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Ha Seok-jin (하석진)

In 2009, David Guetta released a dance track called Sexy B*tch. In it, singer Akon laments somewhat amusingly that he’s “trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful.” We could say the same about how we’re still trying to find the words to describe mechanical engineer/actor/low-key genius and all-around nice guy Ha Seok-jin.

Born on March 4, 1982, in Seoul, South Korea, Ha Seok-jin initially pursued a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Hanyang University. However, destiny had other plans, and he quickly switched to acting. Over the years, he has built a nice portfolio that showcases his depth and range as an actor. Seok-jin debuted in 2005 as a model for Korean Air and soon made his way into the acting industry with roles in dramas such as Sad Love Story, Princess Lulu, and Hello! Miss. Since then, he has become a steady presence in K-dramas and in the occasional reality show, quietly securing a spot in the hearts of many fans.

But after winning the top prize in the Netflix reality/quiz show The Devil’s Game, where he put his intellectual and wry social skills to very good use, it looks like this smart guy with kind eyes is going to get all that due to him and more.

ha seokjin, the devils game, netflix, reality, k-drama, k-reality
Ha Seok-jin in "The Devil's Game" (Photo from Netflix)

In Childless Comfort (2012), the family drama showcased Ha Seok-jin in a different light, and he played a less-than-perfect but endearing character. Then he joined 2016’s Drinking Solo, a comedy-drama that revolves around the lives of teachers and students at a private institute. He took on the role of Jin Jung-suk, a talented but arrogant educator who believes in the art of drinking alone. This role displayed his knack for comedy while adding a touch of emotional complexity.

ha seokjin drinking solo kdrama
Drinking solo in "Drinking Solo" (2016)

In the same year, he starred in Something About 1%, a remake of the 2003 drama of the same name. This romantic comedy tells the story of a chaebol heir who has to marry a school teacher as part of his grandfather’s will. Ha Seok-jin plays Lee Jae-in, the arrogant and cynical heir who gradually falls in love with his contractual wife, Kim Da-hyun (played by Jeon So-min). He was nominated for the Top Excellence Award for Actor in a Romantic Comedy at the 2016 Korea Drama Awards for this role.

ha seokjin something about 1% kdrama
Getting his chaebol phase on in "Something About 1%" (2003)

In Radiant Office (2017), a workplace drama that follows the struggles of a group of office workers, Ha Seok-jin plays Seo Woo-jin, a strict and demanding boss who has a hidden past with one of his employees, Eun Ho-won (played by Go Ah-sung).

In 2018, he played the quirky lead in Your House Helper, a slice-of-life drama that depicts the healing process of four women who hire a house helper to organize their lives. He played Kim Ji-woon, a former banker who became a house helper after quitting his job. As a “house helper,” he helps his clients with their personal problems and even develops a romance with one of them, Im Da-young (played by Bona). The role won him the Excellence Award for a performance in a miniseries at the KBS Drama Awards that same year.

In When I Was the Most Beautiful (2020), Ha Seok-jin plays Seo-jin, a man who gets entangled in a complicated love triangle. As a successful architect who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after an accident, Seo-jin finds himself falling for Oh Ye-ji (Im Soo-hyang), a ceramic artist. Unfortunately, she is already engaged to his younger brother, Seo Hwan (played by Ji Soo).

His latest role in Blind (2022) sees him donning prosecutor garb as he works alongside Ok Taecyon and Eunji to get to the bottom of a confounding murder mystery.

Outside of the K-drama circuit, longtime fans know him as a regular panelist on the popular Korean variety show, Problematic Men, which focuses on puzzle-solving and general knowledge. He also appeared as a guest on shows such as The Fox’s Butler, I Live Alone, Amazing Saturday, Running Man, and Happy Together.

Most recently, Ha Seok-jin participated in Netflix’s new survival game show The Devil’s Plan, which premiered on September 26, 2023. The show is created by producing director Jung Jong-yeon of The Genius and The Great Escape and features 12 contestants from diverse professions competing in games of wit and strategy to win the ultimate prize of 500 million won (approximately $380,000) and be crowned the ultimate brain. Seok-jin was one of the most prominent contestants on the show, as he displayed his sharp logic and charisma throughout the various games. His appearance on The Devil’s Plan was highly anticipated by engrossed viewers, as they were curious to see how an actor would fare in such a challenging and competitive environment. Not surprisingly, he put his brains and charm to full use and went all the way to the thrilling finals.

In a career spanning over a decade, Ha Seok-jin has proven himself to be more than just a pretty face and a top brainiac. With a budding screen presence, versatility, and a willingness to take on diverse roles, it won’t be long before he takes his turn under a broader spotlight and gets his long-overdue moment as a mainstream leading man very, very soon.

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