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What to Watch After "Why Her?"

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

The legal mystery Why Her? (literal title Why Oh Soo-jae?) ended with a bang, hitting double-digit ratings of 10.7% for its finale. Starring Seo Hyun-jin, Hwang In-yeop, Bae In-hyuk, and Heo Joon-ho, the SBS drama dominated its Friday-Saturday nighttime slot throughout most of its run (losing only once to MBC's Doctor Lawyer), while Seo Hyun-jin consistently made it to the top five of GoodData's weekly Buzzworthy rankings for her performance as the drama’s titular character.

GwenchaNoona | What to Watch after "Why Her?" (photo from left to right: Bae In-hyuk, Hwang In-yeop, Seo Hyun-jin, and Heo Joon-ho)

The Plot

Shortly after being named the first female managing partner of a top South Korean law firm, Oh Soo-jae (Seo Hyun-ji of Black Dog and You are My Spring) finds her career derailed when she gets blamed for a high-profile suicide. While exiled to Seojung University’s Law School, she plots her comeback and tasks a group of her students to investigate the controversial incident.

In the process, they uncover a much larger web of deceit and lies that dates back 10 years, involving a crime for which her student Gong Chan (Hwang In-yeop, True Beauty) was wrongfully accused. Aided by her students, her loyal assistant Song Mi-rim (Lee Joo-woo), and Yoon Se-pil (Choi Young-joon), a wealthy businessman with his own agenda, she takes on a trio of the country’s most powerful men led by her boss and mentor, TK Law Firm Chairman Choi Tae-guk (Heo Joon-ho).

The Short Review

In a radical departure from the funny, endearing characters for which she is best known, rom-com queen Seo Hyun-jin convincingly transforms into Oh Soo-jae, a cold, cunning lawyer who will stop at nothing to reach the top. Her goal? To rule over TK Law Firm. Devoid of ethics and morals, she is not a character we should be rooting for (at least not in the beginning), yet Seo’s charismatic portrayal makes her hard to resist. As snippets of Oh Soo-jae’s past are revealed through flashbacks, a kinder, more idealistic young lawyer is revealed, leaving us to wonder how she got to where she is.

Seo’s multi-layered performance as such a complex, fascinating character alone is reason enough to tune into Why Her?. Writer Kim Ji-eun throws everything but the kitchen sink at Soo-jae, allowing the Baeksang-winning actress to flex her emotional range as she takes on her powerful opponents. Her scenes with the diabolical Heo Joon-ho, in particular, are a spine-tingling pleasure to watch.

The plot moves along at a fast enough pace, with plenty of twists and turns to keep mystery fans engaged. The drama has a side of romance between Soo-jae and Gong Chan, although the appropriateness of their teacher-student relationship is the subject of debate. Overall, despite some glaring plot holes and questionable writing decisions, Why Her? makes for an entertaining, thrilling watch from start to finish.

What to watch after...

For more of Seo Hyun-jin...

Another Miss Oh / Another Oh Hae-young (2016)

In this hit 2016 tvN drama that launched her into rom-com queendom and earned her the Baeksang Best Actress Award, Seo Hyun-jin stars as Oh Hae-young, a food product planner whose wedding gets ruined by Park Do-kyoung (Shinhwa’s Eric Mun), a sound director who had been left at the altar by another woman named Oh Hae-young (Jeon Hye-bin). Mistakenly thinking his ex has left him for another man, he ruins a stranger’s wedding, only for fate to bring them together. Will they be able to overcome the consequences of this massive misunderstanding, as well as their insecurities and fears, to find love together?

18 episodes. Available on Netflix.

You Are My Spring (2021)

After a string of bad relationships, hotel concierge manager Kang Da-jeong (Seo Hyun-jin) moves into the newly-renovated 99 Building, hoping for a fresh start. There she meets Ju Young-do (Kim Dong-wook, Find Me In Your Memory), a kind-hearted psychiatrist who holds clinic on the floor beneath her chic rooftop apartment.

While they get off on the wrong foot, a murder that takes place in their building and a suspicious figure (Yoon Park, Forecasting Love and Weather) who takes a liking to Da-jeong bring them closer together. As they slowly open up to each other, they help each other heal deep-seated wounds from the past in this surprisingly funny mystery drama. Read our full review of this underrated healing gem here.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Black Dog: Being A Teacher (2019-'20)

Seo Hyun-jin plays Go Ha-neul, a young temp teacher and Daechi High School’s newest hire. Because she’s hired last, she has to hit the ground running and has to navigate her way around a system that doesn’t provide much support for newbies. She finds herself having to deal with a demanding, pragmatic department head Park Seong-soon (Ra Mi-ran, Reply 1988), the most popular teacher on campus Do Yeon-woo (Ha Jun, Crazy Love), the usual office politics, and the regular workload of teachers in South Korea’s competitive educational system. This quiet, slice-of-life drama about a newbie teacher trying to make it work in a private high school in Seoul is a gem that really should be getting more love. Read our full review here.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

