Thrilling fights, dangerous gangs, Triads, and superly proactive investigations force and one mission- to win and ascertain dominance. In the genre of drama with gangster groups, mafia clubs, and societies, they have been known to keep the audience hooked from the very first episode till the very last. The adrenaline rush that a person gets when we are between some of the most well-crafted action scenes and fights and the power dynamics.
These dramas aren’t only a mixture of action and fights but are also filled with romantic storylines, loss and emotions, heartwrenching twists, power dynamics, politics, and building new strategies. On the other side, we get the perspective of the legal authorities who are devising plans and gathering up the courage to come face to face with these excellent planning and strategies.
The Chinese shows are known for the highlighted development of their characters, like the unloving characters becoming more open-hearted, unlikable characters putting in genuine efforts, heartless characters doing something that melts the hearts of audiences right away, or sensitive characters becoming stronger.
They serve all the plethora of emotions and plotlines with their shows, and they surely don’t disappoint their viewers with their gangsters-oriented shows. Chinese cinematic industry has been known for its experimentalist and for trying out complex storylines and directions. Triads are secret organizations or groups that mostly involved in illicit activities and organized crimes and are mostly originated in China.
Indeed, they did not take a back foot when it came to dramas and movies with gangsters and mafia groups. So here we have 26 shows that have Gangster groups and Triads in them that will surely take you on an enticing rollercoaster ride.
26 Chinese Dramas With Gangsters And Triads- Best Recommendations
Chinese dramas know how to incite thrill and excitement in their shows through their directory, which keeps the viewer wishing for more of the genre. For a series to be a great hit, it should be able to keep up with the interests of the viewers and have a touch of realism along with the elements of functionality.
Nowadays, people find dramas based on more realistic storylines and not make-believe plots more interesting to watch, and here we have a list of 26 Chinese drama that is filled with gangsters, mafia, triads, and much more!
1. The Thunder
This show was first released in 2019 with 48 episodes on the Chinese online streaming platform iQiyi. The drama follows the story of two drug traffickers, Liu Haoyu and Lin Youdong, who join in their hands to establish an underground drug facility in the Chinese province of Guangdong.
They are almost successful in their pursuits before they are caught by an anti-drug police officer named Li Fei, who sets out on a mission to raid them and bring the truth to the front of the world. Since they are supported by some of the people in power and authority, this poses a challenge for Fei to expose them.
The show is directed by Fu Dongyu and Liu Zhangmu and produced by Dai Ying and Liu Yanjun. The show stars Huang Jingyu, Wang Jinsong, Wu Gang, and Simon Yam in the leading roles. The show is based on real events of the raid by Chinese authorities in the village of Boshe, and the show has been inspired by the same.
2. The City of Chaos
A gangster and a war prisoner are the cause of worry for the police officers as they set out to bring in their evil agendas as they become prominent personalities in the world of international drug trafficking. They have induced not only fear but also their authority and power among the people, and to eradicate this fear, a special team is formed.
They are behind the people behind the scandal that has been taking place as they navigate through the mystery and draw their suspicions over various people. The gangster makes it even harder to catch him, with him having multiple identities. The show is directed by Liu Shu Qiao and stars Li Guang Jie, Yuan Wen Kang, Clara Lee, Gao Zhi Ting, and Zhao Yang in the leading roles. The show was first released in 2018.
The show can also be streamed on the iQiyi web-streaming platform.
3. The Drug Hunter
This show was released in 2018 on Dragon TV and iQiyi. The show, in its native language, is also known as Lie Du Ren. It follows the story of a man Lu Yun Peng, an engineer by profession, who lost his brother, a cop by profession who was killed by the gang as he was working on the case and later on took his nephew as a part of the gang as well.
Blazing in the fumes of revenge, he decides to infiltrate one of the dangerous gangs Golden Triangle which has been accused of some of the largest crimes in the country. Peng sets out on a mission to bring down the whole gang on his own while his friends and colleagues try to talk some sense into him. He manages to get a direct inside of the gang with the help of a man named Yin Ta, another drug trafficker.
The show stars Yu He Wei, Andy Zhang, Hou Meng Sha, Fu Cheng Peng, and Xu Zheng and has 50 episodes.
4. Cambrian Period
This show is filled with mafia gangs, romance, thrills, mystery, and, most importantly, great action scenes. The story follows a sweet naive girl Tang Ying, who, after giving up her acting career that was drowning, decides to go and rejuvenate on a disputed island Nanzhan Bu Island.
The island is at the primary attention of some of the most dangerous mafia gangs and groups, as they are attracted to the island’s visa-free policy and tax-free policy. Ying finds herself becoming a part of a secret war that has been taking place between the gangs and the police, and in the course of that, she becomes an integral part of this.
