The Japanese have always had a thing for locked room mysteries, it’s a staple of their mystery shows, both live action and animated. Detective Conan, for instance, routinely deals with locked room mysteries and it’s over 700 episodes and still going strong.
I came across this series called Kagi no Kaketta Heya quite late, I had missed it when it came on originally but thought it looked like a lot of fun after I discovered it. Lets take a look at The Locked Room Murders.
Aoto Junko is a new lawyer on the firm and Serizawa Gou is her boss. They specialize in corporate law, but when Aoto accidentally locks her boss and the bank president inside a time-locked vault, they call in Enomoto Kei, who works for Tokyo Total Security, to get the door open before the air runs out. He manages to unlock the “unbreakable” vault in just 17 minutes, which is far too long as far as Enomoto is concerned. Impressed with his prowess, Aoto and Serizawa call on him time and time again as they come across locked room mysteries, which fascinate Enomoto. He is an expert in all kinds of locks and thinks there isn’t a locked room he can’t somehow unlock. Murder after murder is solved as Enomoto surveys the scene, works out the clues and declares “the locked room has been unlocked”. Serizawa becomes quite famous and takes credit for solving these mysteries, he even appears on television because of the success of his team in bringing murderers to justice. But is there more to this than meets the eye? And what of Enomoto, is he exactly what he seems to be?
Actor-wise, I think the casting is quite good. Ohno Satoshi stars as as Enomoto Kei, the security geek with a fascination with locked rooms. I was actually quite surprised that he hasn’t been in anything that I’ve seen before, mostly because he’s been outside of the mystery genre. I’m going to have to keep an eye out for him and hopefully he’ll do more genre series in the future. Toda Erika plays Aoto Junko, the lawyer and foil for Enomoto. She’s been in a couple of good shows, like Boss and it’s sequel. Sato Koichi is Serizawa Gou, Aoto’s somewhat clueless law partner and, like Satoshi, doesn’t seem to have been in anything I’ve seen, although he is in something I’m still waiting to see, Saigo no Bansan~Keiji Tono Kazuyuki to Shichinin no Yougisha~.
The end of the series is somewhat of a shock and one that my wife really didn’t like. See, as I hinted above, Enomoto isn’t really what he seems to be. In the final 2-part story, we discover that Enomoto isn’t the quiet and wise security technician that we thought, he’s really a jewel thief and he’s been spotted on security cameras at a dozen different robbery sites but nobody can really pin him to the crimes. He steals more than a million dollars in diamonds at the end of the series and we’re left to wonder if he was just casing for potential heists or if he really wanted to solve murders. After all, there are plenty of cases where valuable objects went missing during the series, such as the one where an old man supposedly weighed down a body with gold bars, but where did those gold bars really end up? Enomoto hops on a plane at the end of the series for points unknown and while he never admits that he stole anything, he never denies it either. We’re left wondering exactly what happened and was he really guilty of all of those crimes. I actually liked the ending, where we’re led to believe he’s a thief but we really don’t know.
There’s a special that will air in January that hopefully will clear everything up. On the one hand, I really liked Enomoto and I don’t want him to be a thief, but on the other, it’s such a unique twist, one that really was never hinted at openly, but in retrospect you can see how it makes sense. Either way, I’m really looking forward to the special, just to see how the series plays out and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a second season. I think everything worked out great in this series and I’m ready for more.