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K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

No viewer would call themselves a true K-drama fan and not know who this attractive guy is. But Namgoong Min, of Remember: War of the Son, Good Manager, and Doctor Prisoner fame, nearly didn’t become an actor. In fact, he finished a degree in mechanical engineering and was about to start a career in social work. But it all changed when he was cast alongside Hallyu star Lee Byung-hun in 2001, and he took it as a sign to pursue acting more seriously.

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min

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Good Manager / Chief Kim (2017)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min in "Good Manager" (photo of Lee Jun-ho and Namgoong Min)

Good Manager (also known as Chief Kim) is about a crafty accountant named Kim Sung-ryong (Namgoong Min) and his journey from selfish employee to office hero. He initially joined the massive TQ Group to embezzle money, but as he gets to know the employees and witnesses the effects of corruption firsthand, he decides to become a “good manager” and decides to fight the corrupt system from within. It won’t be easy, as he’ll be facing a number of enemies and a culture of intrigue. But it’ll be up to Sung-ryong’s cunning acumen, as well as his ability to navigate politics, that will help him fight corporate greed and start to change lives.

Hot Stove League (2020)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min in "Hot Stove League" (photo of Jo Byeong-Gyu and Namgoong Min)

Hot Stove League is a romance-free drama about the wheeling and dealing that happens behind the scenes of Korea’s second favorite sport: baseball. We witness the uphill battle of the baseball team Dreams, which has the squad that has struggled financially for years, and may be dissolved soon. Enter Baek Seung-soo (Namgoong Min), a talented and dynamic baseball executive, who becomes the team's general manager during this crisis. While the Dreams' staff and players are skeptical, Seung-soo is determined to convert them into a winning team and save them from dissolution.

Hot Stove League came out of nowhere to win the Baeksang Award for Best Drama. Namgoong Min also earned a nomination for Best Actor for his role.

Remember: War of the Son (2015)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min in "Remember: War of the Son"

Namgoong Min enters his villain era in this top-rated 2015 k-drama. He stars opposite Yoo Seung-ho, who plays Seo Jin-woo, a young lawyer with hyperthemesia (a condition that gives him the ability to remember every detail of his life). Jin-woo's life takes a drastic turn when his father is wrongfully convicted of murder, and he sets out to prove his father's innocence.

Namgoong Min plays Nam Gyu-man, the main antagonist in the series. He plays the usual psychotic chaebol, characterized by his arrogance, ruthlessness, and lack of empathy. He is responsible for falsely accusing Seo Jin-woo's father of murder. Throughout the series, Gyu-man uses his influence and connections to manipulate the legal system and obstruct justice even if it means destroying innocent lives.

The Veil (2021)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min in "The Veil"

The Veil follows the story of Han Ji-hyuk (Namgoong Min), a top agent in the National Intelligence Service (NIS), who disappeared during his last mission. He mysteriously surfaces after a year and returns to the NIS as part of his plan to uncover those who betrayed him. Little does he know of the immense danger he faces as he comes close to finding out the secrets of the NIS and an organization only known as the “Black Sun.”

One Dollar Lawyer (2022)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min in "One Dollar Lawyer"

Cheon Ji-hun (Namgoong Min) is a lawyer with a unique sense of style, which includes a fashionable perm and some loud suits. But that’s not what makes him different; it’s the fact that you can hire his legal services for a mere 1,000 won (approximately $1).

He likes taking on the most elite attorneys and their wealthy clients who seem to keep breaking the law. With his razor-sharp instincts and vast knowledge of the law, Ji-hun takes on case after case with ease. That is, until he has to solve a murder charge that involves the people he loved.

My Dearest (2023)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Namgoong Min in "My Dearest"

Namgoong Min returns to traditional sageuk (historical show) romance this year as a mysterious man entangled with a Joseon noblewoman during the Qing invasion. He plays Lee Jang-hyun, a man who has sworn never to marry. Eventually he meets and falls for Yoo Gil-chae (Ahn Eun-jin), a woman with two failed marriages, but still hopes to find love.

The show was shown in two parts. Viki aired the first part on August 4, while it released the second part on October 13.

Which of his characters is your favorite?

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