We know Vincenzo Cassano is a tough act to follow, but we've compiled a list of dramas and movies that can hopefully help ease the pain of moving on.
All good things must come to an end. After a thrilling 20-episode ride that kept us at the edge of our seats — while making us laugh and cry and swoon over Song Joong-ki at the same time — Vincenzo has aired its last episode.
And what a finale it was! Our favorite consigliere and Geumga Plaza family dialed up the tension and action to bring the series to an intense crescendo, before wrapping it all up in a satisfying close that leaves the door open for a possible second season.
With a show this good, and a cast of characters so well loved, it's almost impossible to move on. But, alas, we have to find a way to do so. And so in the list below you'll find our recommendations for k-dramas that can hopefully help ease the pain.
If you want more gangster comedy...
The Fiery Priest (2019)
Written by Park Jae-bum, the same genius screenwriter behind Vincenzo, this action-comedy's unlikely hero, Kim Hae-il (Kim Nam-gil), is a Catholic priest with anger management issues.
The unusual priest struggles to look the other way when he sees injustice in front of him, even if it means employing the same tactics that once made him a top agent of the National Intelligence Service. And so when the church is targeted by a corrupt alliance of public officials and gangsters, he rolls up his sleeves and bends the rules to make sure the sinners pay.
With many of the same elements that made Vincenzo such a good k-drama — a flawed hero to root for, a solid storyline with fast-paced action, a good dose of comedy, and even a hint of bromance — it's no wonder The Fiery Priest was one of the highest rated dramas of 2019. It's almost as if writer-nim took the best parts of what made this show work, and then leveled it all up for Vincenzo.
Available on Netflix.
Good Manager (2017)
Need more reluctant heroes and evil corporations in your life? Then look no further than 2017’s highly popular series, Good Manager, also by writer Park Jae-bum. Our protagonist, Kim Sung-ryong (Namgoong Min), is a brazen and charming public accountant who lives off of fixing accounting statements and skimming money from his shady clients. His life is perfect… until it isn’t.
Faced with the very real — and very relatable — possibility of unemployment, Kim Sung-ryong applies for a middle management position at the prestigious (and, of course, rotten) TQ Group of Companies, and successfully gets hired. Frustratingly, his team seems to hate him and defer more to his assistant manager, Yoon Ha-kyung (Nam Sang-mi). Kim Sung-ryong knowingly prepares to be a puppet manager, until a series of ironic and unforeseen circumstances brand him as a paragon of human rights. So obviously, he has no other choice but to go against the orders of Finance Director Seo Yul (Lee Jun-ho) and start the messy process of taking down the corrupt corporation he works for.
Good Manager has all the same ingredients that made Vincenzo entertaining, and while the main character is not suave and sophisticated (and not Song Joong-ki), Kim Sung-ryong is endearingly crazy and fun (and fit!). Even more fun is the chemistry between Kim Sung-ryong and Seo Yul. At the end of the series, viewers will be left with some food for thought: “When does a hero become a hero and can someone flawed become one?”.
Available on Netflix.
If you want more unusual lawyers...
Delayed Justice (2020)
Want to see more scrappy underdogs go up against the powers that be? Based on true events, this legal comedy follows lawyer Park Tae-yeong (Kwon Sang-woo), a high school graduate with a heart for the poor, and Park Sam-soo (Bae Sung-woo), a gifted but unorthodox journalist, as they team up to overturn the wrongful convictions of victims of a corrupt justice system. Together with rookie reporter Lee Yoo-kyung (Kim Ju-hyeon), they take on cops, prosecutors, and even candidates for the Supreme Court and Blue House — all in the name of justice.
Delayed Justice is often funny, but tugs at the heartstrings, especially since the cases happened in real life, and real people suffered years in jail and of discrimation for crimes they didn’t commit. Jung Woo-sung takes over the role of Bae Sung-woo for the last four episodes, as the latter had to quit the show after being booked for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) violation.
Available on Viu.
If it's more maverick lawyers you need, then there's some fun to be had from watching two very different legal minds slug it out in this feisty courtroom drama.
Jung Geum-ja (Kim Hye-soo of Signal) is a street-smart lawyer who uses con artistry and grey tactics against the aristocratic Yoon Hee-jae (Ju Ji-hoon of Kingdom), who is the golden child of the biggest law firm in Seoul. Of course, they eventually find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other despite their differences. Their sense of justice may be warped and their methods are sometimes questionable, but they quickly realize they're stronger as a team than they are as opponents. Together, they creatively (and sometimes, amusingly) take on a fraudulent cult, a suspicious tech company, and a number of difficult wealthy clients.