The Beauty Inside (2018)

Based on a 2015 Korean film, this k-drama tells the story of a popular actress Han Se-gye (Seo Hyun-jin) who, once a month, morphs into a different body. She has no control over whom she transforms into (male, female, young, old) or when it happens. She spends part of her month pretending to play a character and the other half literally living in someone else’s skin. She then meets Seo Do-jae (Lee Min-ki), an airline executive. Lucky for her, he happens to have prosopagnosia, or the inability to recognize faces. As they deal with the challenges of both their handicaps, they consistently choose to hold on to what lies beneath, proving that love is not only skin deep.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.

For more of Hwang In-yeop...

True Beauty (2020-'21)

This youth-oriented show is well-loved by its fans for tackling the concerns of high school students (especially those affecting their mental health) and for featuring a non-toxic male character and healthy friendships. As Seo-jun, Hwang In-yeop protects the female lead Ju-kyung (Moon Ga-young) from her bullies and low self-esteem. Even in the absence of the male lead Su-ho (Cha Eun-woo), Seo-jun is careful not to overstep the boundaries of his friendship with Ju-kyung. This is not surprising as he takes good care of the women in his life: He takes a leave from school to care for his mom at the hospital. He also teaches his sister's annoying suitor a lesson on what "no" means.

Though it’s a light, fun high-school k-drama, it sparked shipping wars and gave many a serious case of second-lead syndrome.

16 episodes. Available on Viu and Amazon Prime Video.

The Sound of Magic (2022)

Take a bit of high school musical, add a dash of Disney-style magic, and then mix in a fair dose of k-drama-style social commentary, and you get The Sound of Magic—a six-episode tale of disillusioned youth and the power of believing in yourself, told in song.

Based on the popular webcomic Annara Sumanara features Ji Chang-wook in one of his most enchanting roles to date as a mysterious magician living in an abandoned theme park, and puts the spotlight on the talented up-and-coming actress Choi Sung-eun, who plays a poor yet mathematically gifted high school student who has lost the will to dream. There must be some kind of magic involved in how the 31-year-old Hwang In-yeop managed to convincingly portray a high school student. With a total screening time of just about six hours, The Sound of Magic is an easy binge if you're keen on sprinkling a bit of magic onto your weekend. Read our full review here.

6 episodes. Available on Netflix.

For more of Heo Joon-ho...

Come and Hug Me (2018)

Heo Joon-ho has been a steady presence in Korean cinema, but he’s been known to flex his stern countenance and menacing aura in k-dramas as well. In 2018’s Come and Hug Me, Heo plays the chilling Yoon Hee-jae, the father of Chae Do-jin (Jang Ki-yong) who is a notorious serial killer and torturer. As the infamous and highly narcissistic Yoon, Heo Joon-ho is every bit the terrifying father Chae has spent his entire life running away from. But can one really escape the vicious legacy of your own bloodline?

16 episodes. Available on Viu.

Snowdrop (2021)

Heo Joon-ho plays Eun Chang-su, the stern and powerful political director of the Aemin Party (ANSP), and the father of Eun Young-ro (Blackpink’s Jisoo). Will he be able to accept the fact that his daughter is in love with Lim Soo-ho (Jung Hae-in), a man who just might be a North Korean spy?

16 episodes. Available on Disney+.

Undercover (2021)

The k-drama remake of BBC’s 2016 spy drama, Undercover stars Heo Joon-ho as the scarily powerful Im Hyung-rak who leads the National Intelligence Service. As one of its oldest guards, Im must protect the often dubious state secrets and keep them under the rug for as long as possible. He will have to deploy the full strength of the NIS to stop ex-spy Lee Suk-kyu (played by Ji Jin-hee) from exposing all his secrets and protect the status quo at all costs.

16 episodes. Available on Viu.

For more powerful female leads...

Misty (2017)

Go Hye-ran (Kim Nam-joo in a Baeksang-winning performance) is a top news anchorwoman who is having a very bad week: She's on the verge of being replaced by a younger and "fresher" newscaster. She could lose out on a top spot at the Blue House. On top of all this, she's been accused of murder, and the only lawyer who agrees to defend her happens to be her husband whom she has long wanted to divorce. Now all of Hye-ran's secrets—and their consequences—are beginning to spill out, threatening to destroy not only their professional futures, but also obliterate the measly scraps of affection that remain between them.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

The World of the Married (2020)

Based on the BBC series Dr. Foster, The World of the Married took the tired and overused mistress plot and spun it into ridiculous ratings gold. The destruction brought by infidelity is lavishly played out, wonderfully oscillating between the exaggerated and the tragic, but is never cheapened. Two-time Baeksang Daesang (Grand Prize) winner Kim Hee-ae brought home yet another Baeksang trophy for her strong performance as the embattled Dr. Ji in this thrilling drama that keeps one watching despite the incredible stress it wreaks on all its viewers.

