Sky Castle is a drama that grips your attention, shakes you up, leaves you disturbed while thrusting you forcefully into a world of lies, deceit, and avarice of the ultra-rich in South Korea. It is a satirical drama that takes you through the elite’s lives, ready to do anything to maintain their status and privilege. Even if it means destroying anybody who comes in their way. And, obviously, it doesn’t matter if their children become pawns in their “games of thrones” along the way. So, if you are someone who loves drama, dark comedy, mystery, thriller, and revenge, we have 25+ Kdrama similar to Sky Castle to fill your void with bonus recommendations!!
To recap, watch Sky Castle’s trailer here.
Kdrama Similar to Sky Castle
26. Secret Boutique (2019)
Similarities between Secret Boutique and Sky castle consist of powerful, ambitious, and bold women characters and their engagement with the elite. It also harbors secrets, revenge, and greed, pretty similar to Sky Castle.
The story revolves around leading lady Jenny, who owns a boutique but not just a boutique. The boutique is a secret network that helps a law firm to stay connected with political and financial circles to which it caters.
25. Heard it Through the Grapevine (2015)
Heard it Through the Grapevine is a Kdrama similar to Sky Castle as it plays on a similar genre of satire, black comedy, and drama. It revolves around the lives of an elite family with high expectations from their one and only son.
Han Jeong-ho and his wife Yeon-hee belong to a prestigious aristocratic family. Their goal is to keep its reputation, status, and prestige intact. And their only teenage son bringing his pregnant, lower-class girlfriend home wasn’t exactly how they planned to maintain it. The drama depicts the sheer burden of expectations that upper-class prestigious families put on their children. It is evident from the pressure In-Sang feels regarding his family and peers.
24. Tempted (2018)
Tempted is set in the context of a high school filled with rich spoilt chaebol heirs, themes of revenge, deception, and romance. If you are familiar with the Hollywood teen movie Cruel Intentions, then this is the Korean version of it but better. And both of them have a similar Sky Castle vibe, and you’ll want to pull your hair out as the series progress. If you’re familiar with names like Red Velvet’s Joy, Moon Ga Young, Woo Do Hwan, and Kim Min Jae, need I say more?
So, in our gang of rich spoilt brats is the main lead Kwon Shi-hyun, who’s mistreated by his rich father. He takes on a bet offered by members of our ‘rich spoilt brats’ club to seduce the lovely and virtuous Tae-hee and dump her like a discarded piece of paper. That’s the plan until Shi-hyun falls in love with Tae Hee and Tae Hee finds about the bet. Oops!
23. Birthcare Centre (2020)
If we are looking for some similarity between Birthcare Centre and Sky Castle, then it’s the woman-centric plot, strong woman lead character, high society, and the strong social message that it delivers. It boasts of a unique plot – the journey of a woman’s struggle with motherhood and her ambitions.
The story follows our lead character Oh Hyun-jin’s journey into motherhood. Quite normal, isn’t it? Well, the twist is that while she’s the youngest executive in a huge corporation, she’s also the oldest mother to have given birth. The drama follows Hyun-jin’s struggle to accommodate her two identities – one as a mother and the other as a strong working woman.
22. Search www (2019)
It shares its women-centric plot, strong women characters, and a revenge plot with Sky Castle; however, it is more on the spectrum’s rom-com side. Nonetheless, it is a feel-good drama about career women trying to balance work and love in a highly competitive environment. It is a perfect drama to destress after watching emotionally loaded dramas like Sky Castle while hovering on similar themes in a lighter, pleasant way, minus the murder, conspiracies, and student bullying.
It follows the story of three women in their late thirties, working in rival web portal companies, trying to get to the top. Bae Ta-mi, a high-ranking director in a leading web portal company, is expelled for sticking to her principles. She then joins the rival company to defeat her previous company. In the process, she can form a meaningful connection with her former business rival Cha Hyeon while confronting her lost friend Song Ga-kyung.
21. Witch’s Court (2017)
Witch’s Court shares its strong woman lead Ma Yi-deum with that of Han Seo-ji of Sky Castle. Both of them share the go-getter attitude, where they stop at nothing if it means to achieve their ends. While Sky Castle is a satire on the ultra-rich life, it also carries a social message regarding the extreme academic pressure that students face in Korea. Witch’s Court also highlights the social pressure that victims of rape and assault face.