If Jeon Yeo-been's off-kilter character in Vincenzo is up your alley, then Geum-ja is an even more eccentric take on the "strong woman" vibe. Yet for all her shrewdness, her chemistry with Hee-jae is unmissable, and their budding relationship is one of the more equitable ones in k-dramaland.
Available on Netflix
If you want more of Song Joong-ki...
Descendants of the Sun (2016)
Song Joon-ki's name catapulted to Hallyu fame with the cultural reset that was 2016 k-dramaland. Undoubtedly one of the biggest hits from the Goblin era, his portrayal of the baby-faced Special Forces captain Yoo Si-jin (aka "Big Boss") opposite Song Hye-kyo — and their subsequent marriage — ensured that Song Joong-ki would be Hallyu royalty for years to come. The Song-Song couple, the beautiful Greek landscapes, and the unforgettable soundtrack all helped make DOTS one of the most watched k-dramas of all time.
If you need to see more Song Joong-ki in fine fighting form, or see him in a cheekier light (in contrast to his always-somber Vincenzo character), then palli-palli over to Netflix and watch it right away. Or watch it again. While Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo have sadly divorced, DOTS will always be there to remind us that we watched these two fall in love, and how that love story is now immortalized in onscreen chemistry.
Available on Netflix
Sungkyungkwan Scandal (2010)
Don’t let the title fool you: the only “scandal” in this k-drama is a woman (Park Min-young) trying to make it in old Korea when females are forbidden both education and employment. This adorable and utterly enjoyable gender swap is set in Sungkyungkwan University, the oldest university in Korea. It is also, incidentally, the school from which Song Joong-ki graduated as a business major.
Here, Song Joong-ki plays Gu Yong-ha, a free-spirited dandy, who is often seen in the company of Moon Jae-shin, played by a rather disheveled Yoo Ah-in. As the unofficial "second couple," they revel in great bromantic chemistry (let's be honest: sometimes, their bromance is even more fun than the main pair!) Sungkyungkwan Scandal is a great watch not only for the LOLs, but also for the progressive way it tackled multiple themes like feminism, LGBTQ, and education issues while avoiding the usual clichés. This drama also features a dazzling array of costumes designed by Kim Hae-soon, a famous Korean hanbok designer. Song Joong-ki as the well-dressed dandy, of course, got some of the best outfits in the show, and as always, is prettier than we could ever be.
If you want more of Jeon Yeo-been...
Night in Paradise (2021)
There are only so many places you can take a gangster flick, but you can be certain they're always going to end bloodily and badly.
Night in Paradise, the latest gangster movie to hit Netflix, is one such specimen that checks all the right and bloody boxes for a Korean gun/revenge opera. It's the movie you want to watch with a brandy in one hand, and a sad cigarette on the other. It's perfectly depressing, alleviated only by its gorgeous palette and cinematography, as well as wonderful performances — especially from our Vincenzo girl Jeon Yeo-been. Quite violent and very bleak, Night in Paradise is the pendulum swing that no one signed up for, but we hang onto it anyway, because like any great tragedy, we just can't look away.
Available on Netflix
If you want more of Ok Taecyeon...
Bring it on, Ghost (2016)
Based on a webtoon of the same name, Bring It on Ghost gives the musogin (people who practice shamanism) romance with a sprinkling of action and comedy on the side. While the lead character, Park Bong-pal (Ok Taecyeon) is not a baksu (a male shaman), he has the ability to feel and see ghosts. He uses this ability to make money by fighting weak spirits. In an attempt to fight stronger spirits, Park Bong-pal seeks the help of Kim Hyun-ji (Kim So-hyun), a maiden spirit trying to find her memories. In pursuit of their goals, Park Bong-pal and Kim Hyun-ji take on ghosts together!
While not the best of its genre, Bring It on, Ghost is a good watch for those who want to explore supernatural k-dramas but still want the romance-heavy feels. It also shows off Taecyeon's acting range (and abs!) as he plays a scrappy spirited wounded young man who's struggling to survive and not fall in-love with an aegyo-filled glutton of a ghost. So, this is a good way to cleanse your mind from Jang Han-Seok's many heinous crimes.
Available on Netflix, Viu, and iQIYI.
Which of these are you planning to see?