Drama Drench 2012: Rec of the Week

This year began with a downpour of dramas and who can keep track of them all? I’ve yet to see even the first episode of everything I want see and the ones I’ve seen, I have so much to say, I don’t know where to begin! However, for those dramas that I like and can live with dropping just a line or two, will find themselves as a Rec of the Week.

Strawberry Night is a procedural crime drama based on Honda Tetsuya’s novel Symmetry. It tells the story of female Tokyo Metropolitan detective Himekawa Reiko (Yuko Takeuchi) and her squad. The story was originally adapted into a special drama in 2010 and ha now been adapted for a 10-12 episodic run on Fuji TV. The drama also stars Hiroshima Hidetoshi, Koide Keisuke, Okamoto Akusa , Takeda Tetsuya.

Thoughts: Being that there was a drama special, there is plenty of background covered before the beginning episode of the season and episode one slides right with a new case and new people. The drama picks up in time after the drama special and does a good job of correlating the two. Information covered in the special regarding the personal lives of characters is reviewed without muddling the current case or sequences of events. The special doesn’t have to be viewed to enjoy the series but honestly it is a good watch so it wouldn’t hurt.

It’s procedural, therefore, there is a new case each episode, however, not every case is solved cleanly. The drama does speak on the politics of police work, as well as being a young woman working in what’s commonly viewed a “man’s” profession. At times, the “lone woman stance” does seem fairly overdone but the strong-willed and forthright character of Himekawa somehow soothes the redundancy. For, though she is female, she doesn’t try to be considered one of the guys, nor, desire special treatment as a woman. She’s a character that actually warrants respect for remaining true to herself, yet, having convictions and pursuits that have drawn her to love and relish her profession. If I were to relate her to another popular character, I would say, she’s what I hoped Kate Beckett, in ABC’s Castle would be like (and perhaps was, in it’s first 2 seasons).

Personally, this is my favorite Takeuchi Yuko role. She’s perfect as Reiko and her acting is virtually seamless. I’ve always pretty much had a soft spot for her but have never liked any of her roles (… and yes, I’ve seen Pride). There is something about her determination as a public service officer– with a past, that resonates and I’m grateful she took the part. Hopefully, she will continue to take  roles I enjoy, but either way, I’ll always have SN.

Strawberry Night shows 9pm Tues Fuji TV.

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