Japanese drama has been in a slump for me in the past couple of years. I was getting really bored with the recycling of 3 main drama themes that the Japanese love so much i.e. medical, police and mystery. Every seasons I’d try to pick a few to watch but it was getting difficult and be captivated by the storyline. However, thank god this winter season we have Amami Yuki in Kinkyu Torishirabeshitsu (also known as Emergency Interrogation Room).
Amami Yuki has always been a well-known and talented actress in Japan and even though she does have one or two misses e.g. the past 2 dramas before this one (Kekkon Shinai and Kaeru no Oujo-sama), I have always enjoyed most of her projects. Perhaps Amami Yuki has been type-casted to always play a strong character, however, that is what I like and enjoy most from her performances. I love watching her go head-to-head with her opponents and feel the intensity flaring up on-screen; Kinkyu Torishirabeshitsu gives me exactly what I want.
Casts & Relationship Chart
Makabe Yukiko (Amami Yuki) is the negotiator in the Special Investigation Team (S.I.T) of the Metropolitan Police Department. She has excelllent negotiation skills and the drama kicks off with an intense and suspenseful opening of her negotiating with a bus hijacker. The lack of trust/faith in her skills & confident from the leader led to her failure in a successful negotiation with the hijacker. Yukiko takes full responsibility and gets transfered to a team named Kinkyu Torishirabeshitsu (in short: ‘Kintori’) by the head of police department, Gohara Masanao (Kusahari Masao).
Kintori is a small team comprises of 4 males and Yukiko. Her team leader is Kajiyama Katsutoshi (Tanaka Tetsushi) and 3 other ojisan namedly (1) Kohinata Fumiyo (Koishikawa Haruo), (2) Osugi Ren (Nakata Zenjiro) and (3) Hishimoto Susumu (Den Den), refer to chart counting from the right. The Kintori team also works very closely with two other police colleagues from the other investigation sub-division – Suzuki Kosuke (Kenmotsu Daijiro) and Watanabe Tetsuji (Hayami Mokomichi). They are the ones mostly responsible for field work investigations (i.e. running around) and providing the comic relief in the drama. Ha.
So what is so special about Kintori? The interrogation room comprises of several video cameras that record every single thing that happen in the room and thus minimising the possibilities of injustice or false conviction during police investigations. Couple with Makabe Yukiko’s ability to empathize with the suspect(s) by incorporating her own feelings and personal experiences in her interrogation, the team is able to solve their cases within the set time frame that other departments could not.
In addition, Makabe Yukiko is a widow with two kids and she holds a secret i.e. she strongly believes that there is more to her husband’s death and she is determined to find out the truth. She is honest with her children regarding their father; she promises them that she will one day catch the murderer and tells them what really happened to their father. Through working in Kintori, one day she interrogates a suspect who knew what may have happened to that once-a-police husband of hers and proceeds to uncover the truth that was buried by the police department.
Even though Kinkyu Torishirabeshitsu is another police theme drama but surprisingly, the first 5 episodes were very well written and captivating. I couldn’t get enough of it after marathoning all 4 episodes in one go. The storyline was engaging, intense and also emotional. Amami Yuki was fabulous especially in 1st episode against the guest actor Takashima Masanobu (picture above). The drama starts off each episode with a new case, then slowly reveals Yukiko’s background and the mystery behind her husband’s death. It seems that the head chief and the team leader also have secrets, it keeps the audiences wondering what exactly they are hiding & whether it has anything to do with the Makabe. Personally, I was more interested in Yukiko’s encounter case-by-case with each episode’s characters.
In general, Kinkyu Torishirabeshitsu is an enjoyable, simple and easy-to-get-into drama with a great casts of experienced actors. All the ojisan that Amami Yuki acted with are experienced actors who has participated in a wide varieties of drama throughout their acting careers. It is definitely one great opportunity to learn from all these senpai (seniors). She is a charismatic actress who can hold her own show and being surrounded by all this senpai did not stop her from shining through, yet she doesn’t steal anyone’s spotlight.
Hayami Mokomichi is the only eye-candy (he has aged a bit) in this drama who isn’t impressive when it comes to acting. I liked him in Zettai Kareshi but he hasn’t had a breakthrough since then. In Kinkyu, he is only playing a really minor role, however, since he is paired with Kenmotsu Daijiro (most memorable in Liar Game), who is also another all-rounder sort of actor; I really hope he would jump at this chance to observe Kenmotsu Daijiro’s acting and learn from him.
Episode 6-7’s case storyline deteriorated a little and I admit I did feel a little bored but it picks up again in episode 8 when Yukiko engages in full investigation of her husband’s death and the whole truth unravels in episode 9’s finale. The drama thus ends with the final showdown of Makabe Yukiko against her enemies inside the Kintori. Who is responsible? What dark secret are they hiding or protecting and why? Will she take them all down and clear her husband’s name or her husband is not as innocent as she believes him to be?