Ma Yi-deum, our leading lady, is an ace prosecutor. She’s ambitious, bold, and can take any legal or illegal measures to win her cases. She lacks empathy, including towards the victims of her cases. In Witch’s Court, this femme fatale is transferred to the Crimes Against Girls Unit, which deals with cases involving sex crimes. With a psychiatrist turned prosecutor, Ma Yi-deum works towards bringing justice to the victims of heinous crimes against women.
20. Lie After Lie (2020)
Lie after Lie is another Kdrama that is quite similar to Sky Castle as it depicts a mother going to any lengths to be with her child. It also shows the secrets and mysteries revolving around the elite and how power and wealth can buy anything, even death. It also consists of strong women characters, murder mysteries, revenge, and conspiracies somewhat similar to Sky Castle.
This heart-wrenching tale revolves around Ji Eun-soo, daughter-in-law of a chaebol family, who is found near her husband’s dead body. Even though she pleads not guilty and repeatedly denies her involvement in the murder, she’s sentenced to 10 years in prison with her unborn child. Along the way, she is forced to separate from her daughter. 10 years later, she is determined to search for her daughter and seek revenge against those who did her wrong.
19. Black Dog: Being a Teacher (2019)
Black Dog is set around a high school and has a similar theme of pressure on students to secure a top university position. It is a heart-warming tale about a new temporary teacher, Ko Ha-neul, and the struggles she faces due to corruption in the school and the unfair conditions levied against temporary teachers. With the help of the College Advisory Group members, she begins to experience new opportunities and happiness at the school. It is a great drama with marvelous character development and is quite similar to Sky Castle regarding cut-throat competition amongst students to secure the best college.
18. School 2017 (2017)
School 2017 is yet another high school Kdrama similar to Sky Castle in terms of its portrayal of student life burdened by expectations, grades, and fierce competition to get into college. It also focuses on themes of corruption and discrimination by the school administration against low scoring students from not so elite backgrounds.
The story revolves around a cheerful student Ra Eun-ho who aspires to become a webtoon artist. Her goal is to get admission to a good college. But there’s a problem – She’s at the bottom in terms of her grades. It doesn’t help when she gets involved with mysterious events happening in the school and is framed to be the suspect- Student X, troublemaker of the school. Ra Eun-ho, along with her friends, decides to challenge the school’s discriminatory and corrupt system by standing up to the authorities.
17. Avengers Social Club (2017)
Avengers Social Club shares a similar woman-centric plot with strong woman characters, revenge plot, themes of corruption and political conspiracies among the rich, school bullying, and a birth secret with Sky Castle. And it shares Kim bora! Although unlike Sky Castle, it is a light, very engaging feel-good drama with good character development and a fair share of secrets and greed, which comes with the upper-class lifestyle.
The tale revolves around three women from very different social backgrounds who form a group to take revenge on those who wronged them. Along the way, they can heal and find comfort in each other’s friendship. Highly recommended for those who would like lighter and funnier K-drama along similar lines to Sky Castle.
16. The Last Empress (2019)
Another Kdrama similar to Sky Castle on our list is The Last Empress. It is a mystery thriller and a very addictive drama. It contains thrilling conspiracies, murder mystery, the aristocracy’s life, secrets, and strong, complex characters with beautiful character development just like Sky Castle!
Set in a unique context of Korea’s hypothetical constituent monarchy in 2018, The Last Empress is a treat to watch! It narrates Oh Sunny’s tale, an aspiring musical actress who has a crush on the reigning Emperor. Her wish comes true in a turn of events, and she becomes the Empress after marrying Emperor Lee Hyuk. Her fairy-tale life comes to an abrupt end when she learns about the palace’s reality, the emperor, and the reason she was brought into the palace. Meanwhile, Na Wang Sik seeks revenge on the imperial family for his mother’s murder and infiltrates the palace by assuming a new identity.
