So everyone knows my love for Criminal Minds, which is about FBI Quantico profilers who narrow down the suspect pool by figuring out the suspect physical and mental attributes. Imagine when I found out Japan did a version of this profiler stuff. Yes, I was excited. The Japanese title of the drama is LADY~Saigo no Hanzai Profile~. Yes the squiggles are a necessity. English title is LADY~The Last Criminal Profile~. I’m not really sure what the “LADY” refers to, nor why it is all in caps. But I guess the lady refers to our main character, Kazuki Shoko, played by the beautiful Kitagawa Keiko.
The basic premise is Kazuki Shoko has just returned from FBI profile training in the U.S. She has joined the new team Crime Profile Support (CPS) in the Metropolital Police Department. The team includes tough lady boss Yuki Akira (Kimura Tae), office assistant Okui Marie (Sudo Risa), statistician and criminalist Shinbori Keisuke (Hiroki Yuta), and good-looking facial analyst Terada Takehiko (Kaname Jun). Together they try to make sense of gruesome serial murder cases with enigmatic motives and elusive killers.
First Episode synopsis (watch out for spoilers):
Right off the bat, we’re pulled in by terrible murders of families. Each family killed includes a mother, father, and 1 child. And each family is killed differently. There is a lot of disagreement among the CPS members about the profile of the killer. Though they all agree it was done by 1 sole killer, only Shoko thinks they should reach out to the killer via the newspaper. Publishing a public article does little to deter the killer. CPS is taken off the case but continues to work on it. Then the unthinkable happens when a suspect is taken into custody and the police broadcasts the capture on live television. The suspect is not the killer. The killer feels threatened, and kills the chief of the police department and his whole family. CPS and the police must solve the case as they grieve the death of their superior and friend.
Kitagawa Keiko is definitely gorgeous as usual. Her character is headstrong and stubborn, very relatable and easy to root for. However, the show’s pace veers on the slow side. There is no obvious steady climb to the climax. The plot seems to move along in a sinusoidal curves so it is a little harder to dive into the story line and remain absorbed like in Criminal Minds.
I do think the one of the director’s method is kind of weird. Whenever Kazuki tries to imagine how the killer thinks, the director super-imposes Kazuki as the killer committing the murders. This is a quite literal way of showing Kazuki getting into the criminal’s mind. However, it’s pretty creepy seeing our beautiful heroine bashing in a victim’s head. I’m not sure I can get use to this.
I also have a soft spot for Kaname Jun. He has a very unit slanty eye look that I am quite partial to. In addition, he has an extremely large repertoire to his acting resume and has been in some of favorite JDramas especially Tantei Gakuen Q. However Kaname’s role doesn’t seem to be too large. And I don’t seem to be getting any romantic vibes between him and Kazuki. Disappointed. I am.
*Spoilers* The ending was pretty thrilling although not really believable. Kazuki volunteers herself to act as the mother and go into the house where the killer holds a man and his 7-year-old son. This doesn’t seem to be realistic as profilers are not police in Japan and this is completely breaking protocol. She does successfully talk down the killer multiple times from killing the man and herself. This was a pretty exciting 1st episode but I hope the show does not focus on Kazuki as a one woman shoe. From watching so much Criminal Minds, I really believe profiling is something achieved by a whole team of people. Often times, one person spearheading along creates a narrow view of the criminal and crucial points of the profile can be missed. Kazuki might be brilliant but I hope they showcase more of the other characters.
I think the highlight of the episode is when Kazuki steps out alive from her encounter with the crazy serial killer. Boss lady Yuki doesn’t speak a single word but slaps Kazuki across the face. At this moment, you can see how much Yuki was worried for Kazuki, not only as a subordinant but as a friend and mother/older sister figure. Kazuki bows apologetically and does not talk back. We see their relationship begin to beuild. Also, we get wonderful glimpse of team dynamics at the end of the episode when the group drinks together. They finally seem to be showing some team spirit and camaraderie.