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Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007


Cop thriller, celebrity talk show, murder mystery

On Wednesday at 8 p.m., TV Asahi launches the sixth season of its popular cop show "Aibo (Partners)" with a special two-hour drama entitled "Fukugan no Hotei (A Courtroom of Many Eyes)."

A police officer assigned to the Shinjuku South precinct is found shot dead. A black-market gun dealer named Tsukahara is picked up for questioning since he was once arrested for possession of firearms by the dead officer. Under interrogation he breaks and confesses to the killing.

The police detective partners Ukio (Yutaka Mizutani) and Kaoru (Yasufumi Terawaki) decide to attend Tsukahara's trial as spectators, since it is being showcased as a test example of the new lay-judge system, in which average citizens share the bench with professional judges. During the trial, Tsukahara recants his confession, claiming his innocence, and later one of the lay judges is found murdered.

Super-emcee Monta Mino gets yet another regular show this week with the premiere of "Dokusen! Kinyobi no Kokuhaku (Exclusive! Friday Confession)" (Fuji, Friday, 7 p.m.). Every program in the series is devoted to a different famous person whose entire life is explored in niggling detail.

The first guest is popular 40-something actress Hitomi Kuroki, who grew up in a small town in Fukushima Prefecture. The program shines a light on her town and interviews residents who used to go to school with Kuroki. Several "astonishing" anecdotes from her childhood and adolescence are dramatized, revealing Kuroki to be stubborn and a born leader. Later she talks about how she took the test to enter the school of the famous Kansai-area musical theater company Takarazuka. She also cooks a meal for Mino.

More legal stuff is dramatized on the five-part NHK series called simply "Judge" (NHK-G, Saturday, 9 p.m.). The titular character is a relatively young man named Kyosuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima) who is assigned to be the only trial judge on a small, remote island off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture.

In this week's case, he must decide the fate of an elderly woman accused of killing her bedridden husband. The woman was tired of taking care of him and suffered from chronic fatigue and insomnia.

The case becomes more personally relevant to Kyosuke after he receives an unexpected phone call from his own aged mother, who says she fell down and broke her leg. Kyosuke's wife goes to Tokyo to take care of her. When he returns to the case Kyosuke's attitude is slightly changed, and suddenly he notices that the look on the dead husband's face in the coroner's photos is very peaceful.

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