6 hit K-dramas that were praised for their solid stories without love lines

Below are six “super interesting” dramas that made big hits without having to include the romance of the main characters.

There are many dramas that received explosive responses from the public for their well-written storyline without affectionate love lines. Instead of attracting the viewers’ attention with the romance element, these series were well-loved for presenting exciting story development and the actors’ outstanding acting performances. In particular, one of the biggest strengths of “no romance” dramas is that they can draw sympathy and emotion from the audience by showing the narrative of the characters’ growth in detail.

1. Netflix’s “D.P.”

Set in the military, this drama gained huge popularity with the appearance of actors Jung Hae-in and Koo Kyo-hwan.


Excluding the romance element, “D.P.” seriously dealt with social issues, such as bullying and abuse in the military, and raised the tension of the story.

Although this drama does not have any love line, the amazing chemistry between Jung Hae-in and Koo Kyo-hwan was enough to make the drama more interesting and increase the viewers’ immersion.

2. SBS’s “Hot Stove League”

“Hot Stove League”, starring Park Eun-bin and Nam Goong-min, was a hot topic at the time it was broadcast by breaking the public’s prejudice that it would be difficult to understand a “baseball” drama unless you’re a sports fan.

“Hot Stove League” is a drama that depicts the passionate journey of Baek Seung-soo (Nam Goong-min), the new general manager of a baseball team that has placed last for the past four seasons, preparing the team for the next baseball season. 


According to Nielsen Korea, the last episode wrapped up successfully by recording an average nationwide viewer rating of 19.1%. 

At the press conference of “Hot Stove League” in 2020, screenwriter Lee Shin-hwa of the drama revealed that she didn’t have any intention to put a love line in this work from the planning stage and tried to write the story plainly without romance.

3. tvN’s “Misaeng: Incomplete Life”

The famous drama “Misaeng: Incomplete Life”, starring actor Im Si-wan as the lead role, tells the story of Jang Geu-rae (Im Si-wan), who used to devote his life to baduk but failed to become a professional baduk player, getting a job at a normal company.

Misaeng: Incomplete Life

The story of “Misaeng” was developed in the form of Jang Geu-rae growing up while living in the society. 

The situations that any new employee would experience at least once in life appeared a lot in the drama, drawing great sympathy from the viewers.

4. tvN “Signal” 

Signal” depicts the story of present and past detectives solving unsolved cases through a walkie-talkie from the past. Without romance, Kim Hye-soo, Jo Jin-woong, and Lee Je-hoon lead the drama with their excellent acting skills. 


“Signal” is a masterpiece that has been constantly requested to be renewed for another season by viewers even though it has been about six years since it ended.

5. tvN “Stranger”

Stranger” tells the story of Hwang Si-mok (Cho Seung-woo), a prosecutor who can’t feel emotions, and Han Yeo-jin (Bae Doo-na), an activist detective, in pursuit of the hidden truth. The drama emphasizes the two leads’ friendship rather than a love line.


At the press conference of “Stranger” in 2017, Cho Seung-woo made a clear point, saying, “Our drama is not a romance drama set in the prosecutor’s office or the police department.”

“Stranger” was produced until season 2 in 2020 thanks to its huge popularity with the public.

6. SBS “Good Manager”

“Good Manager” is an office comedy drama in which Kim Sung-ryong (Nam Goong-min), the accounting department’s chief, tries to save the collapsing TQ group while fighting against corruption and irrationality within the company. “Good Manager” stars Nam Goong-min, Nam Sang-mi, and Lee Jun-ho. 

good manager

Actress Nam Sang-mi, who played a main character, said in several interviews that she had no regrets about her character not having a love line in the drama.

In fact, she purposely insisted on a drama without a love line. She directly conveyed her opinion to the production crew of “Good Manager”, saying, “I hope the female lead is not put at the center of a melodrama.”

Source: Insight

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