[2012-JDrama] Suitei Yuuzai
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■ TV Show: Suitei Yuza (Presumed Guilty)
■ Romaji: Suitei Yuza
■ Japanese: 推定有罪
■ Director: Kosuke Suzuki
■ Writer: Youichi Maekawa
■ Network: WOWOW
■ Episodes: 5
■ Release Date: March 25, 2012 --
■ Runtime: Sundays 22:00
■ Language: Japanese
■ Country: Japan

Shinozuka (Jun Kunimura) was convicted of killing a child 12 years ago and has been incarcerated since, but Shinozuka proves his innocence. Journalist Kayama (Toru Nakamura), who covered the story back then, was sure of Shinozuka's guilt. Now, the journalist realizes that he made a mistake. Lawyer Ishihara (Hitomi Kuroki) criticizes the poor investigation. Detective Asada (Takanori Jinnai), who arrested Shinozuka 12 years ago, thinks about Shinozuka. Besides them, Shinozuka's daughter (Yuika Motokariya) is not comfortable with her father being released after 12 years and the victim's sibling (Mimura) is hit by mixed emotions.

* Nakamura Toru as Kayama Seiji
A freelance journalist with Shukan Choryu. An article he wrote 12 years ago turns out to be incorrect, and he agonises over this irreparable mistake. He and Suzuki Hiroko are colleagues.

* Kuroki Hitomi as Ishihara Yoko
A skillful lawyer who speaks for Shinozuka Yoshio who was wrongfully convicted. She ridicules doing whatever it takes to achieve objectives, but she has a hidden past. A friend of Kuribashi Nobuyuki during their university days.

* Mimura as Suzuki Hiroko
The elder sister of the murdered Suzuki Tomoko. She selflessly devotes herself to her parents who have never recovered from the death of their younger daughter. She has mixed feelings when she learns that Shinozuka Yoshio is not real criminal.

* Motokariya Yuika as Nagata Miho
Shinozuka Yoshio’s daughter. Her father has been released from prison because he was wrongfully convicted, but she finds it difficult to accept. She cannot even talk about her father to her boyfriend Takamura, who is her pillar of emotional support.

* Terajima Susumu as Katsuragi Naoto
A mysterious man who holds the key to the case 12 years ago. He is always marked by the police, but is quick to run away.

* Aijima Kazuyuki as Kuribashi Nobuyuki
A lawmaker of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. Ishihara Yoko’s university schoolmate. He has set his eyes on the election and devotes himself to activities that boost his image.

* Ryu Raita as Yoshida Einosuke
The current Cabinet Secretary. He makes conciliatory gestures of state compensation for the wrongly convicted Shinozuka Yoshio. He is from the same political party as Kuribashi Nobuyuki.

* Kunimura Jun as Shinozuka Yoshio
Sentenced to prison for a crime he did not commit, he spent 12 years behind bars. During that time, his wife, Satomi, passed away. He hopes to be reunited with his daughter, Miho.

* Jinnai Takanori as Asada Kunio
A detective with the First Investigative Division. 12 years ago, he mistakenly arrested Shinozuka Yoshio. In order to pursue the real criminal, he tenaciously continues with his investigation. He worried about the lonely Miho while Shinozuka was in jail.

* Kusabue Mitsuko as Ota Kanae
The head of an association that supports Shinozuka Yoshio. Shinozuka who wishes to see his daughter Miho, and she tries to bring the two of them together.

* Mitsuishi Ken as Suzuki Noriyuki
* Matsuo Suzuki as Sakai Hiroaki
* Nakamura Shunsuke as Naruse Minoru
* Shiba Toshio as Urai Shigeru
* Hakamada Yoshihiko as Maehata Goro


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Suitei Yuuzai – Press Conference

In recent years, advancements in DNA technology have led to an increase in the discovery of new facts in past criminal cases. This theme of wrongful conviction forms the basis of WOWOW’s third drama for 2012, Suitei Yuuzai, which will have scriptwriter Maekawa Yoichi and director Suzuki Kosuke working together for the third time since Soratobu Taiya and Shitamachi Rocket.

Suitei Yuuzai tells the story of a journalist who receives news that he made an innocent man into a criminal in a young girl’s murder that occurred 12 years ago. Nakamura Toru stars as the protagonist, Kayama Seiji, who reported on the case at that time in the belief that the man, Shinozuka, was the criminal. But this proved to be wrong after the passage of 12 years. The lives of Kayama, the accused, family of the victim, police, lawyers, judiciary and press get turned upside down as a result of this false charge. Shinozuka’s daughter, Miho, and the victim’s older sister, Hiroko, played by actresses Motokariya Yuika and Mimura have mixed feelings and find it difficult to accept this new reality.

