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Two new tough-guy crime dramas; CM of the week: Gasutoru

Kyodo News

There are a lot of crime and mystery serials this season, and as with most drama series they tend to star popular young female actresses or ikemen (handsome guy) actors. TV Asahi, however, is bucking this trend: Its crime and mystery drama series feature middle-aged men. Taking off from the success of its perennial winner, “Aibo” (“Partners”; Wed., 9 p.m.), TV Asahi is offering two new crime dramas with shibumen (serious guy) characters.

“Honboshi: Shiri Tokuso Jikenbo” (“The Real Criminal: Psychological Investigation Casebook”; Thurs., 8 p.m.) stars Eiichiro Funakoshi, the “king of two-hour mysteries,” as Dr. Kirishima, a psychiatrist who works with the police in extracting incriminating information from suspects.

In this week’s episode, Kirishima and his team are summoned to the rooftop of a condominium where the corpse of a woman has been discovered. They find traces of the woman’s blood as well as the murder weapon in her apartment, and Kirishima wonders why the killer moved the body up to the roof.

Right after “Honboshi” is “Kokuhatsu: Kokusen Bengoin” (“Accusation: Public Defender”; Thurs., 9 p.m.), which stars aging romantic leading man Masakazu Tamura as Sahara, a lawyer assigned by the court to defend suspects who can’t afford their own counsel. Usually, such attorneys have a reputation for being sloppy and unimaginative, but Sahara is conscientious and thorough, even though his wife was murdered by a man he once defended, a tragedy for which his daughter, a physician, still blames him.

This week, Sahara is assigned to defend a man accused of arson and murder, and who refuses to talk about the charges against him. At first, Sahara believes the man has been railroaded by the police and prosecutor, but he has nothing to go on until a young woman comes forth with an alibi for the suspect.

CM of the week: Gasutoru

Former Japan national soccer team coach Takeshi Okada is answering questions from the press as shutters click; or that’s what we assume is taking place, since all we can see is Okada’s head and shoulders and the end of a microphone.

Last year, Okada took the national team to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, after which he started appearing in commercials for Gasutoru, a stomach remedy made by SS Pharmaceutical. One spot featured nothing more than a closeup of Okada’s unsmiling face during a match, implying that the stress of competition was playing havoc with his stomach.

Now that he’s no longer the national coach, Okada is asked about his future, specifically projections for his digestive system in 2011. He smiles and says, “I don’t think I can predict the condition of my stomach.”