[[quoteright:203:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/IRIS_Poster_721.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:203:Don't be fooled by their looks. They can handle themselves.]]

''Iris'' (아이리스) is a [[UsefulNotes/SouthKorea South Korean]] SpyDrama, notable for being the highest-budget South Korean TV production to date when it made its debut on October 14, 2009 and has ratings American producers would kill for since it was a success in both South Korea and Japan when it was broadcasted on [=KBS2=] and TBS with a Japanese dub. There are plans to bring ''Iris'' to the west. So far, there is no news on whether it is a success or not aside from being released in the US via {{Hulu}}. Note: To avoid confusion, names are in western (given name first) order.

The plot revolves around two friends from the 707th Special Mission Battalion recruited into a secret South Korean black ops agency known as the National Security Service. Of the pair, recruit Hyun-jun Kim begins to uncover evidence that his MysteriousPast may not be so irrelevant to his joining of the secret organization after all. As the two friends find their loyalties tested and forge new, unlikely alliances, the journey takes them from their home country to Hungary, Japan, and China where they find themselves at the center of an international conspiracy when Hyun-jun finds out that an international terrorist group named IRIS has some big plans of their own regarding the planned unification of the North and South.

As Hyun-jun tries to stop the conspiracy, he finds out that some of his allies may not be his allies at all and some of his enemies may not be his real enemies.

A SpinOff, ''Series/AthenaGoddessOfWar'', is already in South Korean TV via SBS. A SequelSeries, ''Iris 2'' has already aired in South Korea. A movie version of ''Iris'' was released in 2010. It was shown in the 34th Hong Kong International Film Festival, the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore so far. When the movie was marked and distributed, the movie was called ''Iris: The Last''. A TV special was aired as well, showing off some of the locations used in filming the TV series and interviews with the main cast. Unlike their peers doing the ''Athena'' series, this was not done due to [[TemporarySubstitute some of the actor's availability.]]

The series won numerous awards, including the 2009 KBS Drama Awards, the 46th [=PaekSang=] Arts Awards and the 2010 International Drama Festival. Byung-Hun himself won an award from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for the show's promotion of Akita as it took place in the ''Iris'' series. Byung-Hun also appeared in the 2009 Cannes Film Festival to promote the show during a break. The main cast had also attended training sessions in preparation for the show's combat scenes in handling weapons and unarmed combat as well.

The ''Iris'' original soundtrack was released as a 16-track album on November 13, 2009, with music composed by Yi Dong-jun and Choe Seong-gwon. The soundtrack contained a number of the vocal themes used in the series, including those by Baek Ji-young, Shin Seung-hun, and Big Bang.

