Netflix’s Hierarchy: 10 Similar Shows You Should Watch

Netflix’s high-school drama ‘Hierarchy‘ is a K-drama in which Jooshin High School — the epitome of prestige in the country’s education system — takes center stage. Usually reserved for students belonging to the wealthiest families from birth, the school rules pivot when Kang Ha, a mysterious new student on scholarship, enters the grounds with a hidden agenda. Kang’s arrival disrupts the established order as he seeks to uncover the truth behind a death with which he is deeply connected. His quest for revenge leads him into a complex love triangle with Jeong Jae-i and her ex-boyfriend Kim Ri-an, the heir to the school’s founders, the Jooshin Group.

With plenty of supporting characters — all belonging to super-rich business families and politicians — the thrilling mix of romance and mystery amidst a glamorous setting soon shifts to substance abuse, underage drinking, blackmail, and bullying. Created by writer Choo Hye-Mi and director Bae Hyun-Jin, the impassioned drama of ‘Hierarchy’ extends its central revenge plot to offer something for nearly every genre. For viewers wanting to indulge themselves in intense and addictive shows like ‘Hierarchy,’ here are 10 suitable alternatives.

10. Sweet Revenge (2017-)

This appropriately titled K-drama chronicles the events following a sudden discovery made by Ho Goo-hee, a high school student. Writers Han Sang-im and Kim Jong-seon provide the series with a mysterious app that allows Goo-hee to get her revenge on bullies just by mentioning their names. Directed by Seo Won-tae, the web series combines elements of adolescence, comedy, and drama, as Goo-hee must play along with some morally questionable means for carrying on using the app. The teenage struggles and justice themes in ‘Sweet Revenge’ align with those in ‘Hierarchy.’ Both series explore the dark side of high school life, where power dynamics and personal vendettas play significant roles to the extent they may even morally corrupt the victims.

9. The Glory (2022-)

The Glory‘ is a tale of suspense and psychological drama that focuses on Moon Dong-eun, an adult woman who meticulously plans her revenge against the bullies who tormented her in high school. From writer Kim Eun-sook, the story places Dong-eun amidst various obstacles, giving her multiple choices as she calculates the best approach to dismantle her tormentors’ lives. Dong-eun’s determined exploits mirror the intense and methodical plans Kang Ha orchestrates in ‘Hierarchy.’ Both series balance the emotional and psychological impacts of bullying and the lengths to which individuals will go to seek justice within elite social settings that are resourceful and won’t go down as easily as the protagonists may have predicted.

8. Boys Over Flowers (2009)

‘Boys Over Flowers’ is a classic K-drama that adapts Japanese author-illustrator Yoko Kamio’s eponymous manga series. The plot follows Geum Jan-di, a dry cleaner’s daughter and a working-class girl who earns a scholarship to attend an elite high school dominated by a group of wealthy, influential boys known as F4. Written by Yoon Ji-ryun, the show explores themes of love, social class, and resilience as Jan-di — following her initial disgust towards the seemingly spoiled rich kids — eventually develops different relationships with the members of F4. The high school setting, power dynamics, and romantic entanglements in ‘Boys Over Flowers’ are reminiscent of ‘Hierarchy.’ Both series feature protagonists who challenge the status quo within their prestigious institutes. The series also offers an exaggerated take on the scrutiny an outsider might face from the richest.

7. Elite (2018-2024)

Elite‘ is a Spanish teen drama set in Las Encinas, a prestigious private school which often witnesses socio-economical clashes between the wealthy and the scholarship students. The plot begins with the murder of a popular student, Marina Osuna — the sister of Guzmán, and the romantic interest of Samuel and Nano — leading to an extended investigation that unravels the dark and often taboo secrets of the students. Created by Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona, the teen crime drama delves into themes of class disparity, power struggles, and forbidden love.

The characters, each with their own set of hidden motives and complex relationships, add depth to the story. The show’s high production values, from its stylish cinematography to its vibrant background music, mirror the luxurious feel of ‘Hierarchy.’ Both series unmask the glamorous facade of a prestigious institute and spill the disturbing revelations they might be hiding underneath with all its secrets and lies. The tension between different social classes and the quest for truth is central to both plotlines, making ‘Elite’ a worthy alternative for fans of ‘Hierarchy.’

6. Pretty Little Liars (2010-2017)

Pretty Little Liars‘ concerns a mysterious affair centered around four friends — Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily — who are drawn together after their leader, Alison, disappears without an explanation or a trail to track. Showrunner I. Marlene King serves an extensively intriguing outlook on Sara Shepard’s long-running novel series of the same name, resulting in a gripping tale of secrecy, betrayal, and blackmail. Created for Freeform, the series stalks — literally and figuratively — the girls as they receive threatening messages from an anonymous figure known as A, who seems to know all their secrets.

