It’s always a pleasure having Tamaki Hiroshi back on primetime dramas, no matter the quality (or lack of), so barring a catastrophe, I was always going to tune in to Career. I just wish the drama had been smarter about naming it thus, but when Tamaki is only doing maybe one or two dramas a year, beggars can’t be choosers.
Toyama Kinshiro (Tamaki Hiroshi) is the new police chief of Kitamachi Police Station who doesn’t behave like the stereotypical, bureaucratic chief most expect. Instead, he likes to do the actual legwork when it comes to investigating crimes and listen to the voices of innocent citizens. His hands-on approach, however, incurs the wrath of lead detective Minami Yozo (Takashima Masahiro)…
Career is an easy, almost brainless watch because it follows the exact same formula for these early episodes. Kinshiro’s easygoing ways are taken for granted but he waves off animosity with a smile as he puts himself to work, even as his subordinates think he’s annoying for getting in the way of their investigations. Invariably he finds the clue that escapes everyone else’s attention and solves the crime, then reveals his real identity as the police chief and flashes his police badge at the offending criminal – the glow from the badge “shames” the baddie into crumpling onto the floor as Kinshiro declares he will never connive at any crime. It’s cheesy to the max and I don’t know how Tamaki can pull this off with a straight face.
Minami is particularly condescending and disrespects Kinshiro outright – while this is probably exaggerated for dramatic purposes and to illustrate just how different the characters are, it is a little irritating as a viewer to have to stomach such blatant, unwarranted disrespect. The actor also seems to be overplaying it with his neverending facial tics every time Minami crosses paths with Kinshiro, although that is also a source of laughs. It doesn’t help that Minami tends to spout rubbish lines that make you wonder whether he’s actually good at his job. So the end of episode 4 was particularly satisfying as Minami finally learns to appreciate, even if just a little, how Kinshiro’s unconventional sleuthing methods have helped him. Maybe they need another handcuff session to get that reluctant bromance going.
There is also the obligatory guiding rookie trope in any cop procedural, and this takes the form of Aikawa Misato (Takimoto Miori), an earnest bot who wants to be a cool cop and make up for her previous mistake where she’d been too late to save the victim of a crime. Aikawa is forced to keep Kinshiro out of trouble, but ends up helping him and learning from him how to be a better cop. I don’t get why Aikawa needs to wear a tie to work, but thought-provoking this drama is not. Aikawa also learns that Kinshiro himself has a mentor, the nice superintendent Osakabe Shinsuke (Kondo Masaomi, in a nice reunion as he played Tamaki’s dad in Asa ga Kita), with the latter often providing insights into why Kinshiro is the way he is.
The humour in Career is pretty silly but rather fun, since Kinshiro ends up taking an interest in yoga – one of the bus hijacking victims in episode 1 is yoga instructor Kano Rika (Chibana Kurara) and she invites Kinshiro to join her yoga class. That evolves into everyone and their mother joining said yoga class, including Minami’s wife and daughter, and eventually even Minami himself, which is hilarious. Tamaki got to do several yoga poses in the drama, which had me giggling like an idiot because he was just so silly and adorable giving in to his inner child like that. And being able to see Tamaki’s beautiful smile is one of the few things that will help me soldier on, because while the stories are passable, so far everything in Career has just been a rehash of various police procedural tropes. Would it be too much to ask for one decent twist in the story that is not related to yoga?