She juggles between the two sides of the war, one being with the leader of the gang Jian Ji and a police commissioner Li Yong Ji. She finds herself struggling to maintain her balance between the two sides as she tries to understand what she wants. The show was released in 2017 on the network Youku, and the show stars Neo Hou, Zhou Yu Tong, Mike He, and Chin Han. This show, with all the twists and turns, is a must-watch.
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5. Under Cover
If you’re looking for more shows like The Drug Hunter, with similar plot lines and yet unique in their way, then this show is for you. Just like the show mentioned, it also involves the story of a police officer Bao Yu, who is set on a mission to infiltrate and expose a drug smuggling group under the leadership of drug lord Tian Jing.
He enters the group by befriending the drug lord’s daughter, Tang Guo, through his charms and starts working in the group as an undercover agent and drug dealer. In the course of the show, it deals with a range of emotions, peak points, and turning moments that keep a person hooked.
The show was released in 2017 with a total of 43 episodes. The show stars Zhang Jia Ji, Lin Yu Shen, Lui Yi Jun, and Li Qin in the leading roles.
6. Being a Hero
This Show, released in 2022, is the story of a man’s unfortunate cause and vengeance. The story begins with the killing of Wu Gang by a vicious drug trafficking group, ‘K.’ Shaken and filled with rage, his son, Wu Zhen Feng, takes an oath to avenge his father’s death by destroying the whole gang.
As three years pass, he is successful in devising a plan and gets an entry. As he sets out to work, he blows the identities of the undercover police agent working a secret mission, which leads to the demotion of the police officer, Chen Yu, from the narcotics. With a turn of events and situations, both of them formulate a friendship between themselves.
Three years after that, Yu is back working in the narcotics department and discovers his best friend, known by the name of “Brother Feng,” is currently under suspicion of conducting a murder. The story follows with Cheng trying t investigate the reality of his friend as he struggles to prove his innocence.
7. Triad Princess
This story is based on a female perspective who is bored and tired of the life she leads as the daughter of a mafia boss. She is exhausted with being cared for, tended to, and always protected in the shadows of her father, with next to no identity of her own.
She manages to run from the clutches of her father to lead an open and independent life on her terms and conditions. She becomes a personal bodyguard for one of the leading actors, and in the course of this, Angie must understand what she desires in life and what she wants. The show is available on Netflix with a total of six episodes.
8. Cruel Romance
This show is an adaptation of the novel The Fate of Jinxiu and was received positively by the audience after its initial release in 2015 and became extremely popular. The show is directed by Lin He Long.
The story follows the plot of a country girl, Jin Xiu, who is stricken with grief and confusion as she begins her journey to figure out why her family was killed by the Japanese people. On her trip to unravel the mystery, she meets a handsome man, who turns out to be the Triad leader, Zuo Zhen.
In a series of misunderstandings, unwanted exchanges of items, and complications, they both cross each other’s path again and again, falling in love with each other in the process.
The drama, on the one side, is filled with tough turns and harsh realities and, on the other hand, is filled with romantic moments and emotional gestures. He swears to protect her and eventually protects her from the Japanese, who are on a mission to kill her.
The show is also known by its other name Ai Shang Ge Men, and it is directed by Chen Rong Hui. The show was aired in the years 2015-2016. The Show is a Chinese-Taiwanese show and is available in many other languages like Spanish, English, and French as well.
Pi Ya Nuo is a girl who lives her life by cross-dressing as a male all her life. She lives a simple and generic life until one day, in the turn of events, she saves the life of an underground mob boss, Du Zi Feng, and his sister. The events take a peculiar turn when Feng’s sister falls in love with Nuo unknowingly of her gender identity and believes him to be a man.
She formulates a strong friendship with Feng and admires him hopelessly until her 26th birthday approaches, wherein she has a chance to start living as a woman. She finds herself in a complicated dilemma of whether she should sacrifice her gender identity or friendship.
10. The Masked Lover
Well, sometimes you don’t have to be a part of a mob, to be a leader of a mob, just like in the case of Ping Fan. After the accident of his sister, the kind and soft-hearted Fan has to put on a new identity mask of a “Mob Boss,” which is opposite to his character and personality.
In doing so, he is faced with enemies and especially his sisters’ rival nemesis, Rong fu Xiong who will do anything to see his sister dead at any cost. He soon meets a man who is capable enough to guard his sister, Gu Le Jung, who, in reality, is an undercover cop to expose his sister.
The show doesn’t carry as seriously as other shows do, and rather this show is more on a comical tangent, making it refreshing for the viewers.
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11. Lady and Liar
This 2015 show is set in 1930s China, which makes it a perfect watch for someone who loves to watch based on historical themes and elements. The show is directed by Zhou Xiao Peng and Chung Shu Kai and stars Tiffany Tang, Sheng Jie Weng, Du Xiao Han, and Jiang Xin in the leading roles.