!!This show provides examples of:
* ActionGirl: Seon-Hwa Kim of the Korean People's Army. Specifically the Guard Division from her stint in bodyguarding political leaders. Choi Seung-hee as well.
* AllAccordingToPlan: Hyun-Jun from the day he was on the run [[spoiler: after agreeing to help the North Korean commandos attack NSS HQ. That way, he was eventually able to apprehend Baek San with help from Seung-Hee.]]
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: NSS' covert base being attacked by North Korean commandos in Seoul.
* ArcWords: for the first half of the series, "Iris" itself.
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: The Japanese dub uses [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE_4RtpVVaw "Tell Me Goodbye"]] by Big Bang as its theme song.
* ATeamFiring
* AntiHero: Hyun-Jun after being on the run.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Hyun-Jun]].
* {{Badass}}: As this is a spy series, practically everyone.
* BashBrothers: Hyun-Jun and Sa-Woo.
* BilingualDialogue: Korean and Japanese. Some Korean and English with Korean and Hungarian for Kim Seung-Woo.
* BlackAndGrayMorality
* BondVillainStupidity: Averted. Once the North Koreans stop trusting Hyun Jun, they exclude him from the planning process.
* BottomlessMagazines: Not seen a lot.
* CatFight: Seon-Hwa and Seung-Hee in Episode 7, except it was a legit fight and not played for fanservice.
* TheCavalryArrivesLate
* ChekhovsSkill: Hyun Jun's perfect recall.
* ClarkKenting: Seung-Hee prior to Hyun-Jun and Sa-Woo's recruitment.
* CloakAndDagger: This is a SpyDrama based on counterintelligence agencies between two countries.
* ColdBloodedTorture: As an entrance exam!
* ColdSniper: Hyun-Jun during his NSS stint. Vick as part of IRIS.
* ConspicuouslyPublicAssassination: In the first episode, no less.
* CoupDeGrace: NSS guards being executed after NSS HQ was raided.
* [[spoiler:CruelTwistEnding]]: [[spoiler:[[McLeaned Because Lee Byung-Hun wouldn't be returning for the sequel]], the writers decided to [[DroppedABridgeOnHim Drop a Bridge on Hyun-Jun]], within the last ''five minutes of the series'', no less.]]
* CulturedWarrior: Hyun-Jun after being ordered to study in university from his assignment at the 707th Special Mission Battalion.
* CyanidePill: Featured in an early episode. It's actually a fake pill, which allows the suicidee to make an escape in the ambulance.
* DeathFakedForYou
* DeathIsASadThing: Pretty obvious.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: For the North and South Korean agents.
* [[spoiler:DiabolusExMachina]]: [[spoiler:After everything is over and he's left the NSS, Hyun-Jun gets shot to death in his car on his way to propose to his girlfriend by an unknown assailant whose identity is never revealed within the show. This happens within the final ''five minutes'' of the ''twenty-episode'' drama, and the last scene is of Seung-Hee coming up to his car, unaware of what she is about to find inside. [[McLeaned This is likely because Hyun-Jun's actor would not be returning for the sequel.]]]]
* DieHardOnAnX: Episode ten for Seung-hee.
* DirtyCommunists: With the attempted Seoul bombing by North Korean commandos.
* DoubleAgent: Some here. A majority of them belonged to IRIS.
* [[spoiler:DownerEnding]]: [[spoiler:At the end, both Hyun-Jun and Seung-Hee retire from NSS. However, Hyun-Jun is assassinated in his car and dies as he lays his head on the steering wheel. The culprit is not identified but if you watch the movie version, you'll see that Seon-Hwa was the assassin responsible for killing Hyun-Jun. Averted in Iris 2, which is canon, since the assassin is a hitman from Iris.]]
* [[spoiler:DroppedABridgeOnHim]]: See [[spoiler:DiabolusExMachina]] above.
* EliteMooks: The North Korean commandos when they stormed NSS HQ.
* FacelessGoons: Averted.
* FakeNationality: After a fashion: the [[UsefulNotes/NorthKorea North Korean]] characters are all played by South Koreans, unsurprisingly. According to actor Kim Seung-woo, he had assistance from an ex-North Korean military officer who taught him how to act like an actual North Korean officer.
* {{Fanservice}}: Byung-Hun in the first few episodes. Tae-Hee during her Japan scenes.
* FingerTwitchingRevival:
* FlashedBadgeHijack: Or, at least, flashed gun...
* FriendToAllChildren: Hyun-Jun plays with a little girl in Hungary, and is befriended by preteen Yuki in Japan. [[spoiler: It doesn't end particularly well for either of them.]]
* GoodGunsBadGuns: Done here. But for [[spoiler:the anti-IRIS faction, they used Western-made weapons as well.]] Hyun-Jun secures an AKMS while Seon-Hwa uses a Makarov in the shootout in downtown Seoul.
* GondorCallsForAid: Averted.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: The National Security Service.
* GovernmentConspiracy: A North Korean military officer [[spoiler: orders a commando unit to use a nuclear weapon on Seoul, being that he's with IRIS.]]
