troubled youth. This new JTBC drama will be carried internationally on Netflix. (JTBC, October 13)

3. My Name

Following D.P. and Squid Game, Netflix Korea’s next series is the revenge-themed drama My Name. Han So-hee of Nevertheless plays Yoon Ji-woo, a young woman who is determined to avenge her father’s death. Ji-woo works in a drug gang under Choi Moo-jin (Park Hee-soon), who helps her to uncover the reasons for her father’s untimely demise.

Her path of retribution leads her to becoming a mole for the gang in the police, where she ends up working in the drug investigation unit, alongside Detective Jeon Pil-do (Ahn Bo-hyun). My Name is the latest show from Kim Jin-min, who directed the Netflix show Extracurricular last year. (Netflix, October 15)

4. Jirisan

One of the year’s most highly anticipated series, Jirisan sees Jun Ji-hyun (aka Gianna Jun) return as a series lead for the first time since Legend of the Blue Sea. Jun plays Seo Yi-gang, the top ranger in Jiri Mountain National Park. She knows the area like the back of her hand and imparts her knowledge to rookie ranger Kang Hyun-jo (Ju Ji-hoon), a military trainee with a secret.

Together, these rangers strive to save people around the park and deal with mysterious figures who access it. Jirisan reunites both Jun and Ju with Kim Eun-hee, the Kingdom mastermind who most recently penned Jun’s stand-alone episode Kingdom: Ashin of the North. The show is poised to be the latest hit from director Lee Eun-bok, known for Descendants of the Sun, Mr. Sunshine and Sweet Home. (tvN, October 23)

5. Inspector Koo

Jewel in the Palace star Lee Young-ae makes her return to the small screen next month in the crime-comedy series Inspector Koo. Lee plays the titular character Koo Kyung-yi, a former police officer who became an insurance investigator as well as a recluse following the death of her husband.

She enjoys solving cold cases and one day finds herself embroiled in a series of murder investigation as she goes head-to-head with K, a vicious young woman studying at university who is secretly a serial killer. Kim Hye-jun plays K in this 12-episode drama from JTBC. (JTBC, October 30)

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