It’s only four episodes long but Naked Fireman is a decently written mystery that deserves four hours of your time.
When ex-convict Oh Sung-Jin informs his childhood friend, Kang Cheol-Soo, that he could make a tremendous amount of money posing nude for a young female artist, Cheol-Soo quickly turns him down. Although the promise of a lot of money is tempting, he could loose his job as a fireman if anyone finds out a civil servant is involved in such a thing. But when his boss, who is like a father figure to him, gets ill and needs an operation he is unable to pay for, Cheol-Soo re-thinks the offer and applies for the modeling job. Little does he know it’s all a set up that will put his life, and that of the person he comes to care for, in great danger.
As a teenager Kang Cheol-Soo watched as a fireman rescued a young girl from a burning building. He decided right then and there he would be a fireman because he thought they were “cool.” He’s passionate about his job but struggles with trying to stay calm when dealing with difficult people. He’s been best friends with Oh Sung-Jin since they were kids, never turning his back on the man even when Sung-Jin went to jail.
When Han Jin-Ah was 13 years old her parents were brutally murdered and their house set on fire to cover up the grizzly deed. But the killer wasn’t aware that Jin-Ah was hiding in her closet at the time and actually witnessed what went on. For the past ten years she has worked with Officer Kwon Jeong-Nam in trying to track down the killer. She remembers seeing a young man with a scar on his back fleeing her home the night before the murders and she’s been looking for him ever since. In order to find the murder suspect, she offers money to men who have scars on their backs to pose for her – easy work, model with their shirt off while she paints their picture.
At this point in my review I usually tell you a little something about the actors and actresses who play the main characters but, unfortunately, I couldn’t find out anything personal about either Lee Joon-Hyuk, who plays the part of Kang Cheol-Soo, or Jung In-Seon who has the role of Han Jin-Ah. I didn’t recognize either one of them so I looked to see what kind of things they’ve done. Both have been in several films and on TV. Lee Joon-Hyuk has been in three dramas I’ve watched – City Hunter, Secret Garden, and The City Hall but, other than Naked Fireman I haven’t seen anything Jung In-Seon has done. Sorry I can’t tell you any more than that.
It took me the whole first episode before I was into the show. With it being so short we don’t get shown a lot of background on the characters and it took me a while to warm up to them. They seemed a bit hollow at first but the more the story progressed, the more I liked Kan Cheol-Soo and Han Jin-Ah. Because of the shortage of time, their relationship grew a little too quickly, in my opinion, but that’s better than not having a relationship at all. The mystery and suspense builds gradually, reaching its peek a little more than halfway through the show. I would like to have seen this drama stretched. I think adding details about the characters lives, past and present, would have been wonderful, and dragging out the suspense a little longer wouldn’t have been a bad idea, either.
The storyline calls for lots of remembering. As characters begin to recall the past we’re allowed to see things which not only fill gaps in their memories but help us figure out what happened ten years earlier, as well.
I’m not going to tell you who the bad guy is but he plays his psycho murderer part very convincingly.
I just want to put your mind at ease and let you know there are no naked firemen in this show. There’s no naked anyone. It’s just a captivating title having to do with the fact that a fireman poses for a painting, once, with his shirt off. Cheon-Soo is under the misguided impression he has to be totally nude for the modeling sessions but when he begins to take off his pants Jin-Ah quickly informs him he need only remove his shirt.
As for the music, Ki Ryun sings Now Give Me a Smile. His voice is absolutely gorgeous and has amazing power. It’s a beautiful, stirring song. Unfortunately, that’s the only song I can remember. There’s also instrumental music that helps to heighten the tension the mystery provides.
The scenes that show buildings on fire are pretty cool. I have no idea if it was done with CGI or if things were under a controlled burn but it was very unsettling.
The plot is good and the mystery kept me guessing for a while. Although the beginning of the show may not be all that riveting, the middle and end are. Give it a try. Just imagine – you go back to work on Monday and when someone asks what you did over the weekend you say in a loud, clear voice, “I really enjoyed watching Naked Fireman.”