Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ (2011) Episodes 6 to 8
Episode 6 of Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ (2011) is one of these episodes where the final element of the solution to the mystery depends on some psychology that strikes me as fake. Or perhaps this is essentially a Japanese phenomenon that does not apply to Westerners. Either way, I’m not convinced by it. The rest of the episode remains interesting with Rinko Tomoe (Nene Otsuka) and one of the suspects going through a crisis of self-confidence. They are both in the same position having been in jobs that did not require them to interact so much with “other people”, but then found themselves thrust into positions that required them to take on positive roles. Rinko Tomoe had not been a success as a front-line police officer so moved into the forensic department. Her view is that objects don’t lie. So while she might not be able to assess when human beings are being truthful, her analytical skills can always go the extra mile to discover the truth about pieces of evidence. The person with whom she bonds had been a product designer and worked quietly in the background. Because her designs were a success, she was headhunted to manage the sales department. This is completely alien to her because not only does she have to manage the people in the department, but also deal with the pressure from the board of directors who want to see their products selling well. Rinko Tomoe does not believe she’s guilty of the murder but, when the evidence seems to suggest she’s guilty, both are in danger of collapse. It takes Kosaku Kirishima (Eichiro Funakoshi) to point out why the manager does have an alibi (a marginally credible psychological insight) and Rinko Tomoe disappears into the laboratory to come up with proof of innocence. Then it’s down to a list of people who bought wool of the right colour and the case is solved.
Episode 7 reminded me of an episode in The Mentalist where Jane finally finds someone in a wheelchair wearing shoes showing signs of wear. This plot is somewhat complicated but ends up working well as history catches up with two probable wrongdoers, one of whom somewhat inexplicably kills the other. Two factors make this shooting difficult to understand. First, it’s not at all clear how they came to meet and, second, it’s difficult to understand why one of the men should be wearing a wig and a woman’s red coat. As a result of a trick by Kosaku Kirishima, the killer is tempted back to the scene of the crime where he’s arrested. Once his identity is confirmed, a prosecutor who tried to get him convicted for murder about two years earlier comes back on to the scene and acts in a way that raises suspicions. In the end, Kosaku Kirishima gets the right answer and introduces a rather bitter sweet revelation that makes the sequence of events more tragic than we previously imagined. It’s one of these rather “nice” plots in which the manipulator does not so much plan the death as give the killer the chance to kill.
Episode 8 is advertised as a single story, but the reality has the two-hour time-slot occupied by two separate stories scripted to run consecutively, i.e. the couple walking away from the police station pass a man who’s found beaten and shot minutes later. In the first story, the decomposed body of a man is found in some woodlands. Forensic tests identify him as a freelance producer who used to work for a local radio station. Kosaku Kirishima quickly becomes interested in one of the presenters (Waka Inoue) who seems to have a fairly acute anxiety problem. He becomes determined to discover the trigger for the attacks. At first Mamoru Mikoshiba (Renn Kiriyama) suggests it’s the smell or taste of tea, but this fails to explain all the incidents. Eventually, the trigger is identified as Pachabel’s Canon in all its different versions, i.e. as the original and then as adapted to fit into contemporary music. She has a young man (Koen Kondo) trailing after her. He’s obviously besotted with her, but may either be a stalker or have some other agenda. It eventually proves to be an interesting example of a person who suffered a trauma and then found a way to suppress the horror she felt. When she begins to remember elements of that event, the reality is perhaps not quite what she reconstructs.
Tetta Sugimoto plays a profiler from Tokyo who’s called in to share the investigative lead when a police officer is attacked and his gun stolen. That gun is used to kill a man suspected of involvement in a robbery murder some sixteen years before. The three suspects are now immune from prosecution because of a statute of limitation. When the second man is also shot with the same gun, this confirms the motive as revenge. Although he’s not a suspect, Hidetoshi Sanada (Masahiro Takashima) was the investigating officer from sixteen years ago, so he’s all fired up to get to the truth. This rallies the troops and they all apply what they have been learning from Kosaku Kirishima to arrive at the solution. There’s some nice interchange between the team with the auxiliary officer also getting involved. In part, there’s an element of mockery as they pose and mirror Kosaku Kirishima’s mannerisms, but the underlying message is clear. Having begun as a disparate group of individual talents, they have no found a way of learning and working together. Although some of the mechanisms for showing the behavioral traits is heavy-handed, the overall impression of Honboshi: Shinri Tokusou Jikenbo or ホンボシ is favourable. It may not be the best television police procedural mystery series, but it’s entertaining.
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 3 to 5