15. Prison Playbook (2017)
Prison Playbook is a highly acclaimed Kdrama and also a black comedy similar to Sky Castle. While Sky Castle focuses on the lives of the upper-class elite, Prison Playbook focuses on prison inmates’ lives, political corruption, and a flawed system. And in this rotten system, innocent people are convicted rather than real criminals belonging to powerful backgrounds. It serves as a social commentary on various issues in society. It has exceptional characters and character development. Prison Playbook, however, is not as dark as Sky Castle. But it’s a much watch for anyone who appreciates a unique plot, humor, marvelous characters, and their struggles.
The story unfolds when superstar baseball pitcher, Kim Je Hyuk, ends up in prison after being convicted of assault while trying to save his sister from a sexual assaulter.
14. Defendant (2017)
This legal thriller shares a puzzling, mysterious plot with Sky Castle minus high school kids and their over-the-top parents. Just like Sky Castle, Defendant has an incredible cast, with Ji Sung playing the protagonist Jeong-woo’s role. If you have watched Ji Sung in Kill Me, Heal me, you know what I’m talking about! It is a mentally and emotionally intense drama, quite dark, and will keep you on your toes as you find yourself shocked, surprised, and tense, just like you did in Sky Castle. Its plot includes lies, betrayal, crime, and love similar to Sky Castle.
Defendant follows Park Jung-woo’s story, a prosecutor who wakes up one day to find himself a convict on death row with no memories of how and why it happened. With a high rating of 8.8, Defendant is worth a watch for all you mystery and crime lovers.
13. Flower of Evil (2020)
Although Flower of Evil is more of a crime thriller, it shares themes of deception, betrayal, murder, and a lot of suspense with Sky Castle. Both of them also have impeccable characters and marvelous character development! Flower of Evil, similar to Sky Castle, is also filled with secrets involving all characters.
Flowe of Evil is one of the highest-rated dramas with an IMDb rating of 8.7! So, it’s not a surprise when you find yourself binge-watching the whole show in one sitting! Our main lead is Do Hyun-Soo is a psychopath. Chill, it’s not a spoiler. Do Hyun-soo, in an attempt to leave his dark past behind, assumes Baek Hee-sung’s identity and marries detective Cha Ji-won. Plot twist? Cha Ji-won gets assigned a case involving Hyun-soo, and this is when things get messy. But is Hyun Soo really what people think he is? Highly recommended for adrenaline junkies!
12. Signal (2016)
If you have heard about Signal, you’ll probably wonder why it is here on this list. Even though it is a crime thriller with supernatural elements, it has many similarities with Sky Castle. It deals with conspiracies against the main detectives, corruption in favor of the powerful, thrilling events, and powerful characters. It boasts of an excellent ensemble cast like Sky Castle. What’s more? Our dear Chan-hee, aka Hwang Woo-joo from Sky Castle, is also a small part of it!
The story begins when a criminal profiler Park Hae-young finds an old walkie-talkie. The walkie talkie helps Hae-young to communicate with a detective working in the year 1989. With the help of the walkie talkie, they can solve cold cases and stop some events that were to happen in the past altogether. But changing the past means changing the present, so not only do they have to deal with the consequences of their choices but save themselves from people who want them dead.
11. Secret Mother(2018)
Kdrama Secret Mother is similar to Sky Castle regarding its scenario of parents who hire a mysterious tutor for their children’s success. In both the dramas, the tutor or coach have hidden agendas and parents who would do anything to get their child to the top. Like Sky Castle, all the Secret Mother characters belong to high-end families, frantically preparing their seven-year-old kids for college while hiding secrets from each other.
Secret Mother revolves around Kim Yoon-jin, a psychiatrist who leaves her job after her daughter’s death. Like mothers in Sky Castle, she is dedicated to the education of her children and thus, hires a mysterious tutor, Kim Lisa. Kim Lisa is an academic coach who supervises her clients’ education so that they can continue to walk the path of an elite and maintain their reputation in society. Very similar, isn’t it?
10. Woman of Dignity (2017)
This drama sports strong women characters of a high-class status similar to Sky Castle. It consists of family feud, power struggle, betrayal, deception, murder, and greed. Sounds familiar? The plot has similar themes as Sky Castle, but the drama’s overall vibe also screams Sky Castle. It also sketches several despicable characters and a satirical depiction of the high-class society similar to Sky Castle.
