The Second Lead Syndrome is a running theme in most K-dramas. They get us to fall in love with the sweet, charming and attractive second leads, only to show us that they had no chance with the female lead to begin with. Here are the ones who we were definitely rooting for:

1. Yoon Ji Hoo in Boys Over Flowers 

Yoon Ji Hoo was kind, caring and even helped the girl he liked chase her man in this 2009 drama. And yet, he didn’t get a chance to woo her. You can still hear the hearts shattering, a decade later. 

Tumblr / KBS

2. In Kook Doo in Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon

The show that made Ji Soo the poster boy for second lead syndrome! His character, In Kook Doo realised how he felt for Bong Soon a little too late, and we all wanted to go hug his broad shoulders because he didn’t stand a chance. 

3. Kang Shin-jae in The King: Eternal Monarch 

Yes we know, Kang Shin-jae was never meant to compete for her heart. But the fact that he had a crush on Jeong Tae-eul since they were in high school does make you feel bad for him. Add to that his soul-crushing life story and you’ve got a guy anybody would feel sorry for. 

4. Choi Young-do in The Heirs

Let’s be honest, we were all rooting for Kim Woo-bin as Choi Young-do to get the girl. He did have a straight-forward way of showing his affection but at least he was honest about his feelings. And he also did everything he could to make sure Cha Eun-sang was happy in the end. 

5. Go Chung-myung in Hotel del Luna

Instead of stepping into afterlife, Go Chung-myung roamed the earth for 1,300 years as a firefly to guide and keep Jang Man Wol safe. Though misunderstood in the beginning, he proved that he always loved her more than she loved him. 

6. Baek In-Ho in Cheese In The Trap

Admit it, we all cried witnessing Baek In Ho’s one-sided love for Hong Seol. Especially those hours that she spent tutoring him and he would just enjoy his time with her. 

7. Nam Eun-gi in Her Private Life

Nothing hurts more than a best friend who has been around forever like Nam Eun-gi, and still doesn’t manage to catch the lead’s attention. He was her childhood friend and never judged her for being a fan-girl but Sung Deok Mi still chose Ryan Gold. Not that we blame her. 


8. Kim Shin-hyuk in She Was Pretty

Kim Shin-hyuk was funny, charismatic and towards the end – a brilliant author. Plus he was nice to her right from the start and even helped boost her confidence. But alas, she picked Ji Sung-joon and Kim Shin-hyuk was left to mend his broken heart. 

9.  Han Woo-tak in While You Were Sleeping

Jung Hae-in as Han Woo-tak in this drama is so soft and sweet that you just want to treasure him. But Lee Jong‑suk’s Jung Jae‑chan was good competition and won over the lead with his blinding smile. 


10. Seo Do Hyeon in My First First Love

Finally a show where the best friend aka Ji Soo gets the girl! Ending his streak, he left us with another second lead, B1A4’s Jinyoung who plays Seo Do Hyeon, a sweet intelligent guy with a heart of gold. 

K drama space / Tumblr

Which second lead were you rooting for?