Jiang Xin is an heiress to a well-known family who, while on the journey to search for her family, ends up losing her memory just before her return. She was previously missing for many years and seeing this opportunity, a thief, Du Xiao Han, steals her identity and pretends to be Xin, and lives her life.
Xin lands herself into more trouble when she falls into the trap of a mafia boss, who hides her identity from her for the advantage of keeping her with him. On the other side, Xin’s lover is hopelessly searching for her.
12. HIStory 3: Trapped
This 2019 year’s show is a complete package of emotions and how love can be complicated in various spectrums. The story follows a police cop, Meng Shao Fei, known for his honesty and valor, on a personal mission to avenge the death of his mentor, who was killed in a face-off with a gangster four years ago.
The story also takes us on the plot of another person, who is the dead gangster’s protege and is currently in charge of the underground world. Tang Yi is a ruthless gangster with a stone heart as he deals with his day-to-day life.
Fei’s obsession with killing Tang Yi lands him in a situation where both are stranded on a cold mountain, and to survive, they both need to work together and help each other. In the process, Fei starts developing feelings for Yi, and this results in more complicated situations.
The show can be watched on Viki Rakuten.
13. Infernal Affairs
This 2016 show was originally made in Hong Kong and then remade into Chinese and Korean versions due to its popularity. The show stars Him Law, Wang Yang, and Zhu Rui in the lead roles, and the show can be streamed on Netflix as well.
The plot takes the story of a Chinese police officer, Jiang Zi Dan, who is in Hong Kong as he successfully manages to wiggle inside a Triad that is known for its illegal activities. As Dan infiltrates the group, posing as a triad member himself discovers the truths and realities of the triad, which he passes on to the police.
On the other side, the story takes an ironic twist with the same triad sending in their member, Wei Jun Xuan as a police officer to source out information about the departments and their actions. It is only a matter of time and luck before either one of their identities is exposed. The show offers a thrilling backdrop to the viewer with the most complex storyline.
14. Infernal Affairs 2
This story is the sequel to the Chinese remake of the Hong Kong show. The show picks up from where it left off in the first part, as a rebel policeman displays the shadowy elements of the working of the Hong Kong police administration as he is on his mission persistently and reports to the expectations without fail.
He also uncovers a traitorous police cop who is working for the Triad in the course of the show, which makes the major portion of the action and suspense in the show. The popularity of its prequel was followed by the popularity of its second part as well.
15. Infernal Affairs 3
This is the last installment of the Infernal Affairs drama series, which is mostly comprised of the element of surprise and fear, looping around constantly as the show depicts the hardships of being a mole working in dangerous situations.
The show was aired in 2017 alongside the second installment, and Wang Yang and Him Law reprised their roles of Wei Jun Xuan and Jiang Di Dan. The show comprises a total of 12 episodes, and it is indeed a great close to the Infernal Affairs drama series.
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16. Black and White
This 2009 show is set very aptly to its titles as it portrays the story of two cops, Pi Zi and Ying Xiong, who are displayed with contrasting personality types, just like the colors white and black. One is an enthusiast of working on the cases and cracking them, and the other one loves to relax, enjoy his cup of coffee and lead a stressless life.
But soon, they are brought up with a case when a local triad members kill a few people in an aggressive fit that leads them into trouble. The triad members pose a threat as they are supported and are on a friendly term with the nation’s president making them hard to retain.
Both the contrasting characters must work together to bring out justice and balance to the system. The show has a total of 24 episodes that can be watched on Viki and Netflix.
17. Highs and Lows
Heung Wing is an honest and compliant police officer working in the Narcotics Bureau Operations Unit who condemns crime and evil. While working on a case, Sai Lok, another senior inspector, suspicions grow over his colleague, who he thinks is working on a powerful drug and pretending to be an honest cop, where else he is corrupt in reality.
The brotherly bond between Wing and Lok becomes strained due to the latter’s accusations. During this time, he falls in love with a snitch- Chan Ka Pik, who suffers from an inferiority complex.
She keeps on denying her feelings for Lok and ultimately finds herself standing on the edge of the cliff by working for a drug dealer and finding an identity for her there. Lok, along with his former best friend Wing, has to tussle between his heart and duty as they both set out to stop and capture Ka Pik.
18. New Shanghai Bund
The show was aired in 2007 and had a total of 42 episodes that follow the story of complications that a man named Hsu faces when he hopelessly falls in love with a Triad leader’s daughter Feng. With the help of her father, Hsu and his best pal Ding Li manage to become two of the most powerful men, with influence and authority in the Triad group named Shanghai Bund.
Everything seems to be sailing smoothly till Hsu discovers his father-in-law’s evil intentions of seeking the help of the Japanese to invade China. Out of his patriotism for his country, he rebels against the Bund to expose their intentions which lands him in a run for his life, leaving his ladylove behind.
