Is K-drama The First Responders worth watching? Absolutely, and here’s why

Kim Rae Won and Son Ho Jun are two of the three excellent main leads in The First Responders

First scenes of The First Responders Episode 1 start off high-energy and just keep on going (Spoilers)

Now I am not usually one for procedural dramas.

Especially as most of them use “science” that doesn’t quite exist yet, while solving a crime in just a few hours with the criminal brought to justice, and every loose end neatly wrapped up.

Sure, the writing is tight, but the implausability of most of it just drives me insane.

Plus, most procedural dramas are fast-paced, (they have to be to fit the entire story in an hour slot) and high-energy.

Two things which, when you combine them with the stress of watching people be kidnapped, assaulted, raped or murdered, tend to do nothing but increase my blood pressure. Honestly, they do.

And yes, all of that is the case with the new Korean drama The First Responders. A procedural drama starring Kim Rae Won, Son Ho Jun, and Gong Seung Yeon, and one that starts off high-energy right from the get-go, and just keeps going and going and going.

So why do I plan on continuing to watch this drama?


Gong Seung Yeon plays paramedic Song Seol in The First Responders

What is The First Responders?

The now-airing Korean drama follows a police detective (played by Kim Rae Won), a firefighter (Son Ho Jun) and a paramedic (Gong Seung Yeon), as they work together in a joint response field team to catch criminals and deal with emergencies and disasters.

All three characters have strong personalities, even stronger opinions, and are perfectly happy to scream at the other one if they don’t feel they are doing their jobs correctly.

What this does right from the beginning is set up The First Responders to be a drama featuring excellent chemistry between all of its leads, as you don’t need to like or be in love with someone to have chemistry, right?

Especially as all three leads are interesting to watch — detective Jin Ho Gae, who is such a hothead he punches first and asks questions later, paramedic Song Seol who, while caring deeply about the people she treats will also berate her colleagues mercilessly if she feels they are doing their jobs poorly, and Bong Do Jin, a firefighter who, at the moment at least, follows the rules but is also swayed by Jin Ho Gae and his outlandish ideas.

Why is The First Responders Episode 1 so good? (spoilers)

As fast-paced TV dramas go, this is one that doesn’t let up from the opening scenes where detective Jin Ho Gae is standing before a disciplinary committee after he has punched a suspect, and that punch was plain to see via video evidence, to the ending where the crime has been solved and the three leads suddenly find themselves living in much closer proximity than they expected.

Even the crime itself happens within minutes of the opening scenes, and happens so quickly, you have barely had time to notice it before the victim is being dragged off.

This then sets the episode up for one exciting, fast-paced, nail-biting scene after another, including racing emergency vehicle scenes and one with a cool motorbike rider, violent fight scenes, lots of screaming at fellow officials, a victim who doesn’t act as big of a victim as many of us probably would, a fire, an ingenious way to get into the crime scene, and a villain who is certifiably insane.

Plus, some detective work to try to figure out where the criminal is and how to catch him, while saving the victim at the same time.


Son Ho Jun plays firefighter Bong Do Jin

So much goes on in the first hour and few minutes of episode one, I found myself hitting Pause at one point just to catch my breath.

No, you will not get bored during an episode of The First Responders if the drama continues at this pace, as you will be too busy making your brain work overtime just so you can keep up.

Throw in each main actor and all the supporting actors so far are extremely skillful in their roles, the filming is beautifully done with some exceptionally lovely shots, the script is tight and well-written, and the story, while sure it is implausible, somehow still works.

And works well.

Sure, upcoming episodes of The First Responders may not be as fast-paced and action-packed as this one, but I have a feeling they will.

Especially as, from the hints during the closing scenes, it looks like we will also be getting a family drama involving detective Jin Ho Gae and some incredibly annoying (possibly corrupt?) city officials.

Watch the trailer for The First Responders for yourself and make up your mind if the drama looks like something you would enjoy.

For me, someone who really doesn’t like procedural dramas, it is already at the top of my list to watch next Friday when the next episode is released.

The First Responders can be watched in some areas of the world via Disney +, with new episodes coming out every Friday and Saturday.

The Korean drama has also already been greenlit for a second 12-episode season airing next year, so this one has a fair bit of meat to look forward to.

RELATED: Episode 1 of The First Responders takes top spot in its time slot in Korea


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered anime, manga, K-drama and music news for over a decade.