As the girls spend their high school days unraveling the mystery of Alison’s disappearance, they must maintain a facade to keep their findings hidden, thus resonating with the Netflix K-drama’s tropes of leading a double life and the web of interconnected secrets. Fans of the Netflix series may also appreciate Pretty Little Liars for its similarly convoluted plot and the exploration of hidden truths within a seemingly perfect community.

5. Riverdale (2017-2023)

With a stifling storyline set around the small town of Riverdale, The CW show presents a modern take on Archie Comics, brought to the television screens by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The story follows the day-to-day lives of the townsfolk as they witness mysterious and often dangerous happenings in their small town. The series primarily revolves around high school students Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and Jughead Jones as they vow to cross the riskiest of lines to trace mysteries, conspiracy theories, and criminals.

Dealing with the typical trials of teenage life, the show often boldly blends drama, mystery, romance, and true crime. Like ‘Hierarchy,’ ‘Riverdale’ features teen characters who frequently behave more drastically mature than their ages suggest, finding themselves at the center of causing and solving murder mysteries and drug operations. Both shows’ execution lends a dramatic weight to their conflicts, such as the intense breakup scenes, a textbook love triangle, and a twin grieving the death of their brother.

4. The O.C. (2003-2007)

Titled after the suburban county located at Newport Beach, ‘The O.C.’ centers on Ryan Atwood, a troubled teen who is taken in for foster parenting by the wealthy Cohen family in a rich neighborhood. The first successful venture from Josh Schwartz before he would return with the thriving reception of ‘Gossip Girl’ and later its revival, the Fox drama explores Ryan’s adjustment to his new affluent surroundings and the relationships he forms with characters like Seth Cohen, Marissa Cooper, and Summer Roberts.

With themes of family, identity, and social acceptance, the series parallels the more grounded conflicts in ‘Hierarchy,’ if not its criminal aspects. Both ‘The O.C.’ and ‘Hierarchy’ are set within a powerful and wealthy community and employ character-driven narratives, emotional depths, and exploration of the challenges faced by a social outcast who faces skepticism from the members of privileged societies.

3. Revenge of Others (2022-)

This Disney+ series revolves around Ok Chan-mi, a high school student seeking to unravel the truth behind her twin brother’s mysterious death, which was branded as a suicide. In her quest, she transfers to Yong-Tan High, her brother’s school, where she encounters Ji Soo-heon, a student with a hidden past of his own who agrees to lend Ok a hand in the dangerous web of secrets and lies. Written by Lee Hee-myung and directed by Kim Yoo-jin, the revenge story intrigues its viewers with its blend of mystery and youth drama, mirroring the web K-drama at Netflix. Both shows feature genius protagonists whose missions are driven by vengeance. Moreover, the themes of justice and the pursuit of ultimate truth are echoed in both ‘Revenge of Others’ and ‘Hierarchy.’

2. Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

Cecily von Ziegesar’s eponymous novel is brought to life in this legendary adaptation at The CW. The Blake Lively-starrer chronicles the lives of Manhattan’s elite teenagers, focusing on Serena van der Woodsen (Lively), Blair Waldorf, Chuck Bass, and Nate Archibald, and their romance, friendship, and rivalries with each other as well as with Brooklyn’s Dan Humphrey whom — long before infiltrating a similar elite in ‘You’ — Penn Badgley embodies. The story relies on the innumerable scandals the teenagers get involved in that are exposed by the titular blogger.

Created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the drama shuffles between wealth, betrayal, jealousy, and romantic relationships. The opulent settings, striking fashion, and dramatic plot twists in ‘Gossip Girl‘ are similar to the seductive atmosphere of ‘Hierarchy.’ Both shows explore the complex social dynamics and power struggles among privileged youth from the point of view of an outsider who remains resilient against the many verbal and physical tactics thrown against him.

1. Save Me (2017-2019)

This mystery teen drama is adapted from ‘Out of the World,’ a webtoon comic by Jo Geum-san, and follows Sang Mi, a young woman who becomes trapped in a religious cult after her family relocates to a rural town. Desperate to escape, Sang Mi finds allies in four rich young men who risk their lives to help her uncover the truth regarding the death of her twin brother, Sang-jin, and bring the cult to justice. Written for the screen by Jung Shin-kyoo and subsequently directed by Kim Sung-su, the K-drama is a tense thriller that sheds light on bullying, manipulation, faith, and resilience.

The dark and suspenseful narrative of ‘Save Me’ parallels ‘Hierarchy’s’ exploration of secrets and hidden agendas within a high-stakes environment. Both series feature protagonists who are determined to expose the truth despite the dangers they face. The near-indistinguishable revenge plotlines in the two shows are rooted in bullying and the social outcasting of a loved one. The similarly incorporated intense character dynamics and the psychological tension turn ‘Save Me’ into a gripping viewing experience with a range of distinct characters that prevent the whole affair from going stale.

Read More: Hierarchy End Credit Scene: Who Dies?