But upon knowing that Feng is getting married to his best friend, he returns to Shanghai with a dual plan to first win the heart of her love back and also seek revenge on her father.
19. Lives of Omission
This 30-episode show, which was aired in 2011, is led by the character of Laughin, who, after years of working in the gruesome undercover condition, manages to find his escape and bust an illegal weaponry organization. Finally, back in Hong Kong, he comes back to his normal life.
But the life of normalcy and following a strict police routine turns out to be troublesome for him, and to get his work done more easily and efficiently, he privately hires a gangster, Michael, to work for him. Michael sources out the underworld information for him, which he uses effectively in his work.
But soon, the healthy working condition deploys when Michael decides to work on his own, and go on being a Triad leader, forcing Laughing to once again gear up and take the role of an undercover agent.
20. Shaung Mian Jion Fu
This show has both the elements of accidental fate and comedy all fused together in this 2002 series. Zou Kai, an ordinary man, finds himself in a confusing place when he is found by an underworld gang that forces him to take the place of their leader Lu Guo Hao, who is in a coma.
Guo Hao and Kai both share exactly the same facial features making him the best replacement for their leader till he recovers. Hao, who is a well-sought-after gangster, was injured in an assassination attempt and is in a coma to avoid any gang activity against them; his followers decide to conceal this secret using Kai as a replacement.
The show is filled with comical elements alongside serious undertones that make it a refreshing watch from the 00s.
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21. Le Jun Kai
This short series is the tragic story of Le Jun Kai, who is out seeking revenge against his enemy, who was the reason behind the death of his former partner and unborn child.
In the blaze of seeking revenge from his enemy readily marries his daughter Le Yi and treats her in the most inappropriate way, and makes her life miserable. She accepts all the treatment she gets from the other side without any retaliation. Soon as time passes, Kai realizes his growing feelings for Yi.
The show has a total of nine episodes, and it is directed by Mu Xiao Jie. The show stars Peter Ho and Janine Chang in the lead roles.
22. The Big Bug
Hooligan Li Jin Shui digs his own grave when he pretends to become the become of a mafia boss and acquires the identity of Jin Ji Ji. Upon the untimely demise of the mafia boss, the whole gang is startled by who will be the next boss.
What Shui doesn’t know is that Ji Ji’s older brother Jin Ji Zai is after the inheritance of their father and wishes to ascertain complete dominance. In the pursuit of the same, he is ready to remove any hurdle that comes his way, one of them being Shui, who is currently posing as the younger brother of Zai.
On the other side, he finds himself stuck as another clan named Dong Shun Clan is all ready to take over their family business and make the inheritance their own.
23. Day Breaker
Luo Xiang, who is supposedly dead to the world, is living his life under a new alias. Five years ago, he faked his death while working on an undercover mission and decided to continue living with his new identity.
But life has different plans for him when he returns once again in the flesh and blood of his past self to infiltrate an underground drug cartel that has been causing troubles now. This was the same mission that he once left in between, and now he called to be back on it again.
This mission not only brings him dangers in the underground world but also reunites him with people that he loved once while he was working earlier.
24. The Election
This show was aired in 2014-15, with a total of 15 episodes. The show stars Liu Kai Chi, Angelica Lee, Gregory Wong, and Savio Tsang in the lead roles of the show.
This show is based mostly on the political triads and their prominent influence on democracy and political structures. Yip Ching, who is standing for the Chief Executive elections, has to go through a series of hurdles preventing her from gaining what she desires.
Two clans are behind each other, as they involve in illegal activities, and at the same time, she struggles to maintain harmony in her team as well.
25. No Regrets
In Guangzhou state, it is filled with terrors at the gangsters in an active positive, destroying everything that comes their way. The show is set in the 1930s when the trading of opium became one of the most prominent profitable activities in the town.
An Antu-Smoking Bureau is formed to stop their actions, but that also fails when they are taken under the influence of Cheng Long-Kwan, the leader of the gang. Lau Sing, an officer in the Criminal Investigation Team known for his hardworking nature, is all set to expose the racket, and at the same time, Canton falls into the hands of the Japanese after them invading China.
The show has a total of 32 episodes which was aired in 2010.
26. No Reserve
If you enjoyed the historical themes of No Regrets, then you will enjoy the sequel of this show. No Reserve is originally the third installment of the series, making ‘No Regrets’ the second part.
The show was released in 2016 and is set in Canton, China. The area is currently plagued with the dominant Japanese influence, which sets the premise of the show. This show is set during the Japanese- Sino War, during which the Chinese spies find a way to infiltrate through their system.
They are all ready to bring down the Japanese triads, who have become a reason for constant worry. The show stars Wayne Lai, Myolie Wu, Edwin Siu, and Sire Ma in the lead roles. This show is definitely worth watching with its enthralling storyline and dialogue formation.