Woo, Ah Jin is a kind woman married to the son of a chaebol family who takes care of her in-laws and the household. Her happy life comes to an end when suspicious caretaker Park Bok Ja enters. And her husband’s infidelity does not help. Park Bok Ja isn’t your regular caretaker though, she hides secrets and has great aspirations to climb the social ladder. And getting murdered in the first episode wasn’t quite in her plan. How and why was she murdered? And who’s the culprit? Find out yourself!
09. Graceful Friends (2020)
Yet another Kdrama that made headlines in Korea for being very similar to Sky Castle is Graceful Friends. It is famous for being branded and promoted as an amalgamation of Sky Castle and The World of the Married. It revolves around mysteries, murder, revenge and has a similar Sky castle vibe.
Graceful Friends boasts of a veteran cast with popular household names like Kim Hye-eun, Yoo Joon-sang, Han Da-gam, Jung Suk-yong, Lee In-hye, Bae Soo-bin, Song Yoon-ah, and Kim Sung-oh. It follows the story of a man named Ahn Goong-chul and his group of friends. All of them get entangled in a murder mystery which shatters their peaceful life and compels them to reminisce about a similar one in the past. With all of the friends as suspects, a “whodunnit” game ensues with buried secrets, mysteries, and not so pure agendas.
08. Graceful Family (2019)
Another Kdrama similar to Sky Castle is Graceful family. It shares similar themes of corruption, conspiracies, murder revolving around the life of the elite. The drama has characters who can worsen if it comes to gaining status and prestige in society. It smells like Sky Castle, doesn’t it?
The Graceful Family gained a lot of attention during its air time for breaking rating records at the MBN network. It narrates the tale of heiress Mo Seok-hee, who is sent to live in the US after the murder of her mother. After 15 years, she returns to unravel the mysteries and conspiracies involving the TOP group and her mother’s death.
07. Solomon’s Perjury (2016)
A Kdrama that is very similar to Sky Castle is Solomon’s Perjury. It has a similar incident of murder as in Sky Castle. Since there are murders and no official suspect, there’s your mystery! It also deals with themes of corruption and bullying at an elite high school.
The story begins when a student, Lee So-woo, is found dead and covered in snow in his school’s garden. The school forces the police to term the murder as a suicide to save its face. Now, our leading lady and model student Go Seo-Yeon, who’s also amongst the first people to witness the body, starts receiving mysterious anonymous letters regarding So-woo’s death. And the only witness of the murder gets hits by a truck. Suspicious? Since the school and the adults aren’t much of a help, they decide to get to the bottom of the mystery by conducting their own mock trial.
06. Class of Lies (2019)
Class of Lies is yet another Kdrama similar to Sky Castle. It is an engaging high school thriller that shares its setting of an elite high school atmosphere, themes of corruption, school bullying, manipulation, and murder with Sky Castle. Another similarity is the parents’ pressure on their children to succeed and maintain their socio-economic position in society.
Class of Lies tells the tale of Gi Moo-hyeok, a snobby and obnoxious lawyer, who is forced to change his entire personality to do an undercover investigation of a murder case in an elite high school catering to the top 0.1 percent of society.
05. Beautiful World (2019)
A Kdrama similar to Sky Castle, Beautiful World deals with themes of bullying, assault, violence, lies, and secrets. If Sky Castle wasn’t enough, here is another emotional roller coaster for you with less humor and more gravity.
It revolves around a heart-wrenching story of In-ha and Moo-jin’s son, Sun-ho. Their peaceful and happy life is shattered when Sun-ho becomes critically ill after mysteriously falling from his school’s rooftop. Everybody terms it as a suicide, but Sun-ho’s parents know better. In an attempt to discover the truth behind Sun-ho’s accident, his family sets off on a journey to give Sun-ho the justice he deserves. Though it’s similar to Sky Castle, most people may find it a bit darker and much more serious, so watch only if you have the heart for it! And keep a box of tissues on the side.
04. Children of Nobody (2019)
Children of Nobody is intense. This Kdrama is also similar to Sky Castle. It’s dark, mysterious, puzzling, and thrilling, exactly like Sky Castle. And similar to Sky Castle, which sheds light on a social subject of academic achievement gone too far, Children of Nobody discusses the difficult social subject of child abuse and childhood traumas from not one but various perspectives, which makes it enriching and complex. There are mysterious and murders and violence. So, brace yourself, folks.
