The 11 Best K-Drama Series About Cheating, Affairs, and Adultery

Korean television has given us some of the greatest and most thrilling TV shows about cheating spouses.
The 11 Best K-Drama Series About Cheating, Affairs, and Adultery

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There are many plot devices used to spice up romantic K-drama stories, from social status differences to overly protective parents, from terminal illnesses to emotional trauma and baggage. One of the more intense ones is infidelity and unfaithfulness.

Infidelity and unfaithfulness aren't just there to escalate tension and heat up scenes. They also give rise to thrilling plot developments like betrayal, revenge, and even a character's will to kill.

Love affairs create intense drama between the betrayer and the betrayed, making viewers feel mixed emotions about a series and its characters, from sympathy to hatred.

Here are our picks for the best K-drama series that involve cheating, infidelity, unfaithfulness, adultery, and other love affairs.

11. Temptation of Wife (2008)

Starring Jang Seo-hee, Byun Woo-min, Kim Seo-hyung

Drama, Romance

129 episodes (1 season)

7.5 on IMDb

First on our list is the 2008 series that made us hate traitors: Temptation of Wife (also known as Cruel Temptation). It's your typical rags-to-riches story with a now-rich victim exacting revenge on those who bring her down.

Goo Eun-jae (played by Jang Seo-hee) has a husband Jung Gyo-bin (played by Byun Woo-min), who has an affair with Shin Ae-ri (played by Kim Seo-hyung). Ae-ri was a sister-like figure to Eun-jae when they grew up together after she was orphaned due to an accident.

The husband deserves to suffer and be hated even more than her, not just for his infidelity but also because he wanted Eun-jae to come back after she got rich and started living a comfortable life.

10. Legend of the Blue Sea (2016)

Starring Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Min-ho, Lee Hee-joon

Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

20 episodes (1 season)

8.1 on IMDb

The fantasy series Legend of the Blue Sea doesn't center entirely around infidelity, but it does feature a love affair subplot that plays an important part in Heo Joon-jae's (played by Lee Min-ho) character.

He became a badass con man because he left home after his father chose his mistress over his mother, who respectfully left home hoping that Joon-jae's new mother would treat him well.

9. Two Wives (2009)

Created by Lee Yoo-seon

Starring Kim Ji-young, Son Tae-young, Kim Ho-jin

Drama, Romance

156 episodes (1 season)

Amnesia has been a common—often overused—plot device in K-dramas ever since it started trending in the 1990s and 2000s, but Two Wives gave the phrase "second chance" a whole new meaning.

In this series, Kang Chul-soo (played by Kim Ho-jin) divorces his wife Yoon Young-hee (played by Kim Ji-young) and remarries to Han Ji-sook (played by Son Tae-young), the woman with whom he had a love affair behind his first wife's back.

A tragic accident leaves Chul-soo stricken with amnesia, who now believes that he's still married to his first wife.

8. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)

Starring Lee Joon-gi, Lee Ji-eun, Kang Ha-neul

Action, Drama, History

20 episodes (1 season)

8.6 on IMDb

A battle for love is what spices up the historical drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, which involves a time traveler Hae-soo (played by IU, real name Lee Ji-eun), the fourth prince Wang So (played by Lee Joon-gi), and the eighth prince Wang Wook (played by Kang Ha-neul).

Wang Wook was married to Lady Hae Myung-hee (played by Park Si-eun), but he falls in love with Hae-soo. Though the hiding of his true feelings for someone other than his wife is an act of unfaithfulness, his wife seems to accept what he feels for Hae-soo.

7. Doctor Cha (2023)

Starring Uhm Jung-hwa, Kim Byung-chul, Myung Se-bin


16 episodes (1 season)

7.5 on IMDb

Netflix's medical drama Doctor Cha follows the story of Cha Jeong-suk (played by Uhm Jung-hwa), a housewife who decides to return to the medical profession after a career hiatus of 20 years.

On the one hand, her husband Seo In-ho (played by Kim Byung-chul) is the chief surgeon at a university hospital. However, unbeknownst to Jeong-suk, her husband is actually having an affair with his fellow doctor Choi Seung-hee (played by Myung Se-bin).

Unlike other infidelity series that mainly revolve around darker themes and serious stories, Doctor Cha is packed with comedy and all kinds of other themes layered on top. For example, it's great to see Jeong-suk's moments as a rookie in the medical field.

6. Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) (2021)

Starring Sung Hoon, Lee Tae-gon, Park Joo-mi

Drama, Romance

48 episodes (3 seasons)

6.7 on IMDb

This K-drama series offers an intense story of characters who fight for love and for the ones they love. The love-and-affair-driven motives of these characters keep the story going with ever more chaos.

Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) stars Park Joo-mi, Lee Ga-ryeong, and Jeon Soo-kyeong—three women who are living seemingly happy married lives, at least until secrets start to ruin their marriages.

From the very first intense moment of confrontation between one wife and a mistress in the early parts of the first episode, we know that we're in for a wild ride with Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce).

5. VIP (2019)

Starring Jang Na-ra, Lee Sang-yoon, Lee Chung-ah

Drama, Mystery, Romance

16 episodes (1 season)

7.5 on IMDb

VIP follows the story of Na Jeong-sun (played by Jang Na-ra), who gets a text message stating that her husband Park Seong-jeon (played by Lee Sang-yoon) is having an affair with someone at work.

That might seem pretty run-of-the-mill, but what makes this one exciting is that the message leaves her with no clues as to who he's having an affair with, so it's pretty much a mystery she has to puzzle out.

The themes and setting of VIP center on the workplace environment, where all kinds of stories of love, affairs, business, and work ethics get entangled and twisted into one thrilling drama.

4. Hymn of Death (2018)

Starring Lee Jong-suk, Shin Hye-sun, Lee Sang-yeob

Drama, History, Music

3 episodes (1 season)

7.6 on IMDb

This three-episode miniseries is pretty short compared to traditional Korean drama series, but it packs a lot of romance, drama, tears, and pain with its story of forbidden love.

This based-on-a-true-story K-drama revolves around the love affair between the playwright Kim Woo-jin (played by Lee Jong-suk) and Yun Sim-deok (played by Shin Hye-sun).

Despite their bad first impressions of each other, the two develop strong feelings with subsequent meetings. The moment she finds out that the man she loves is a married man is just so heartbreaking.

3. The Penthouse: War in Life (2020)

Starring Kim So-yeon, Lee Ji-ah, Shin Eun-kyung

Crime, Drama, Mystery

48 episodes (3 seasons)

7.8 on IMDb

The Penthouse: War in Life features elitism, money, and power. Early in the series, unfaithfulness isn't emphasized much; it comes up later when infidelity becomes connected with a crime.

Cheon Seo-jin (played by Kim So-yeon) and Joo Dan-tae (played by Um Ki-joon) have a love affair while being married to their respective partners, Ha Yoon-cheol (played by Yoon Jong-hoon) and Shim Su-ryeon (played by Lee Ji-ah).

Their affair brings many twists and turns to the story, giving us victims who stand their ground and traitors who get what they deserve. The tension tightens with every episode, but thankfully there are also characters who add much-needed touches of comic relief.

2. Show Window: The Queen's House (2021)

Starring Song Yoon-ah, Lee Sung-jae, Jun So-min

Drama, Mystery, Romance

16 episodes (1 season)

7.8 on IMDb

Han Sun-joo (played by Song Yoon-ah) thinks she lives the perfect married life, but her husband Shin Myung-seob (played by Lee Sung-jae) hides a secret that injects this series full of mysteries.

The character developments add depth to the story, making it more intriguing as the secrets start to unfold.

What hits the hardest and darkest in Show Window: The Queen's House is how the main character supports the mistress of the love affair without knowing she's the victim of that very relationship.

1. The World of the Married (2020)

Starring Kim Hee-ae, Park Hae-joon, Han So-hee

Drama, Romance

16 episodes (1 season)

8.0 on IMDb

The World of the Married has one of the most intense and intriguing romance plots of modern K-drama, featuring a husband and wife who both commit infidelity and enter into love affairs of their own.

The husband Lee Tae-oh (played by Park Hae-joon) was the first to betray their marriage. The wife Ji Seon-u (played by Kim Hee-ae) followed afterwards but with a hidden motive.

With the characters taking advantage of their situations for their own personal interests, the story grows increasingly twisted and complex with mysteries, doubts, and unwavering emotions.

With their relationships ruined and them now struggling to move on from their pasts, will the characters be able to continue living?