After a somewhat weak episode of HERO 2014, I’m mainly looking for Kuryu (Kimura Takuya) to get a decent case this time – no more contrived PSA lectures allowed. This episode doesn’t begin with Kuryu’s case, though, but with Uno (Hamada Gaku) getting a case about a scam artist which will require him to work with a prosecutor from Kyoto.

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The rest of the office is distraught because the temperature was set too low, but they settle down once they get something hot to drink . . .

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. . . so they’re in a relatively good mood when the Kyoto prosecutor appears and it turns out to be Nakamura Misuzu (Otsuka Nene), who was in this office in the first series but subsequently transferred.

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Nakamura greets all the holdovers from the first series, but also knows the prosecutor who basically plays the same role she did – Baba Reiko (Yoshida Yo).

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Of course, she still remembers Kuryu – who could forget him?

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Speaking of Kuryu, his case involves a guy who tried to steal a manhole cover. There had better be a good story behind this one, because if Kuryu is going to talk to the guy’s friends and family, find out that he’s an otherwise good guys who went astray, and then lecture him about the ills of stealing manhole covers . . . .

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There seems to be an interesting twist already, as Asagi (Kitagawa Keiko) and the thief recognize each other . . .

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. . . and we find out that Asagi used to be a hoodlum in her younger days. This should be interesting.

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What raises Kuryu’s suspicions, though, is the fact that sixty-two people wrote letters on the guy’s behalf, pleading for clemency. With that many people going to such lengths to help him, you’d think that he wouldn’t need to sell stolen steel to make ends meet.

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Nakamura introduces Uno to the case of the scam artist, but they’re sort of distracted because Suetsugu (Kohinata Fumiyo) is still infatuated with Nakamura after all this time and he doesn’t hide the fact.

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Asagi resists talking about her wilder days, but Kuryu is absolutely delighted by the revelation of her past, seeing it as explaining the more interesting aspects of her personality now.

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Ultimately, she only admits to being a very mild hoodlum.

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Uno’s attempt to question the scam artist doesn’t go so well because the suspect is a smooth talker. Suetsugu is still in daydream land.

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Outside of his office, Uno sees Kuryu taunting Asagi, and is stunned to find out about the less savory aspect of her past.

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Nakamura takes a totally different tact than Uno, and manages to corner the scam artist.

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Kuryu and Asagi visit the manhole at issue . . .

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. . . and then one of the people who wrote a letter on the thief’s behalf. This first guy seems very shady – he recognizes Asagi and treats her as if she was still part of his gang instead of as a prosecutor’s assistant. It doesn’t seem like he’s moved on and gone legit.

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Asagi is not happy with meeting her old acquaintances in this way.

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Nakamura reports her success to the boss . . .

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. . . and Suetsugu is torn between two stirrer sticks – one representing Nakamura and the other one Reiko. He also faces competition from Nakamura’s assistant.

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Kuryu and Asagi visit another person who wrote a letter – another old acquaintance of Asagi’s. This time, though, the woman noted that she was told to write the letter by the first guy they talked to – she didn’t write it out of any concern for the accused. In fact, she doesn’t even know the manhole cover thief well. The plot thickens.

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Kuryu ends up questioning everyone who wrote a letter and finds that most of them had simply done it because they were told to (good thing they didn’t bother to lie about it). That’s mighty suspicious, and Kuryu now wonders why the culprit’s real friends – the few who wrote the letter voluntarily – went to all this trouble on his behalf.

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Nakamura’s success leaves Uno doubting himself . . .

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. . . and he turns to Kuryu, complaining that graduating from Todai and having a pristine record hasn’t helped him at all.

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Kuryu’s response when Uno finally storms out is hilarious.

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New funny face from Kawajiri (Matsushige Yutaka):

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Kuryu finally gets Asagi to open up about her past – it’s about time we learned more about her.

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What happens after that gets more exciting and leads directly to the way the episode ends, so I’ll cut off the synopsis here.

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I will note that Uno gets the wrong idea about the changes he needs to make:

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Thankfully, Kawajiri puts his foot down and insists that Uno change back to his suit. We get another laugh after that, as Kuryu asks Kawajiri if it’s all right for him to show up to work in jeans and tee-shirt.

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This was a good episode – not exciting, but still well-paced. It helped that this one had a program time of 46 minutes – the regular hour block – instead of the longer duration of previous episodes.

The case eventually built into something substantial, and there weren’t any sermons. It was pretty easy to guess the true nature of the case once we found out the type of friend that supported the thief.

Kimura-san was especially good in this episode, getting a number of laughs from me. The main comedy was provided by Hamada-san as Uno and Kohinata-san as Suetsugu, and on both of those the acting was good, though there were only two really interesting scenes – one where the guard walks in on Suetsugu sitting in the dark, stunned, and the other with Uno dressed in imitation of Kuryu.

With any luck, the plots will continue to trend in this direction, and I’m hoping to see an even more compelling case next time.