16 episodes. Available on Viu and Netflix.

Hyena (2020)

The incomparable Kim Hye-soo takes the lead role in this legal drama centered on Jung Geum-ja, a feisty lawyer who isn’t afraid to use all the tools at her disposal—including feminine wiles—to climb to the top and get what she wants. She stars opposite Ju Ji-hoon (Kingdom), who plays an elite lawyer who is both her rival and love interest within a law firm that protects the legal interests of the top 1 percent of society.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Inspector Koo (2021)

Lee Young-ae stars in the titular role of Koo Kyung-yi, a reclusive ex-cop in her 40s who overreaches her investigation of an insurance claim that turns out to be a complicated murder case. After confirming her hunch, her curiosity leads her to the serial killer “K” (Kim Hye-jun), a college student who cleverly disguises her killings as accidents. This 12-episode mystery thriller is refreshingly infused with strong and smart women—both in main and supporting roles—upending female character expectations in a genre where detectives and criminals are traditionally dominated by men.

12 episodes. Available on Netflix.

My Name (2021)

Han So-hee takes on her most challenging role to date in My Name as Oh Hye-jin, a lonely student whose father—a gangster on the wanted list—is murdered in front of her eyes. This breakout star shines as a woman who gives up everything to seek revenge on her father’s killer, proving that a woman can lead a hard-core action series as effectively as a man. My Name offers itself as a fresh addition to Korea’s already vast trove of gangster shows with a simple twist: The lead character, whose thirst for revenge is strong enough to overpower dozens of other well-trained men and defy biological laws about how much torture the human body can take, is a woman.

8 episodes. Available on Netflix.

For more legal mysteries...

Law School (2021)

Do you enjoy murder mystery dramas with several characters, twists, and cliffhangers? Are you into plots where literally everyone except the victim could be the perpetrator? If this sounds like your kind of theme, you should watch Law School. Starring Kim Myung-min, Kim Bum, Ryu Hye-young, and Lee Jung-eun, the show has 16 episodes but sometimes feels like 32. So. Many. Details. Have a notebook and pen handy because you might need it to keep track of each character, their relationships to each other, and what dark secrets they may or may not be keeping. Whodunit? It's not who you think it is. Or maybe it is. Only one way to find out.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Again, My Life (2022)

Kim Hee-woo (Lee Joon-gi) is a fearless lawyer out to punish Korea's corrupt and powerful. Inevitably, he gets himself murdered. Through some fantastical means (that never quite gets explained) he gets a second chance, and finds himself reliving his life several years prior. Entering law school again with all his memories from the future intact, he sets things in motion to plan for his ultimate revenge. This Count-of-Monte-Cristo-esque plot is helped by an interesting mix of side characters and the overall likability of Lee Joon-gi’'s portrayal. It's a good, easy watch that doesn't demand much emotional investment but still provides plenty of entertainment.

16 episodes. Available on Viu.

Doctor Lawyer (2022)

So Ji-sub is back in the MBC suspense thriller Doctor Lawyer as a cardio-thoracic surgeon who, after being unfairly imprisoned for medical malpractice, returns from prison as a lawyer to bring down the man who started it all. Standing in his way in this contemporary revenge tale are prosecutor Geum Seok-yeong (Im Soo-hyang, Woori the Virgin) who has a grudge against him, and Jayden Lee (Shin Sung-rok) who could turn into a double-crosser at any given time. Read our full review here.

16 episodes. Available on Disney+ in select regions.

For a lighter legal drama...

Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)

If you need a cleanse from the toxic snake pit that is Why Her?'s TK Law Firm, head over to Hanbada Law Firm, and meet extraordinary Attorney Woo Young-woo (Park Eun-bin), Korea’s first lawyer with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this heartwarming and extremely popular series, Atty. Woo draws on her unique strengths to solve cases together with Atty. Jung Myung-seok (Kang Ki-yong, Moment at Eighteen), Choi Su-Yeon (Ha Yooun-kyung, Hospital Playlist), Kwon Min-woo (Joo Jung-hyuk, Yumi's Cells 1 and 2), and paralegal Lee Jun-ho (Kang Tae-oh, Run On).

This ongoing drama is currently streaming on Netflix.

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