Shida Mirai-san! Hisashiburi! (志田未来さん! 久しぶり! – It’s been a long time) And, wow, it has been a long time since the last time I saw her in a drama – since Seigi no Mikata in 2008, though I mainly know her from one of the first two dramas I ever watched – Tantei Gakuen Q in 2007.

Shida Mirai

In this episode, Shida-san plays Nakata Tomoko, the niece of the victim, a manga artist. The show begins with Serizawa (Sato Koichi) on the set of a news show where he’s giving his opinion on a corporate case. While he’s sitting there, though, they move on to a story on – guess what? – a locked room mystery. And that’s when Nakata Tomoko walks in to explain the situation and why she thinks her aunt’s death was not an accident.

The looks on Serizawa’s face are priceless (and sure had me laughing):

Serizawa 1Serizawa 2Serizawa 3Serizawa 5Serizawa 6

And, of course, they mention that he’s solved locked room mysteries before:

She remembers the magazine

So, Nakata ends up begging him to take her case:

Nakata Bows

The reluctant hero, aware of the camera, puts on a good show, but then complains to his assistant, Aoto (Toda Erika). Within seconds, they call the real hero of the series, Enomoto (Ohno Satoshi),

Who Else?Enomoto

who questions Nakata and discovers all the details of the case, including the fact that there was a duplicate key!

There's a duplicate key floating around

So was it really a locked room? Well, Enomoto decides to give it a try, anyway, and they encounter a dog at the scene of the crime.

Dog With Teeth

And yes, it is a dog that barks at everyone except the victim, and none of the neighbors heard it bark between the departure of the morning assistant and the arrival of the night assistant, so that’s how the situation becomes a locked room. It’s all down to the dog not barking.

Could Someone Have Gotten Past It?

I wonder how Enomoto feels about this?

The World's Most Neutral Expression

What do you call that expression? Unimpressed? Curious? Anyway, what’s with the valuable watch that happened to stop right at the time of death?

Stopped Watch

And the victim was apparently killed by a clock:

Disposition of the Body

Seems like a matter of time . . . I mean, they keep showing us graphs about the sequence of events, and we’ve got all these watches and clocks at the scene of the crime, so in the first ten minutes we’ve sort of been conditioned to think about the timing of events. That . . . probably means it’s a red herring and has nothing to do with the case, right?

After that, there are details of the case that might give too much away, so I’ll quit with the case summary. The important point is, of course, that Enomoto concludes that it really is a locked room mystery, but not a complete locked room. That is, he thinks it can be unlocked:

Enomoto Expresses ConfidenceAotoEnomoto Expresses Confidence 2

Serizawa leaves, ranting that it was just an accident and not murder (defaulting back to his old ways, in other words), but he finds himself the certain of press attention, and he can’t disappoint his adoring public.

Serizawa and the PressSerizawa Ripping Off of Enomoto

So, the Serizawa humor is back in full force, and after making some promises to the press, he becomes more and more desperate to solve the case as the minutes tick by.

Serizawa Panicky 1Serizawa Panicky 2Serizawa Panicky 3Serizawa Panicky 4Serizawa Panicky 5

The two main suspects are the two assistants – Anzai Rikako played by Megumi and Tachibana Asami played by Iwasa Mayuko, with both actresses being fairly familiar faces and therefore worth mentioning.

The motive was really tough to accept, and even after it was explained, I didn’t feel like it constituted a sufficient reason for murder – not for the murder of the victim in question, anyway. So far, the motives have been a bit of a weak point in the mysteries.

As for the method of the murder, I think you’ll end up having a pretty good guess before Enomoto does the reveal, but there’s one detail that’s particularly tricky, and we weren’t given the necessary information to solve that part. So, it was a bit unsatisfying – the viewer has to be given all the pieces to the puzzle, and the rest of it was too easy to piece together.

In short, not the best of the cases, but the acting – especially from Sato-san – was top-notch, and the pace was perfect.

Oh, you’ll get a bit of a surprise at the end – Aoto manages to get Enomoto to show an emotion! Which one will it be?

Aoto and Enomoto