top of page

K-rush of the Week: Jung Hae-in (정해인)

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

With a boyish smile, perfect white teeth, and glass skin—Jung Hae-in has the undeniable face of a quintessential K-drama romantic male lead.

In real life, Jung Hae-in is even more impressive: he's a descendant of Jeong Yakyong, one of the most celebrated scholars of the Joseon era. Jung not only inherits excellent genes but also some seriously impressive cultural credit. He’s also born to doctor parents, adding another layer of prestige to an already impressive background.

To attribute his success solely to his family, however, is unfair. Once he realized his love for acting while in the military, he decided to pursue it, even if it meant debuting at the late age of 26. A black belt, he made full use of his taekwondo skills in his action scenes for the sageuks (historical shows), The Three Musketeers (2014), and The Age of Blood (2017).

His career started to take off when he became the most searched on the Korean portal Naver as While You Were Sleeping (2017) was airing. He then shifted into his "noona killer" status when he charmed Son Ye-jin's character in Something in the Rain (2018) and cemented it again in One Spring Night (2019). Most recently, he broke hearts when he played a North Korean spy in the historical drama Snowdrop, opposite Blackpink’s Kim Ji-soo. Recently, he shed his romantic lead status for more serious shows, like the Disney horror series Connect and Netflix’s military drama D.P.

A versatile actor who can cook and clean, is kind to the cast and crew but doesn’t fully grasp how endearing he is—the introvert Jung Hae-in possesses charms lethal to all noonas and non-noonas alike.

All week, we’ve posted about his most notable roles and dramas.

While You Were Sleeping (2017)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Jung Hae-in in "While You Were Sleeping"

Have you ever had such a crush on someone that you took a selfie of your shadows together without them knowing it?

It’s small moments like these that gave viewers of While You Were Sleeping the dreaded Second Lead Syndrome. As Han Woo-tak, Jung Hae-in held his own nicely despite the weight of the show’s main stars (Bae Suzy and Lee Jong-suk). Jung's puppy-dog eyes, cheerful demeanor, and surprising set of abs were perfect to play a police officer who gains the ability to see the future after both leads rescue him.

The buzz around Jung grew so much after the show that it wasn’t long before lead roles came calling. After years of being matched with actresses his age, Jung would wisely choose to work with a famous actress much older than him. Little did he know then that this choice would be the linchpin to boost his career and make him a legitimate Hallyu star.

Connect (2022)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Jung Hae-in in "Connect"

In a much darker role, Jung Hae-in is Ha Dong-soo, a man who gets kidnapped and has his eye stolen. Later, he learns that his eye has been transplanted into a serial killer (played by Go Kyung-pyo). This creates a strange connection between them, and now Dong-soo can see everything the killer sees. Dong-soo must then use this strange new ability to track down the killer and stop him from hurting anyone else.

Trigger Warning: Unsuspecting kdrama fans thinking this is just another easy Disney drama will be in for quite a shock. This six-episode sci-fi/horror series is directed by Takashi Miike, a famed Japanese director known for his extremely violent movies. Best prepare for gore, hacking, dismemberments, blood, and even the occasional beheading. “Disneyfied gore” would probably be the best way to describe it—already too much for non-horror fans but not enough for J-horror regulars.

Tune in for Love (2019), film

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Jung Hae-in in "Tune in for Love" (photo of Kim Go-eun and Jung Hae-in)

Tune in for Love is a sweet story unfolding over ten years. Mi-su (Kim Go-eun) works part-time at her late mother’s bakery. Hyeon-woo (Jung Hae-in), a young man on probation for a crime he did not commit, later joins the bakery’s staff and forms a friendship with Mi-su. As they grow closer, they face several challenges, including his troubled past and pending military service. But despite their efforts to maintain a long-distance relationship, they continue to miss out on each other’s timing. A series of near-misses continues, and soon, they have to ask if their love can endure the hardship of being apart or lose each other forever.

Snowdrop (2021)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Jung Hae-in in "Snowdrop" (photo of Kim Ji-soo and Jung Hae-in)

The controversial K-drama is set in the 1980s, against a tumultuous era of student protests and political witchhunts. There, we meet Im Soo-ho (Jung Hae-in), an injured man seeking refuge at a girl’s dormitory. He is discovered by a student, Eun Young-cho (Kim Ji-soo / Jisoo of Blackpink), who helps and protects him. As they spend more time together, they grow fond of each other. But will the new love survive the revelation of Soo-ho’s real—and potentially dangerous—identity?

Something in the Rain / Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (2018)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Jung Hae-in in "Something in the Rain" (photo of Son Ye-jin and Jung Hae-in)

Yoon Jin-ah (Son Ye-jin) is a capable single woman in her late 30s who works at a coffee company. She runs into her best friend’s younger brother, Seo Joon-hee (Jung Hae-in), who has just returned to Korea after working abroad. What was once a childish and immature friend is now an attractive and ambitious man who seems intent on pursuing her despite their age gap.

Will their renewed acquaintance blossom into something more? And if it does, can their relationship survive the harsh judgments from their family, friends, and society?

Most importantly, can you watch this K-drama without going crazy over Jin-ah’s horrible mom?

D.P. (Deserter Pursuit, 2021) and D.P. 2 (Deserter Pursuit 2, 2023)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Jung Hae-in in "D.P. 2"

In a career-defining move, Jung Hae-in ditches his romantic lead looks for sunburnt skin and a buzz cut to become Private Ahn Jun-ho. An ordinary man finally called to serve his due in the military, Jun-ho is eventually drafted into a small team called “D.P.,” who are tasked to track and return military deserters.

Both seasons of the critically lauded K-drama immediately became some of Netflix’s top shows and are said to be responsible for launching several fundamental changes in the South Korean military.

See our reviews of Season 1 and Season 2.

Which of Jung Hae-in's roles is your favorite?

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page