Galileo 2 or ガリレオ (第2期) (2013) episodes 10 and 11
Galileo 2 or ガリレオ (第2期) (2013) episodes 10 and 11 are an adaptation of the novel Salvation of a Saint although the translation offered for the television adaptation is “redemption”. Having read and signalled serious admiration of the novel, there was considerable expectation as we worked through this series. No matter how superficial some of the earlier episodes might have seemed, there was enduring confidence the quality of the source material would enable the scriptwriters to produce a blockbuster ending leaving everyone impressed. Sadly, this proved not completely the case. In reaching this conclusion, I speculate my reaction to this adaptation might have been more forgiving if I had not read and enjoyed the book. By definition, novels are more detailed and allow the author the chance to build to the most effective conclusion. Even at two hours, television and cinema can struggle to capture the essence of even a short book. Look at the agonising over whether the television version of Game of Thrones is as good as, or better than, the novels from which it is drawn, or whether Peter Jackson should be burned at the crossroads for what he has done to the works of Tolkien. People who love the written word often hate what happens when their favoured novel is translated into the visual form. So, for example, there are the purists who hate the adaptations of the work by Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and so on.
So here we go with more detailed thoughts about this plot, carefully avoiding spoilers. First, the good news. Yūki Amami as Ayane Mashiba is outstanding. She carried the two series of Boss and proves devastatingly effective as our saint. Had she failed, the entire ending would have been dead in the water. We need to be clear about the nature of this role. This is an older woman who runs her own successful nursery school. She’s desperate to have children and, not caring so much about the consequences, she dates an entrepreneur who’s also seeking immortality for his genes through producing a child. He has two women. When Ayane is the first to prove her pregnancy, he dumps the other and marries Ayane. Shortly after their marriage, Ayane is walking near their matrimonial home when she’s knocked down by a woman on a bicycle. The shock causes her to miscarry. The cyclist is never identified. Thereafter, Ayane goes above and beyond the call of duty as a wife. She regularly attends a fertility clinic and spends the rest of the time at home, attending to her husband’s every need. Nothing is too much trouble for her.
When she goes away on a short holiday with two friends, her husband is very obviously alive, communicating with his employees by video conference, answering the door to their home, talking with the security guard, and so on. But at some point, he dies of arsenical poisoning. The fatal dose was obviously administered through his afternoon cup of coffee using freshly ground beans and newly boiled water. Misa Kishitani (Yuriko Yoshitaka) therefore thinks someone gained entrance to the home, placed the poison in the kettle, and waited for the man to die. The book goes to considerable lengths to demonstrate how he was not killed. In this endeavour, the book shows Professor Manabu Yukawa (Masaharu Fukuyama) aka Galileo and the forensic team working together to analyse every aspect of the kitchen. This even includes looking at the amount of dust under the sink to show no-one has touched the water filter during the last year. In any event, he made a coffee in the morning without ill effects. So it would be impossible for the water supply to have been contaminated.
The television adaptation, however, omits all this detailed work. Galileo is shown wandering around the kitchen, opening and closing cupboard doors, looking inside the fridge, and so on. He then demonstrates a possible murder method to Ayane Mashiba and the children in her school, but dismisses it because the offscreen forensic work has shown it to be impossible. In other words, by cutting out the spadework performed to show just how impossible this murder is, it undermines the shock value of how she did it. It is and will always remain, one of my all-time favourite murder methods. That said, people watching this show will understand how it was done and appreciate its cleverness. It’s just so much less than it could have been. We now come back to the question of “salvation” vs “redemption”. What the adaptation does right is bring out the quality of the woman and to explain very clearly what her motive was and why the world was right in viewing her as a saint in her marriage. You may very well wonder why a woman who endlessly proved her love for her husband should want to kill him. Read the book. If that’s not available to you, watch this television adaptation. It’s entirely understandable. So if Galileo succeeds in proving how she did it, can she be “saved” or find redemption? There are some who might say that the deliberate killing of another human being can never be forgiven. Unlike a theft where the money or the value of the thing taken can be returned to the victim, only society, perhaps influenced by the wishes of the victim’s family, could ever forgive and allow rehabilitation. I leave it to you to decide.
For other work based on Keigo Higashino’s writing, see:
11 Moji no Satsujin or 11文字の殺人 (2011)
Broken or The Hovering Blade or Banghwanghaneun Kalnal or 방황하는 칼날 (2014)
Bunshin or 分身 (2012)
Galileo or Garireo or ガリレオ
Galileo 2 or ガリレオ (第2期) (2013) episodes 1 and 2
Galileo 2 or ガリレオ (第2期) (2013) episodes 3 and 4
Galileo 2 or ガリレオ (第2期) (2013) episodes 5 and 6
Galileo 2 or ガリレオ (第2期) (2013) episodes 7, 8 and 9
Galileo: The Sacrifice of Suspect X or Yôgisha X no kenshin (2008)
Midsummer Formula or Manatsu no Houteishiki or 真夏の方程式 (2013)
The Murder in Kairotei or Kairoutei Satsujin Jiken or 回廊亭殺人事件 (2011)
Naniwa Junior Detectives or Naniwa Shonen Tanteida or 浪花少年探偵団 (2012) episodes 1 to 4
Naniwa Junior Detectives or Naniwa Shonen Tanteida or 浪花少年探偵団 (2012) episodes 5 to 8
Naniwa Junior Detectives or Naniwa Shonen Tanteida or 浪花少年探偵団 (2012) episodes 9 to 12
Platinum Data or プラチナデータ (2013)
Thursday Theatre Keigo Higashino Mystery or 東野圭吾ミステリーズ (2012) episodes 1 to 5
Thursday Theatre Keigo Higashino Mystery or 東野圭吾ミステリーズ (2012) episodes 6 to 11
White Night or Baekyahaeng or 백야행 : 하얀 어둠 속을 걷다 (2009)
The Wings of the Kirin or Kirin no Tsubasa: Gekijoban Shinzanmono or 麒麟の翼 ～劇場版・新参者～ (2012)
For the Galileo novel on which this pair of episodes is based, see Salvation of a Saint.