Don’t lie now—you know that the title of this drama special totally caught your attention. I originally went into this show expecting the absurd. And while I got that in spades, I also got a heaping dose of believable romance, found families, and an exciting thriller. Here are five reasons you should watch Naked Fireman the next time you have a spot open on your to-watch list:
1. The prickly, jaded heroine and innocent hero fall in love.
I love it when prickly ladies fall in love and are loved in return without having to completely wipe and rewrite their personalities. Jin-ah is blunt, clever, and utterly determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ murders. Even though she is still very traumatized over the whole thing (and is receiving treatment for it, and not shamed for needing it!), she throws herself headfirst into investigating based on the clue she recently remembered via therapy. And while she goes from distrusting Cheol-soo to being deeply in love with him in just four episodes, the incremental thawing of her heart and budding belief in his innocence is magnificent.
Cheol-soo, in the meantime, is a comedic slacker, who isn’t always quick on the uptake but nonetheless has a good heart and more courage than he probably should. Yes, he’ll trust his con artist and thief of a friend with basically everything up to in and including his life, and he’ll also put himself in embarrassing situations to help his father figure receive life-saving medical treatment. He’s the hero with a heart of gold who rises to the occasion and falls head-over-heels for the rich woman who is only supposed to be spending time with him to draw him shirtless.
2. It’s actually really funny.
Have I already mentioned the absurdity of this drama? Because it is hilarious. Too often I’m put off from kdrama comedy due to its slapstick nature or reliance on bodily functions, but Naked Fireman is at its most funny when the characters play everything straight and the audience has no choice but to laugh at the ridiculous situations they’re in. While the humor falls off sharply in the second half—a murderer on the loose will do that to a narrative—I lost count of how many times I literally LOL’d at my screen because of what was going on.
3. But it’s also a little terrifying.
Yeah, that murderer is more than a little terrifying once he gets going. The reveal of his identity is jarring, and it becomes very clear, very quickly, that he’s ready to murder both the hero and the heroine (and anyone else who was going to stop him from doing that) in order to get away with his crime from a decade ago. There was one chase sequence in particular that made me an anxious mess, and the final showdown is a high-stakes exercise in just how much more awful can it get for the good guys?
4. There are great side characters.
With just four episodes, there isn’t a whole lot of room to let the side characters breathe, but what space they do get, they take advantage of. Seong-jin and Song-ja are two of my favorites—morally gray art thieves in a noona romance, anyone?—but the housekeeper and the firehouse crew are also awesome in their own ways. It would have been easy to fill in Jin-ah and Cheol-soo’s lives with paper-thin placeholders, but there are some great, memorable characters on the edges who help flesh out the world.
5. These are some of the best found families I’ve seen in a while.
I’m a sucker for good surrogate parent-child relationship, especially when the parent gets to dispense tearful encouragement that the child needs in order to do very hard things (like be on the run from the law). Even better is a non-queer-baity bromance where one side is ready with a getaway car, burner phone, and tickets on a ship out of the country the instant they (wrongly!) believe the other half has been revealed to be a murderer. That kind of loyalty will always get to me, and I loved how the hero and the heroine both drew on the good people around them for help and support as they went face-to-face with evil.
So what are you waiting for? The next time you have a weekend free, you should give Naked Fireman a chance. It’s a good way to spend four hours.