99% Hard-Hitting Crime Show, 1% Romantic Fluff — Here’s Why You Should Or Should Not Watch “The First Responders 2”

Drama, suspense, mystery, they have it all. The only thing it lacks is…romance?

Crime and mystery K-Drama, The First Responders, is back for season two. Filled with suspense, drama, and just a hint of love, this K-Drama is not exactly a lighthearted, easy watch. But if you’re looking for an entertaining series that will keep you on the edge of your seat every weekend, The First Responders 2 might be the one for you. Read on to find out if you should begin investing your Friday and Saturday nights in this show!

Let’s meet our main characters first. We have the warmhearted, righteous firefighter, Bong Do Jin (played by Son Ho Jun). Nicknamed “Bulldozer,” he never fails to jump straight into any fire. His work motto is, “firefighters are the first one in, and the last one out.” He will never leave any victims, or team mates behind.

Next, we have his hoobae, Song Seol (played by Gong Seung Yeon). She’s a paramedic on the firefighting team. While she doesn’t deal directly with putting out fires, Song Seol is always on site, ready to administer emergency treatment to victims. In season one, due to her quick work, she saved the life of Jin Ho Gae, a policeman.

This brings us to our main character, Jin Ho Gae (played by Kim Rae Won). Nicknamed “jindo dog” after one of South Korea’s domestic breeds, the Jindo dog is known for its hunting abilities. Jin Ho Gae never lets up once he gets on any criminal’s tail. Thanks to his critical thinking and fast brain, he’s the crux to solving most of the crimes that go past the Taewon Police Station.

As this is the second season of the show, we have to visit this burning question — can we watch the second season without watching the first? The TLDR is, yes, you most definitely can!

In season one, viewers were left hanging, as a building exploded thanks to a combination of a raging fire and electricity leaks. Jin Ho Gae and Bong Do Jin had entered the building to put out the flames, as well as catch the arsonist suspect. We revisit this case in episode one of season two. Luckily, thanks to the plentiful flashback scenes peppered in the premiere episode, you’ll be able to catch up in no time.

Building in flames in the last episode of season one. | Disney+

In a bit of a time lapse, we are shown what happened prior to the fire. Jin Ho Gae had gone to visit an arrested serial arsonist for some insight into the current chain of arson cases. In order to get into the mind of the new serial arsonist, he had to seek advice from an arrested arsonist (cameo by Choi Won Young).

Choi Won Young as a serial arsonist. | Disney+

As with most crime and mystery shows, you will get a couple of cases covered in the season, with each case making up two to three episodes. While this format was easy enough to follow in season one, season two continues the underlying story of a political power struggle. This in itself can be off-putting and hard to keep up with.

Jin Ho Gae investigating a case. | Disney+

The backstory of Jin Ho Gae’s father that comes into play very slightly each episode. Jin Ho Gae’s father is a political prosecutor tied to influential politician, Ma Joong Do. Ma Joong Do suddenly dies, and his son, Ma Tae Hwa, is let out of prison to attend the funeral. As soon as Ma Tae Hwa is let out, the arsons begin. Are the two tied? Guess we’ll find out later.

The special effects and prosthetics in the show are what helps make it impressive. As he had to play a serial arsonist, half of Choi Won Young’s face was covered with prosthetics to make it look like a burn scar. Later on, we also get to see super realistic autopsy scenes, and some “corpses.” If you’re easily scared off by even the slightest bit of gore, you might want to skip ahead in such scenes.

Our trio having a heart-to-heart. | Disney+

Romance takes a backseat in The First Responders 2, so if you’re on the hunt for some fluff, you will have to look elsewhere. We’re introduced to some sparks in season one, with Song Seol hinting to Jin Ho Gae that she likes him. On the other hand, Bong Do Jin was just about to confess to Song Seol with a ring in hand, but stops short. We see the romantic dynamics between the three come into play from time to time in the premiere of season two, but rather than being playful and sweet, the air remains heavy and serious.

With each episode lasting over a full hour, it is definitely not your regular lunchtime watch. But, if you absolutely love suspense, plot twists, and action scenes, this is the K-Drama for you! We recommend watching season one if you want to get the full picture without missing any details, but season two is still enjoyable without a catch-up.

The First Responders 2 can be streamed on Disney+ internationally, with episodes out every Friday and Saturday night.