Wow, this one was a long time coming, wasn’t it? We have had it sitting in our “to be watched” pile for a very long time, although certainly not since 1999, and finally got around to sitting down to see it. Keizoku is seen as a “groundbreaking” police drama in Japan and for good reason. But how does it measure up to some of my favorite shows of the past? Let’s find out.Daughter of a celebrated detective and graduating at the top of her class, Jun Shibata is assigned to a section of the police force dedicated to solving “unsolvable” cases. She is perpetually late for work, but shows both the skill and dedication to bring these cases to a successful close, surprising everyone around her.
This is one of the first, if not the first, J-drama detective shows to feature an unsolved case division. It’s weird watching it and having everything feel so familiar, only to realize that all of the shows that came after got their tropes here.
I will say that most of the cases were decent enough but as the series went on, things started to get a bit weird. There were plenty of places in the series where you had to wonder what the director was taking because it didn’t play out as you’d expect. It really took until the end of the last episode to see where they were headed and even then, I don’t understand some of it.
Honestly, I don’t know how much good it will do looking back this far at the actors and actresses in this series, but let’s give it a shot. Nakatani Miki stars as Shibata. Although she’s still active in J-dramas today, I can’t say I’ve seen her in anything else. Watabe Atsuro played Mayama Tooru and he was recently in a series I will review sooner or later, ON. And then there’s Tokui Yuu, who has been in a ton of stuff, such as Trick 2, Puzzle and Hancho.
To be honest, as much as this series deserves praise for setting up the modern Japanese detective series, I think that later shows put these ideas to better use. Now maybe that’s looking back at a show that is almost 18 years old, I can recognize the potential there, but see that it could have been done better. This is especially true when you look at the special and most especially the movie, which are both far inferior to the show. And of course, this show spun off into a sequel 11 years later called Keizoku 2: SPEC, which I reviewed here. And really, I think I prefer that series to this one.