If, like me, you watched the first two episodes of the new thriller Voice only to look down at your hands afterwards and discover you had bitten your nails to the quick because TENSION, then you already know the unique joy of that special Kdrama thriller dedicated to destroying every last nerve in your body. While waiting, impatiently and tensely, for the next episodes of Voice, treat yourself to the sweet masochistic anxiety of these 5 great Kdrama thrill rides. You will thank me, but your nerves may not!

1. When a Snail Falls in Love

Starting off with my own plot twist! When a Snail Falls in Love is not a Kdrama but a Chinese show, but it is so, so good and tense and nerve-wracking that it deserves a major shout-out. When a tough, handsome cop and a rookie criminal profiler team up, romance builds, but so does the body count and the audience’s frayed nerves. The romantic tension between the leads is beaten only by the cat and mouse tensions of the elusive killer and our heroic duo. So good ,and so easy on the eyes to rewatch!

2. Signal

This show stressed. Me. Out. When a cop from the past teams up with a cop from the present day, tensions and dangers build in both timelines. And Lee Je Hoon has mastered the fine art of how to whisper into a walkie-talkie and make it sound unbelievably nerve-wracking and intense. Just make sure you lock all your doors and turn off all your old walkie-talkies before turning on this show, because you won’t be able to fall asleep any other way. 

3. Who Are You?

There are lots of awesome and spooky Kdramas about people who see ghosts, but  Who Are You? does an especially good job of making the whole thing totally, undeniably, unnervingly creepy. From the eerie, synth-laden musical score (bonus points if you recognize it as the same music featured in Tomorrow's Cantabile!) to the ghosts who only show up in shadowy, scary places to freak out our heroic lady detective and us, everything about the show is designed to keep us unhinged and on the edge of our seat. And indeed we are.


4. Two Weeks

Lee Joon Ki may only have two weeks to clear himself of murder charges and save his daughter, but this show only needs a few minutes to get you hooked. This show’s tension is doubled by the impossible time frame given to our hero, and every Kdrama fan who’s ever tried to binge a 16 episode show in one night feels Lee Joon Ki’s pain of just not having enough time! He, and you, will need every last ounce of calm to keep yourself from falling off the edge of your seat as the story, and the truth, begin to unravel (with your nerves not far behind). Also, it's Lee Joon Ki. Enough said. 

5. Iris

An oldie but a goodie! Spies and double-agents and parkour, oh my! This show has it all. But most importantly, it has Lee Byung Hung looking buff and sweaty sexy and out for the truth (and maybe a bit of revenge), but mostly sweaty sexy. You are welcome. If you like a show with twists, turns, romance, and action, this is one for you. Just make sure you have a cold beverage to sip on, because this show is both tense and hot!

6. Healer

Okay, dammit, I couldn't stop at just five shows. Because with Healer, revenge has never been so tense. This show about greed, revenge, and power is so much better than good, there aren’t even words. Just watch it. Right now. If you are at work, quit your job and go watch it. No regrets. Your resignation letter can just read the words Ji Chang Wook and everyone in HR will understand. But be forewarned, if you value good nail care then wear gloves during your binges, because you will bite your fingernails down to stubs in anxiety as the main characters figure out their real identities, fight for justice, and take down some shady bad guys in the process. 

So there you go, a few great shows to keep your nerves frayed and your synapses firing until the next episodes of Voice. Are there any good thrillers I missed?

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