Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ (2011) Episodes 3 to 5
Episode 3 of Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ (2011) sees us viewing the body of a heart surgeon who has ended up dead at the bottom of a new steep flight of steps. When the body is examined, there’s evidence the man was tasered before he fell. This would suggest he was attacked at the top of the steps and fell down when the current struck him. Except there’s bruising to his chest which is not consistent with the fall. Curiously, the top button of his shirt is also missing and, despite a painstaking search, remains elusive. Kosaku Kirishima (Eichiro Funakoshi) is immediately interested in the gossip around the hospital and quickly discovered there was a move to close the A&E department. One of the stars of this department played by Yu Kamio had been vocal in defending the emergency services and is suspected. The hospital administrator is also hiding something, but it’s not clear what this is. Thanks to the persistence of Rinko Tomoe (Nene Otsuka) the shirt button is eventually discovered in a surprising place, while Mamoru Mikoshiba (Renn Kiriyama) uses his forensic skills, first to find a datastick belonging to the victim, and then to decode it. Then a man walks into the police station to confess to the murder which confuses everyone except Kosaku Kirishima. This episode is interesting on several levels. First it says interesting things about the politics within hospitals. Second it’s psychologically revealing about doctors who care a great deal about their patients and the reciprocal loyalties this inspires in the minds of the patients they save.
Episode 4 sees us investigating what may be a suicide involving a group of people that Hidetoshi Sanada used to consider friends back in college. This group had come together for a reunion celebration but, for some reason, had neglected to invite Hidetoshi Sanada (Masahiro Takashima). This strikes Kosaku Kirishima as strange. If the bond had stayed for twenty years between the others, why had the detective been excluded? This and the unnatural tidiness of the dead man’s house suggest the death may not be a suicide. The problem therefore is to decide which of the people attending this reunion might have had both motive and the opportunity to acquire the potassium cyanide used to cause death. One of the group is an engraver who might have had reason to use it when dealing with some metals. Although the explanation for how the death occurred makes perfect sense in retrospect, the episode slightly cheats because there’s no way we viewers could have known of the detail of the backstory. Since I tend to prefer episodes that give the viewer a fair chance to understand the basis of the crime as the facts emerge, this is a less successful plot. The main point of interest at the end is Kosaku Kirishima’s insistence on protecting Hidetoshi Sanada’s feelings. It’s quite painful for him to realise one or more of his friends might turn out to have feet of clay.
However, episode 5 recovers with a genuinely pleasing plot of twists and turns as we try to work out who killed the living legend potter and, in the process, apparently destroyed four very valuable antiques. This is not a robbery gone wrong because many of the other pieces of pottery remaining in the workshop were valuable and could have been removed for sale to dealers. So if robbery was not the motive, why would someone kill this old man who was showing increasingly severe signs of Alzheimer’s? There are two brothers and two apprentices, plus the housekeeper who were either in the house at the time or had the opportunity to enter the workshop at the rear without being observed. It actually gives the other team members a chance to shine. Rinko Tomoe invests the time and effort to reconstruct the smashed pottery, while Mamoru Mikoshiba is included in many of the interview scenes with Kosaku Kirishima and offers his interpretation of people’s behaviour to be measured against the expert’s opinion. In fact, our youngster does put his finger on one key event, but fails to draw the right inference. Nevertheless, he’s beginning to get on to the right wavelength. The answer is rather sad as it shows such serious lack of understanding within the family. This is not a problem particular to Japan, but it may be more serious in its impact because of the social practice of hiding emotion. If people were not so obsessed with the idea of avoiding any loss of face, they might remember the past accurately enough to understand why it’s important to maintain lines of communication. Thus, Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ continues the good standard of the first episodes and the team begins to blend together.
For reviews of the other episodes, see:
Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ (2011) Episodes 1 and 2
Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ (2011) Episodes 6 to 8