K-Drama Review: “The Fiery Priest” Digs On Community Issues With Witty Storytelling
Father Hae Il has gone through a lot to prove his mentor’s innocence.
The Fiery Priest took on a darker route towards the latter part but ended lightly. Father Kim Hae Il’s quest was exacting, but along the way he gained allies and earned their respect. With their help, they fought and triumphed over the ruling forces that plagued the small town of Gudam. It was not an easy feat for our heroes as powerful community leaders and a former foe bonded together to ensure their hold in power.
Title: The Fiery Priest
Theme: Comedy, Action, Crime, Drama
Length: 40 Episodes (4 back-to-back episodes weekly)
Broadcast Date: 15 Feb 2019 – 20 Apr 2019
Main Leads: Kim Nam Gil, Kim Sung Kyun Lee Ha Nee
Highlights: Solid Acting, Amusing narrative
Related Dramas: Lawless Lawyer, Special Labor Inspector Jo
The Fiery Priest gave us ten weeks of action-packed episodes combined with humor and a lot of emotions. No wonder people tuned in from start to finish, as evident from its soaring TV ratings all throughout its run.
Kim Nam Gil plays Father Kim Hae Il, a priest with a dark past and an even darker attitude. He has to leave town due to an altercation with the local gang. He went to the town of Gudam and welcomed by his mentor. However, with his temper and ability to attract trouble, the residents are wary of him. His mentor died a suspicious death and he tries to prove Father Lee’s innocence. As he investigates and gathers evidence, he discovers the problems existing in their town. This brings conflict and he eventually butt-heads with the community leaders.
Forging an unlikely allegiance with a foolish detective and a shady prosecutor, Father Hae Il sets out to clean, not just his mentor’s name but the entire town as well.
Kim Nam Gil is perfect in this role as he is both charismatic and abrasive. Father Kim Hae Il’s fiery temper oftentimes landed him in trouble, but his heart is in the right place. Given his background story, it was easy to understand how his attitude change. He was not a lost cause though, as Father Lee was able to touch his tortured soul. So, it was no surprise that he did everything he could to clear his name.
Kim Sung Kyun as Detective Koo Dae Young is funny, and his character complemented well with Father Hae Il. Although at first, he just wanted to go with the flow, but eventually he realized that he could do better if he aligned himself with the right people. Lee Ha Nee’s character, Prosecutor Park Kyung Sun, was the one role that I did not immediately warmed up to, especially during the early part of the series. I was glad that she was able to redeem herself and used her cunning to defeat the enemies. Even the community leaders, who were supposed to be the bad guys, made a lasting impression as well as the other supporting characters.
With its satirical approach, the drama boldly touches on hot and existing issues. The drama has a balanced mix of humor and sarcasm that resonated well with the audience. Coupled with the brilliant acting from its cast, The Fiery Priest trudged on sensitive topics and got away with it.
Since the issues are timely, viewers immersed themselves with the story. The seriousness of the subjects, such as violence, bribery and corruption, were presented in a manner that appealed to the audience. The ending, which high-key suggest a second season, was such a nice touch as avid viewers have something to look forward to.
The Fiery Priest, despite the serious issues it depicted, was an engrossing and fun drama to watch. Kudos to the cast who gave their all to showcase a drama worth watching. All praises to the production crew as well for giving us a series that represented the current community setting. Although there might be some exaggerated approach, it was a necessary element to differentiate reality from fiction.
It was a satire done right with a good blend of humor and feelings. The drama is of course, fiction but with a dose of reality. We live in a world where we witness the same issues portrayed in the story, but we tend to become desensitized, either because we are not at the receiving end of the problem or we have been overly exposed to it. Whatever the case, the change we want to see should start from within.
This drama emphasized that if we truly want to improve or see changes, we have to be courageous to go against the flow. The result, whether it was the expected outcome or not, will only be possible if we take action.
Photos retrieved from SBS.