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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Channel surf

Mystery writer Kyotaro Nishimura's Police Inspector Totsugawa solves another case in "Shindai Tokkyu Satsujin Jiken" ("The Sleeping Car Express Murder Incident") (TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.), which takes advantage of the nostalgia for the overnight sleeping compartment "blue train," which JR stopped running in March.

The corpse of a woman is found floating in the canal near Tsukishima, Tokyo. Inspector Totsugawa (Tsunehiko Watase) determines that the woman was murdered, and goes about looking for clues, questioning anyone who might have information about the victim. He learns that on the night of the murder the woman was riding in a sleeping car express bound for Kumamoto. However, at the time that the coroner has been determined she was killed, the train was traveling nonstop between Osaka and Hiroshima. Totsugawa checks the footage from the train platform surveillance cameras and is shocked to see the face of his former supervisor, Ono.

The death of a child at the hands of another child is the theme of a new drama series that starts this week. However, "Aishiteru — Kaiyo" ("I Love You — Forgiveness") (Nihon TV, Wed., 10 p.m.) goes beyond the shocking premise of child homicides to explore how families of both the victim and the perpetrator work through such a tragedy toward some kind of recovery.

After she discovers that her son Tomoya (Issei Kakazu), a fifth year elementary school student, has not gone to his cram-school class that afternoon, Satsuki (Izumi Inamori) demands that he tell her the reason. Eventually, he reveals to her that he killed somebody. Meanwhile, another mother, Seiko (Yuka Itaya), is at home worried. Her son, Kiyotaka (Shion Sato), a second year elementary school student, should have arrived home from school hours ago.

A lighter, more romantic theme is the basis for another new drama series, "Smile" (TBS, Fri., 10 p.m.), which stars Jun Matsumoto as Bito. In the day, Bito works at a food-processing factory and at night he moonlights at a bar.

One night, he notices one of his colleagues slipping some white powder to Yuki, a regular female patron. Later, Bito learns that Yuki has been arrested for possession of illegal drugs. The police come back to his place of employment, and Bito is afraid that he will somehow be caught up in the whole terrible affair.

Bito is so worried that he barely notices the young woman, Hana (Yui Aragaki), who has just joined the accounting department at the food-processing company. In a way, it's easy not to notice Hana, since she has come down with an illness that has temporarily robbed her of her ability to speak.

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