K-dramas are taking over the world, and everyone is hooked to these amazingly executed shows. Web series like Squid Game and films like Parasite became a huge phenomenon and made more and more people take note of what Korean filmmakers were creating. The formula that worked for these shows and films was happy endings. Everything worked out at the end of these shows somehow. However, not every Korean drama ends that way. Another popular way of concluding a K-drama is ending it on a sad note that leaves you both baffled and wanting for more.

Many popular K-drama shows are loved by people because of how tragically sad yet real they were at the end. If this is something that entices you too, we have curated a list of the best sad K-drama shows that have a very uneventful, emotional ending that will break your heart. Check out the list below.

Check our complete list on K-dramas to watch!

Sad K-Drama shows: Black, Kill It, Stairway to Heaven & more

There is something interesting about sad endings and K-dramas have the most emotional conclusions that you cannot miss. So, get the tissues ready because you will definitely need them while watching these K-dramas which have a sad ending.


Director: Kim Hong-sun
Cast: Song Seung-heon, Go Ara, Lee El, Kim Dong-jun
Release date: October 14 – December 10, 2017
No. of episodes: 18 episodes

Synopsis: The story revolves around a woman who starts seeing ghosts. She ends up meeting a detective on her journey to explore why she can see dead people. Little does she know that the detective himself is actually possessed by an elite grim reaper, Black. He starts falling in love with Ha-Ram only to understand that he will never be able to live with her. The end is tragic and makes you feel really bad for the two characters.

Where to watch: Available on Netflix

The Red Sleeve

Director: Jung Ji-in, Song Yeon-hwa
Cast: Lee Jun-ho, Lee Se-young, Kang Hoon
Release date: November 12, 2021 – January 1, 2022
No. of episodes: 17 episodes

Synopsis: This historical drama revolves around a noble and upright Crown Prince, LeeSan and the mischievous and strong-willed court lady, Seong DeokIm. They two fall in love and the show initially is all about their sweet, blossoming romance. The novel-based K-drama takes a sad turn eventually. The two lovers face several difficulties to stay together but fate has something else planned for them.

Where to watch: Available on Viki

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

Director: Yoo Je-won
Cast: Seo In-guk, Jung So-min, Park Sung-woong.
Release date: October 3 – November 22, 2018
No. of episodes: 16 episodes

Synopsis: The protagonist, Kim Moo-Young falls in love with a woman who is connected to the past. He tries to remember how the two are connected but fails to understand. Fans were left in shock by the K-drama show’s sad ending, staying true to its name. The characters that eventually became everyone’s favourite throughout the show didn’t end up together in the end.

Where to watch: Available on Viki


Director: Jo Hyun-tak
Cast: Jung Hae-in, Jisoo, Yoo In-na, Jang Seung-jo, Yoon Se-ah, Kim Hye-yoon, Jung Yoo-jin.
Release date: December 18, 2021 – January 30, 2022
No. of episodes: 16 episodes

Synopsis: Snowdrop was the first K-drama to be released by Disney+, and despite its sad ending, the show received a lot of attention from the public. The show narrates the tragic love story of Im SuHo and Eun YoungRo. The political drama keeps the lovers apart and even though they try to navigate their problems, they end up in a very miserable situation that will break your heart as well.

Where to watch: Available on Disney+ Hotstar

Stairway to Heaven

Director: Lee Jang-soo
Cast: Choi Ji-woo, Kwon Sang-woo, Kim Tae-hee, Shin Hyun-joon
Release date: 3 December 2003 – 5 February 2004
No. of episodes: 20 episodes

Synopsis: The name of the K-drama itself suggests a sad ending. The show revolves around two childhood best friends who are forcefully separated because of some rogues. The two reunite years later and fall in love with each other. But things take a turn when the girl discovers that she has cancer. The show does not end with a happily ever after as the protagonist dies in his lover’s arms.

Where to watch: Available on Viki

Uncontrollably Fond

Director: Park Hyun-suk, Cha Young-hoon
Cast: Kim Woo-bin, Bae Suzy
Release date: July 6 – September 8, 2016
No. of episodes: 20 episodes

Synopsis: Two young kids meet years later after they were separated but this time for work. Shin JoonYoung is now an A-list celebrity and NoEul is a documentary PD. Shin is determined to rekindle his romance with NoEul, but life has different plans for the duo. Much later in the show, it is revealed that JoonYoung is ill. While fans hope that things would get better by the end, the K-drama ends on a very sad note. Although fans cherished the sweet memories that the two characters created during the show, it truly broke everyone’s heart to see how the lovers never got to spend their life together till the end.

Where to watch: Available on Viki

Kill It

Director: Nam Sung-woo, Ahn Ji-sook
Cast: Jang Ki-yong, Nana
Release date: March 23 – April 28, 2019
No. of episodes: 12 episodes

Synopsis: Kill It narrates the story of a top assassin Kim Soo-Hyun who meets a police detective Do Hyun-Jin during a mission. They work together to uncover the truth behind Do Hyun-Jin’s lover’s death. The two eventually fall in love, but their ending is bittersweet. Soo-Hyun kills the person who hurt the woman he loves, but is killed by the SWAT team for his crimes. The last few episodes of this show are quite draining, so keep the tissues next to you.

Where to watch: Available on Viki

Twenty-Five, Twenty-One

Director: Jung Ji-hyun
Cast: Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk, Bona, Choi Hyun-wook, Lee Joo-myung
Release date: February 12 – April 3, 2022
No. of episodes: 16 episodes

Synopsis: This sad K-Drama, despite its gloomy storyline, was one of the most popular shows worldwide during its release. The show chronicles the story of fencing superstar, Na HeeDo and a news reporter Baek YiJin. The two find their way back to each other after being away for years and fall deeply in love. However, from the very beginning, the makers made sure to drop hints that the two do not end up together at the end. The lovers go through several hardships and eventually give up, breaking the hearts of their fans.

Where to watch: Available on Netflix

Hero & Feature Image: Courtesy IMDB

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Is there a happy ending in K-dramas?

Answer: Yes. Watch shows like It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, Crash Landing On You, & more

Question: Are all K-dramas sad?

Answer: No. They have shows in different genres.

Question: Is there a happy ending to kill it?

Answer: No. The end is very tragic for both characters.

Keep the tissues ready as you watch these K-dramas

Ananya Swaroop

Cinema has always fascinated Ananya, so much that she got a degree in media to know more about it. She has worked for magazines like Man’s World India and CineBlitz as an entertainment writer. When not writing about films and celebrities, she likes to travel to new places or try new cuisines. Travel and Food are her latest interests and she is looking forward to explore these further.

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