“It’s scary to know that other people’s lives can change because of something that is written, especially with Twitter and blogs now. No matter how everyone shrugs off their resolve and regret, can they move forward? After you go back to your offices, please take care not write articles that hurt WOWOW employees and their families, and us.” Nakamura laughingly tells the media present at the press conference.

Nakamura likens his role to that of a sandbag that gets pummeled by all sorts of people and discloses a scene in one of the episoodes where co-star Kuroki Hitomi shocked him with her line, “‘What you’ve done cannot be judged by the law but it’s a crime all the same.’ The inflection at the end cut into me. It was sharp. If we compare it to boxing, it’s like a punch that crushes the internal organs. I thought the technique was impressive, but for a split second, my heart went out to Kuroki-san’s husband,” he jokes, making the audience laugh.

“I considered how I could hurt the other party and did this and that. In any case, it had to be an unpleasant expression so I tried as much as possible to say the line with a sense of nastiness,” Kuroki says of scene where she levelled criticism at Nakamura’s journalist character. Kuroki plays Ishihara, the lawyer for Shinozuka who blames the police and mass media for creating the false charge and sues for the suffering during the 12 years he lost.

When asked about personal experiences of wrong accusations in conjunction with the drama’s theme, Kuroki shares the fright she experienced as a child when she was mistaken for a thief in a classroom, and muses that once a person is wrongly accused, there would be a chain reaction where everyone would think it is this person.

The five-part drama will be broadcast every Sunday at 10.00 p.m. from 25 March.
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First Glimpse of Suitei Yuuzai

Suitei Yuuzai is an original work written by scriptwriter Maekawa Yoichi, who adapted Ikeido Jun’s Soratobu Taiya and Shitamachi Rocket for WOWOW.

With advancements in DNA technology in recent years, there have been incidents where new facts about cases that happened in the past are being found. Among them are wrongful convictions that have ruined many people’s lives. The tragedies brought about by misrepresentation are the failure to catch the real criminal as well as the pain of the person charged with the crime and mistaken for the guilty party. Then, there is the victim of the case, the people around the victim, and the people around the person pinned with the guilt. It has an impact on many people.

The story opens with Nakamura Toru’s character, journalist Kayama Seiji’s hasty return to Japan from a war zone where he has been covering the news when he is informed that Shinozuka Yoshio, a man sentenced to prison for the murder of a young girl 12 years ago was recently proven innocent at a retrial and released. Back then, Kayama had written in an article in Shukan Choryu that Shinozuka was the prime suspect

Without listening to Shukan Choryu’s editor in chief who tries to stop him, Kayama arrives at the venue of the press conference held by Shinozuka and his lawyer. The victim’s older sister Suzuki Hiroko played by Mimura, is also there. Hiroko has joined the press conference with mixed feelings after learning that the man she has hated for taking her sister’s life is actually innocent.

At the press conference, Shinozuka announces that he will file a suit against the state for redress for the 12 years he had lost. The moment Shinozuka comments on the subject of compensation, the media who are present get into an uproar over his demand. Veteran actor Kaname Jun stars as Shinzokua, the man at the centre of the storm. He was taken away by the police one fateful day 12 years ago and never came home after that. During that time, his wife died. His young daughter, Miho, has grown up but refuses to see him even though he has been proven innocent.

After the press conference, Kayama is surrounded by journalists who question him about his part in the article written 12 years ago. He flees the venue as he gets mobbed and goes after Shinozuka and his lawyer who are trying to leave.

Soratobu Taiya and Shitamachi Rocket, two dramas with casts of skilled veteran actors and similar underdog theme of small business going up against big corporation, but of vastly different quality. Where Soratobu Taiya was a tightly paced, well-rounded, intense story of fighting for what is right and battling conflicting personal desires without getting overly sentimental, Shitamachi Rocket was an indulgent, sentimental, heavy-handed tale of fighting for what is right and holding on to dreams with some interesting legal intrigue but a huge dollop of moralising.

That said, Jinnai Takanori is a questionable casting choice. Of all the many able-bodied middle aged men to play detective, it had to be a man whose idea of acting is to make bug eyes. If we’re into a drama reunion of scriptwriter, director and actors, could it not have been Osugi Ren or Endo Kenichi?

The five-part drama will be broadcast every Sunday at 10.00 p.m. from 25 March.
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