I caught the drama “The Detective I Hate”/ “Watashi no Kirai na Tantei” (私の嫌いな探偵) on the Waku Waku Japan channel, retitled “Addicted to Mystery”. It ended this week and I thought I should “detox” while it was still fresh in mind.

Ukai and assistant Ninomiya (d-addicts.com)

Detective Ukai Morio (Tamaki Hiroshi) runs a one-man private investigation office specializing in searching and finding lost pets or extra-marital affairs, desiredly, of rich and famous clients. One day, a cheap rent offer arrives at his mailbox. Though it sounds too good to be true, he takes it up and moves his business to a building owned by Ninomiya Akemi (Gouriki Ayame). Of course, it is too good to be true. In exchange for the cheap rent, Ninomiya, a mystery/detective-story addict, tags along with him, becomes his assistant —more like a commentator—, and prods him, with money, to solve the grittier cases of murder instead of finding lost pets.

The police, mostly Inspector Sunagawa Goro (Watanabe Ikkei) and Police Officer Miki Kaoru (Yasuda Misako), often consult Ukai on cases. After clearing Tomura Ryuhei of being the suspect in one of those cases, Tomura joins the team. A mysterious homeless, who knows everything and anything, also helps as external consultant-cum-informant when there seems to be no lead. So they go about solving murder cases, and finding lost pets on the side.

 

 

Wha—?

I like mystery, comedy, both together, and I don’t mind slapstick either. I still found the rerun of Trick, with Abe Hiroshi and Nakama Yukie, cringe-worthy yet enjoyable and amusing. I even laughed a little. My first reaction after watching the first case of “Watashi no Kirai na Tantei” (in two episodes) had been a quiet hope that the show would get better. But after a couple of cases, I concluded that this was corny, slapstick for the sake of slapstick, and crass.

Saying it an insult to intelligence is probably too much but while it tries hard to present a parody of mystery-solving/detective stories and shows, it didn’t even bother to grace the audience a recognition on why we love mystery-solving stories so much: trying solving the mystery while the show is rolling. Being told now and again that ‘this is the part where we are running around for clues’, ‘we need to do this for rating and what-not’, and ‘oo-it’s-so-excitiing’ when you get into this knowing the nuts and bolts of a detective story, those nudges sure make your blood boil.

Yup. Ninomiya annoys me soo much. Whether it’s her ridiculous deduction or failures in cooking, rehashing the case with her girl-detective club when five minutes ago we already have been told as much, thank you very much! Or them all running around for clues and non-clues, she is tiring to watch. Of course, her insights into the perpetrators’s motives, which come suddenly out of the blue, help little in improving her image of pretty little rich girl having too much time and money on her hand.

But at least Ninomiya manages to incite a rant as a response when the others fail. Except the omniscient homeless (couldn’t catch his name) informant, they are mostly bland, including Ukai. Ukai is the usual cool and detached detective who only cares about solving the mystery and cares not about the sob-stories of the perpetrators. There is never an attempt to actually pose a question whether he is a genuinely great detective. We know he would get the answer in the end and bask in glory of a breathtaking denouement. And that is all he amounts to. A waste of talents, I should say. Both Tamaki Hiroshi and Gouriki Ayame can be interesting when their characters demand it.

I understand this is a parody. I did laugh out loud once on a skit in which the Inspector (Watanabe Ikkei, always a reliable dead-pan comic) reminisced about an old case he could not solve. I laughed some more in that episode. but that’s it.

I understand it also mocks the formulaic structure of detective stories: a dead-body, a seemingly impossible murder, a list of suspects, the trick of the murder, and then the denouement. The drama busies itself with planting “red herring” and fillers with the reconstruction of possible and improbable scenarios of the murder, sometimes funny sometimes embarassing. There is a hell lot of talks and words, frankly neither funny nor interesting, that I skip with the fast-forward button. They are tiring.

Then again, I am sure I am not its intended audience.