The old saying that you should be careful what you wish for came true, but thankfully with a positive spin because the rest of the episodes of Career did become more engaging and I actually started liking a lot of the characters. The drama still pretty much followed the same formula of Kinshiro saving the day, but did manage to offer up a nice twist that gave the storyline a bit more meat and helped elevate the drama a notch.
So the upgrade in the story turned out to be the mystery behind the death of Kinshiro’s father, Sakurai Shuhei (they had different surnames because Kinshiro’s mother later remarried). This drama proves six degrees of separation is nothing because just about everyone is connected to everyone. Sakurai was Minami’s superior and the latter was by his side when Sakurai died in the line of action. And of course Osakabe was Sakurai’s partner back in the day and hence acted like Kinshiro’s mentor after his father passed away. Sakurai’s death was covered up by the police higher-ups because it involved the son of one of the top brass and a stupid rule that officers could not carry firearms while working in the field, so Sakurai had been unarmed when he and the criminal faced off.
So Minami’s grudge against the bureaucrats in the force is understandable, though that doesn’t quite excuse his initial rudeness towards Kinshiro. Still, the redemption was decently done and I particularly liked how Minami realised that Kinshiro has always adhered to his father’s principles, down to his forgiving and generous nature, while Minami had the benefit of being there during Sakurai’s last moments and yet had not followed his mentor’s final words not to bear any hatred. It came at a moment when Kinshiro was at his wits’ end, and it was really nice seeing Minami reaffirm that Kinshiro was right all along in his convictions.
Aikawa also got to grow up a bit in the remaining episodes and become the policewoman she wanted to be. Kinshiro’s approach of being there for the citizens had struck a chord with her, to the extent that she let a victim of stalking stay over at her place in an effort to protect the latter and also ended up giving Kinshiro a pep talk of sorts when he was out of it. She’s such an earnest bot that it sometimes feels unreal, but it’s always nice to see female characters armed with self-defence skills so she’s not a fragile flower that needs rescuing all the time.
It was also nice seeing how the rest of the detectives warmed up to Kinshiro and started believing in his approach and values, especially when they stood up to the asshole officers sent by the higher-ups. The citizens also banded together to help Kinshiro – proof that everyone love Kin-san and that yoga lessons with the common folk do pay off! The criminal’s motives were rather mehh, so that was a missed opportunity to create a late twist – still, for a drama that is not shy about hitting the audience over the head with the standard cop procedural tropes, one really can’t expect much. The cases were not particularly memorable, though some tried to deal with current societal issues such as bullying and money scams. Kinshiro trying to make the best of a forced omiai was rather funny.
Kinshiro’s character doesn’t really change throughout, though one would hope he’s learnt a little about being less rash when rushing into the field. Even when faced with betrayal, his ability to bounce back is nothing short of amazing – though I’d attribute it to the drama shoving all its big moments to the final episode. I have to say I’m rather relieved the drama didn’t shoehorn a romance – Aikawa had a bout of hero worship of Kinshiro, but fortunately nothing happened. There was a cameo by Kurashina Kana in episode 8 – she was trying to comfort a pair of crying twins when Kinshiro came by, and they discovered the twins’ names were Cain and Abel (ha!). I wish Kurashina had featured as one of the cases of the week, but she probably couldn’t take too much time off from filming her own drama then.
Acting-wise, this was a piece of cake for Tamaki Hiroshi (still hoping for WOWOW to knock on his door and offer him a meaty role), but it’s always nice seeing him play a sweet and affable character who wouldn’t hurt a flea. Occasionally we read about acts of kindness from people that make us think humanity isn’t beyond redemption, and that is the case with Kinshiro. He may be too good to be true even for dramaland, but if we all had a Kin-san in our lives who looked and smiled like Tamaki and brightened our days with his sincerity, the world would be probably be a happier place.