‘Jirisan’: K-Drama Sets New Heights With Its Murder Story Set In the Mountains

The tvN and iQiyi Korean drama, Jirisan debuted on Oct.23. Set in South Korea’s second tallest mountain, Jirisan combines the adventure of mountain rescue rangers with the dark and eery mystery of murder. Actors Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon star as the K-drama’s leading characters. Jirisan K-drama is off to a considerably good start after the premiere of its first episode.

Mount Jirisan has multiple rescue teams that band together to retrieve lost hikers and track down survivors before it is too late. They take on dangerous terrain, deadly weather conditions, and the unpredictable circumstances of the mountains. But, the picturesque mountains have a fatal secret.

Actor Jun Ji-hyun for 'Jirisan' K-drama looking through boniculors
Actor Jun Ji-hyun for ‘Jirisan’ K-drama | via iQiyi

‘Jirisan’ K-drama begins with a heart-racing rescue mission

Mount Jiri is one of South Korea’s marvels with a heaven-like landscape. The K-drama opens with a monologue about the importance of the mountain to the country. A narrator explains the importance of the mountain to the country. Audiences do not have to worry about whether or not the drama starts off slow. Actor Ju plays the new rescuer Kang Hyun-jo and joins the team at the perfect moment.

The minute Hun-jo steps into the office, he is sent out on a rescue mission to save a young boy who became lost in the mountains. The team captain stresses the importance of “Golden Time.” It is a time window where a survivor can still be rescued before things become fatal. Each rescue has a story that will tug at viewers’ hearts. Audiences watch as the team must trek through the mountains and face dangerous weather conditions.

The Jirisan K-drama does the job of elevating the risk factor to keep the audience intrigued on whether or not the team is successful in its mission. Each episode of the K-drama will entail a rescue that will slowly integrate the bigger picture of a murder mystery.

Mount Jiri is a picturesque environment but can be fatal in the K-drama

Audiences might have split feelings over the setting used in Jirisan. The production team used the natural mountain location and CGI for more dangerous storylines. In a behind-the-scenes video, fans can see the production crew and the main cast venturing through Mount Jirisan’s terrain, just like in the drama. There are scenes in the first episodes that cannot happen in real life and would cause injury to the actors. Instead, the production team used a green screen.

The South China Morning Post describes the K-drama has, “some occasionally dodgy visual effects.” But in the grand scope of Jirisan’s storyline and setting, the visual effects have to try and mimic the same terrain and difficult weather conditions that could occur in the mountains. The K-drama still does the job of arousing some high stakes tension as Seo Yi-kang (Jun) and Hyun-jo fight the harsh rain and speeding winds to find the lost young boy.

The plot thickens when there is a major twist at the end of the first episode. Jirisan’s storyline twist was never explored in the K-drama’s trailers. Viewers will find it adds risk and intrigue going foward. Mount Jiri and its rescuers soon piece together a murderous secret possibly involving a serial killer who uses the mountain as their hunting ground.

‘Jirisan’ K-drama still has time to introduce its characters


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The main focus of the K-drama’s beginning episode is on the dangers and stories of the mountains. Fans have a minimal intro to Yi-kang and Hyun-jo. Yi-kang is known as “Devil Seo” because of her dedication to saving lost hikers no matter the risk. Yi-kang is also the most seasoned rescuer amongst the crew.

When it comes to the other main character Hyun-jo, fans know small details. The biggest detail is his ability to have premonitions about the mountains and lost hikers. Some viewers might be dismayed Jirisan does not properly introduce the supporting characters. In a press conference before the K-drama’s debut, Soompi explains writer Kim Eun-hee “took time to introduce the supporting characters and the actors taking on the roles.”

Jirisan is available to stream on iQiyi.