Our story begins with Cha Woo Kyung, a child counselor at a children’s center with a perfectly normal life. Until she gets into an accident, which becomes the turning point in her life, she becomes involved in a murder mystery and keeps seeing a little girl in a green dress. Who is she? Determined to find out, she embarks on a dangerous journey of forgotten, painful memories and hidden identities.
03. Extracurricular (2020)
This Kdrama is a mind-blowing piece of art and very similar to Sky Castle. Consisting of only 10 episodes, it dives into the darker realm of poverty, education, greed, ambition, and whatnot. It’s very similar to Sky Castle in terms of being a crime thriller, its dark comedy, depicting high school characters, their hidden secrets, and mysterious identities. What’s more? Kim Dong Hee, who portrayed Cha Seo-joon in Sky Castle, is the main lead! And just like Sky Castle, you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from binge-watching the entire show! A friendly warning: It becomes really dark by the end.
The story revolves around Oh Ji-soo, a top high school student who gets involved in an illegal business and gets caught by his crush Bae Gyu-ri. Now, Bae Gyu Ri starts blackmailing him, and this is when all hell breaks loose.
02. The World of the Married (2020)
Ready for a little surprise? The World of the Married is the highest-rated Kdrama in Korean cable television history. It even took over Sky Castle’s record! It has similar themes of mystery, betrayal, deception, infidelity, and greed for social upliftment, as seen in Sky Castle.
The story revolves around Ji Sun-woo, a happily married family doctor with a teenage son. Her perfect and blissful marital life shatters when she finds a strand of hair on her husband’s scarf, which isn’t hers. Feeling betrayed by her husband, her friends and fuming with rage, she decides to traverse a path of revenge while trying to lift herself from her misery. The World of the Married keeps you hooked in every episode, so you might end up binge-watching it, best to have those snacks handy!
01. The Penthouse (2020)
The Penthouse is a Kdrama very similar to Sky Castle regarding its plot, characters, and setting. It consists of wealthy elite parents, living in an exclusive property, who would do anything for their children to reach the top, just like in Sky Castle. Some other similarities are the portrayal of strong women characters, aspirations of characters to achieve power and prestige in the society, and depiction of social stratification and discrimination towards lower classes.
The drama revolves around the rich’s life of affluence, living in a 100 storied luxurious penthouse named Hera Palace. Three women are the drama’s focus – Oh Yeon-hee, a single mother who aspires to climb the social ladder, Sim Su-ryeon, the queen bee of Hera Palace, and Cheon Seo-jin, a wealthy woman from an extremely prestigious family. Tragedy strikes when this perfectly luxurious and laid-back atmosphere gets heavy with a mysterious murder, and all the residents come under suspicion!
It’s not a Kdrama, but if you haven’t watched Parasite, then you are missing out on serious popcorn worthy content. It is so similar to Sky Castle in terms of its themes that it is difficult not to include it in our list. Parasite depicts the rich-poor divide in our society and is a mind-blowing social satire. It is a cinematic masterpiece that is globally hailed as one of the best movies of 2019. It gets a bit darker at the end, so brace yourselves.
Parasite follows the story of a lower-class family, the Kims, who infiltrate an upper-class household by recommending each other and posing as highly qualified workers. So, there’re your lies and deception amongst others, which would be considered spoilers, so go find out yourself!
Another Korean movie focuses on similar Sky Castle characteristics of a highly competitive academic environment at an elite school where students go as far as possible to get to the top. There’s murder, crime, elite students who hold power by hiding secrets and plotting conspiracies to retain their status. The ending is super dark, which may leave you disturbed for a while.
The story revolves around Kim Joon, a transfer student of an elite high school, arrested for the murder of one of his classmates. After being released, he holds an elite group of students hostage at the school basement. The story proceeds to give us flashbacks of all the horrible tasks this elite group asked Joon to do to accept him as a member of their group. Pluto is all about the repercussions of extreme academic pressure and its consequences on student life and psychology.
So that’s our big list of 25+ K-drama similar to Sky Castle. Which one are you planning on watching first? Tell us in the comments because we’d love to know! And if we missed any, let us know in the comments too so that we can enjoy your recommendations!
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