Cold Case ep1 [first impression]


**Subtitle is available here.

 Based on the American police procedural television series, Cold Case (2003-2010), WOWOW teamed up with Warner Bros in conjunction with the station’s 25th anniversary to produce a remake, the Japanese version.

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As I’ve never watched the original series, I’m not sure if the remake follows similar format but judging from the pilot, I can already tell from the vibe that this has a Western atmosphere rather than your typical Japanese crime series. For one, there’s no overacting which often feels off-putting (for me personally) when it comes to cop shows. I really don’t need annoying cops who act like clowns or spoiled brats which is already abundant in Japanese crime dramas. Secondly, the overall tone is serious or no-nonsense so there’s no overused comical crap. Everything feels more genuine and realistic as far as the working environment goes. Thirdly and thank god gender discrimination is absent here. We all know how much crap female cops get in typical Japanese police dramas. It’s as if having double XX chromosome automatically grants them permission to make your life miserable. What era are we living in?

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Just based on those points, Cold Case is already a plus on my list. Yoshida Yo plays Ishikawa who’s the leader of her team in Division 1 (meaning they deal with murder cases). The drama focuses heavily on the case, at least that’s the impression I got from the pilot. They spend 90% of the time questioning the people involved in the unsolved case 20 years ago with flashbacks in between to complement whatever the people tell the cops. The other 10% is interaction between the team members which seems scarce at the moment but you can see that they’re all serious about solving the case and nobody’s being a spoiled brat. There’s also unspoken respect for Ishikawa who’s the only female in the team. No harassment at all. The rookie’s probably a little surprised with her being the leader but that’s it.

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Judging from the pilot, it seems the show will be episodic. The pilot opens with a flashback from 1996 where a father is pleading his son to return to his side. Later the son turns up dead with a will.

Present day, Ishikawa arrives at a crime scene where a pair of mother and daughter fell. The daughter died while the mother is currently unconscious. Before she could work on the case further, a woman tells her that she witnessed a murder victim being dumped at the road side 20 years ago.

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Asked to reopen the case, Ishikawa and her team start questioning the people involved. The questioning are nicely done with flashbacks to show us what happened 20 years ago with little hints given until the end when every puzzle piece falls into place. I’m not going to reveal any spoilers.

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 I appreciate the procedural aspect which involves a lot of interrogation even though it’s lacking action. Then, there’s just a really minor gripe. What bothers me is how easily the people involved spill their story when for 20 years, they’ve kept them secret. Ishikawa and her team basically just need to question and at times, provoke them a little and someone gives the big reveal away. But like Ishikawa said earlier on, as time passes, situations may change for the people involved that may prompt them to open up. Like I said, this is minor and overall, I still like the grim and heavy vibe. Also a nice touch when they use Oasis’s Don’t Look Back in Anger song at the end, single released in 1996, which corresponds to the year the case takes place. Whether or not they’re going to use different songs according to the year or theme of the case, we’ll have to see.

Definitely worth checking out if you like no-nonsense police procedural.

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The simple opening/closing sequence is neat.

The next episode seems to return to the present day case involving the mother and daughter.

Onto the next episode!

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2 thoughts on “Cold Case ep1 [first impression]

  1. First time commenting on your great blog! Thank you for your work by the way 😀
    I’m a fan of the original series, and I just wanted to say that I’m glad the Japanese version kept the musical link to the era investigated. I discovered a lot of gems in the episodes taking place in the 40’s/50’s/60’s, and it helped me immersing myself within the story.
    I hope the Japanese version will keep at it 😀

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