Meet Jo Byeong-kyu, leading man of The Uncanny Counter, the hit Netflix K-drama just greenlit for a second season – but his first claim to fame was 2018’s Sky Castle

Jo Byeong-kyu in The Uncanny Counter. Photo: Netflix
You’d be forgiven for not knowing Jo Byeong-kyu’s name before 2018. His acting career didn’t take off until he landed a breakout role as one of the twins in that year’s Sky Castle, a smash K-drama which became an unlikely hit in China.

Since then he’s gone from strength to strength, showing off impressive acting skills in Hot Stove League in 2019 and 2020, and landing his first lead role as the hot-blooded and righteous So-mun in 2020’s The Uncanny Counter, a top-ranked Netflix series that recently got the green light for a second season. Now, Jo might just be one of Korea’s most sought-after rising actors.

But how did he get where he is today? Before deciding to become an actor, he went to New Zealand as a middle school student to pursue his dream football career. However, a tiring training schedule prompted second thoughts.
Jo Byeong-kyu in The Uncanny Encounter. Photo: Netflix

Jo eventually returned to South Korea and attended Anyang Arts High School where he began acting. He also attended Seoul National University of the Arts, majoring in acting until he dropped out.


He began acting in plays like Hamlet and Othello before making his small screen debut in 2015 with Who Are You: School 2015, the sixth instalment of KBS’ popular School series. Soon enough, he began to take on other supporting roles – not just in dramas, but in independent films. 


His hard work has paid off: he was presented with the best new actor award during the 2020 SBS Drama Awards.

He’s caught the attention of other famous Korean actors, too. He and Song Joong-ki apparently became fast friends after they acted together in Arthdal Chronicles in 2019; Song even sent a coffee truck to the set of The Uncanny Counter while Jo was filming.


So what’s next for Jo after the success of The Uncanny Counter? Korean media outlet Sports Chosun recently reported that Jo has been offered the lead role in the upcoming historical drama, Tale of the Secret Royal Inspector and Jo Yi, which is currently set to air on TVN during the second half of the year.

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  • Before Jo appeared in Hot Stove League and in Arthdal Chronicles opposite his friend Song Joong-ki, he acted in stage plays like Hamlet and Othello
  • He’s also in talks to play the lead in historical TVN series Tale of the Secret Royal Inspector and Jo Yi, set to air later this year