* GratuitousEnglish: Averted. Byung-Hun learned English from his time in university. Though the matter with Kim Tae-hee...
* {{Handguns}}: North Koreans naturally use Eastern-bloc pistols such as CZ-75s and Makarov pistols, and the infamous Desert Eagle is used by a few antagonists. However, by far the most common handgun is the Glock, with everyone from NSS operatives and security, to the IRIS group members and the Blue House secret service. It's almost as if Hyun-Jun carries an HK USP to avoid having a generic gun.
* HappilyEverAfter: Totally averted.
* HatesEveryoneEqually: Hyun-Jun hates IRIS, Sa-Woo and Baek San equally.
* HeelFaceTurn: Seon-Hwa after being captured by Hyun-Jun. She decides to help him stop the IRIS conspiracy.
* HeroAntagonist: Hyun-Jun (If you like) and perhaps Sa-Woo.
* HeroicResolve: Hyun-Jun to save Seoul from a nuclear attack. So's everyone in NSS who aren't with IRIS.
* HowWeGotHere: Episode four explains the cliffhanger cutaway that begins episode one.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: When Baek San confessed that he [[spoiler: assassinated Hyun-Jun's parents due to Western pressure to dismantle South Korea's covert nuclear program.]]
* InnocentBystander: A few are killed in the shootout between Hyun-Jun/Seon-Hwa against the commandos.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Not always.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: specifically does not work on Seung Hee.
* LoveAtFirstSight: Seung-hee lampshades this with regards to Hyun-Jun, not that it takes her much longer.
* MarketBasedTitle: The IRIS movie known as "IRIS: The Last" for Japan.
* MissingMom: Hyun-Jun's mom before he learned [[spoiler:she was covertly assassinated.]]
* MissionControl: No need to explain.
* TheMole: IRIS agents. One of whom is [[spoiler: the President's secretary.]]
* MrFanservice:
** Byung-Hun himself. When he was in Japan, several Japanese actresses [[http://10.asiae.co.kr/Articles/new_view.htm?sec=ent0&a_id=2010042208565678532 paid a visit to him when he was a guest in Akko ni Omakase!]]
** Pretty much the only reason [[BigBang T.O.P]]'s character even existed in the first place was to draw in a bigger [[EstrogenBrigade female following]].
* NeckSnap: Happens to [[spoiler: Mi Jung.]]
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Seung-hee has a surprisingly brutal fight against a North Korean commando in episode 10.
* NonActionGuy: The personnel in the Situation Room. [[spoiler: Even if one of them had a hidden gun, he wasn't able to use it.]]
* NotSoDifferent: Hyun Jun and Sa Woo. [[spoiler: The former admits that he would have followed the order to kill his best friend, too.]]
* OhCrap: A North Korean commando when he saw grenades on a car seat during the shootout when one of them was shot by Hyun-Jun with one of the grenades on a car window.
* OneManArmy: Hyun-Jun. Also Sa-Woo.
* OrbitalShot
* PlayingPossum: During the raid on the NSS building, TheMedic escapes capture by pretending to be a corpse on the operating table. [[spoiler: If only he hadn't sneezed...]]
* ProductPlacement: At least the Hyundais/Kias used by NSS. Their logos are covered if an episode airs with their appearances.
* QuicklyDemotedWoman: Sun-Hwa. She starts out as TheDragon to Chul Young, but is soon relegated to Hyun Jun's sidekick.
* RaceAgainstTheClock: A nuclear device in downtown Seoul has to be found and disarmed.
* RedShirtArmy: The NSS guards after the HQ building is attacked.
* RealityEnsues: People running away from the streets in the shootout.
* RevengeBeforeReason: After Hyun-Jun's Hungary assignment.
* ShownTheirWork: The IRIS cast knowing how to handle their weapons as they had firearms training prior to filming the series.
** Big aversion on US navy sailors wearing the [=ABU=], which isn't correct.
* SniperRifle: Sun-Hwa uses a scope-mounted [=G3A3=] during her Hungary assignment. Hyun-Jun with a [=PSG-1=] during his time in Japan.
* SmallGirlBigGun: Sun-Hwa's introduction, packing said sniper rifle.
* StartOfDarkness: Sa-Woo.
* SWATTeam: The [=NSS=] Tactical Team.
* TheDragon: Sun-Hwa to Park Chul-young. Sa-Woo to [[spoiler: Baek San]].
* ThisIsUnforgivable: See YouKilledMyFather.
* TriangRelations: Type 3, with Seung-hee Choi as the Alice, and Hyun-jun Kim and Sa-woo Jin as Bob and Charlie. Hyun-jun and Sa-woo are unaware of this.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Done here.
* TwoGuysAndAGirl: Sa-Woo, Hyun-Jun and Seung-Hee.
* WarForFunAndProfit: Iris planned several terror attacks against Seoul in the hope of starting another Korean War so that they can profit from the fighting between North and South Korea.
* WouldNotHitAGirl: Averted. Hyun-Jun and Seon-Hwa killed a female North Korean commando in the shootout.
* WouldNotShootACivilian: Majorly averted in the Seoul shootout.
* YouKilledMyFather: After Hyun-Jun finds out that [[spoiler: Baek San]] did it.