Deftly tackling romance, thriller and historical genres, actor Kang Tae-oh has been part of some of the best TV shows and movies made by the Korean entertainment industry. A former member of the actor group, 5urprise, the multi-hyphenate is currently one of the most sought-after actors in South Korea.
Born Kim Yoon-hwan, Kang made his acting debut with the 2013 web series After School: Lucky or Not along with his 5urprise co-stars, under the talent agency Fantagio. Later that year, Kang played the lead role in the Korean-Vietnamese drama Forever Young and rose to prominence in Vietnam. Over the years, Kang’s discography added popular TV shows like the MBC weekend drama Flower of Queen (2015), Run On (2020) and Doom at Your Service (2021).
It was in 2022 that Kang joined the brilliant ensemble cast of Extraordinary Attorney Woo and found global fame for his portrayal of lawyer Lee Jun-ho in the ENA original. The same year, he also made a cameo in the Son Ye-jin starrer K-drama Thirty-Nine as a part-time employee at the restaurant run by Park Hyun-joon (Lee Tae-hwan).
His multiple accolades include a 2017 Rising Star Award and an Excellence Award nomination for You Are Too Much. Additionally, the Forever Young star has been awarded the Seoul City Chairman’s Award and the Culture Grand Prize at the 4th Newsis Hallyu expo held in Gangnam-gu in 2022.
While Kang has yet to land lead roles on the big screen, he became an instant fan favourite after playing supporting characters in movies like Slow Video (2014) and Fengshui (2018). Kang also made a memorable guest appearance as Detective Na in the Shin Hye-sun starrer, Target. According to KBIZoom, the horror thriller topped the list of advance sales among Korean movies ahead of its release on 30 August 2023.
Kang enlisted for his mandatory military service in South Korea on 20 September 2022. Get better acquainted with the Run On actor by binge-watching his dramas and movies during his time away from the screen.
Check our complete list on K-dramas to watch!
Kang Tae-oh TV shows and movies that will keep you hooked
Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)
Directed by: Yu In-sik
Other stars: Park Eun-bin, Baek Ji-won
Synopsis: Lee Jun-ho (Kang) is a lawyer in charge of tasks related to litigation and collecting additional evidence at crime scenes. Woo Young-woo (Park) is South Korea’s first attorney with Autism Spectrum Disorder. While most of Young-woo’s colleagues try to bring her down, Jun-ho instantly warms up to her and develops feelings for her.
About the show: This Kang Tae-oh series was one of the most popular Korean dramas on Netflix since Squid Game (2021). So much so that the producers have promised that Woo will return for a second season soon.
Doom At Your Service (2021)
Directed by: Kwon Young-il
Other stars: Seo In-guk, Park Bo-young
Synopsis: Myul Mang (Seo) is a supernatural being who carries out tasks assigned by god. Victim of multiple misfortunes, Tak Dong-kyung (Park) is fed up with her life. When she prays to the higher powers to release her from the pain of being alive, Myul Mang appears to inform her she only has 100 days to live.
About the show: One of the most loved Kang Tae-oh TV shows, Doom At Your Service is also popular as One Day Destruction Entered the Front Door of My House. In the drama, Kang plays a cafe owner, Lee Hyun-kyu, who is caught in a love triangle with web novel writer Na Ji-na (Shin Do-hyun) and editor Cha Joo-ik (Lee Soo-hyuk).
Run On (2020)
Directed by: Lee Jae-hoon
Other stars: Im Siwan, Shin Se-kyung, Choi Soo-young
Synopsis: Seo Dan-ah (Choi) is the CEO and the rightful successor of a sports agency, who is constantly fighting gender discrimination in the company. When Dan-ah meets a simple university student Lee Young-hwa (Kang), who loves drawing and leads a mundane life, the competitive woman finds peace.
About the show: One of the most popular Kang Tae-oh TV shows, Run On, also tells the story of Sun Gyum (Im) in a parallel plot. He is a national sprinter who quits the sport after a series of unfortunate events. When his path crosses with foreign film translator Oh Mi-joo (Shin), he takes an interest in her.
The Tale of Nokdu (2019)
Directed by: Kim Dong-whee
Other stars: Jang Dong-yoon, Kim So-hyun, Jung Joon-ho
Synopsis: A man named Jeon Nok-du (Jang) disguises himself as a woman to enter a village where only widows live and inquire about an assassination attempt on his family. There, he meets Dong Dong-ju (Kim), a kisaeng trainee, who is plotting the fall of the king. As time passes, Nok-du reveals his secret to Dong-ju, and they start growing closer.
About the show: This Kang Tae-oh historical TV show is based on the 2014 webtoon Nokdu Jeon by Hye Jin-yang. The former plays King Gwanghae’s (Jung) nephew, Prince Neungyang aka Cha Yool-moo in the drama. Yool-moo later stages a coup and ends up becoming the next king of Joseon.
My First First Love (2019)
Directed by: Oh Jin-suk
Other stars: Kim Ji-soo, Jung Chae-yeon, Choi Ri
Synopsis: When circumstances force Yun Tae-oh’s (Kim) friends to move into his house, they end up forming new bonds, experiencing love, friendship and more. While Tae-oh opens up the most to his childhood friend Song I (Jung), aspiring theatre actor Choi Hoon (Kang) and rich heiress Ga Rin (Choi) hit it off soon.
That Man Oh Soo (2018)
Directed by: Nam Ki-hoon
Other stars: Kim So-eun, Lee Jong-hyun
Synopsis: A part-time cafe owner and full-time IT engineer with a PhD in artificial intelligence, Oh Soo (Lee) plays cupid for others with his special skills. His life changes when the arrow of love strikes him, and he falls for Seo Yoo-ri (Kim), a local police officer. As Oh Soo tries hard to pursue Yoo-ri, her childhood friend Kim Jin-woo (Kang) comes in his way.
Directed by: Park Hee-kon
Other stars: Cho Seung-woo, Ji Sung, Kim Sung-kyun
Synopsis: Feng shui expert Park Jae-sang (Cho) loses his family while trying to stop the corrupt Kim family from occupying all the propitious tomb spots in Korea. Thirteen years later, another victim of the Kim family, Heung-sun (Ji), comes to request Jae-sang to oust the family from power. Will Jae-sang succeed in avenging his family?
About the movie: This Kang Tae-oh period drama is the final instalment of Jupiter Film production’s three-part film project on the tradition of Korean fortune-telling. The other two titles in the series were The Face Reader (2013) and The Princess and the Matchmaker (2018).
(Hero and featured image: Courtesy NetflixKr/Twitter)