Fugitives on the run; CM of the week: Higashi Nihon

If you remember “The Fugitive,” either the 1960s American television series or its 1993 movie version starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, you’ll have a good idea of the appeal of “Tobo Bengoshi” (Fugitive Lawyer; Fuji TV, Tues., 10 p.m.), a new drama series that starts this week. In the original TV series, main character Dr. Richard Kimball was fleeing from a false murder conviction and every week would end up in a new town where he became involved with some local situation that required his skills as a physician. In the Fuji TV series, based on a comic, the hero Makoto Narita (Yusuke Kamiji) does the same thing except in this series he utilizes his legal knowhow to help people.

In the first episode, the young Narita comes to the office to find his mentor dead, and is then attacked. He wakes up in the hospital, where the local prosecutor (Kazuki Kitamura) interrogates him and later charges him with murder, arson and breach of trust. Knowing he cannot fight the charges without finding the real murderer, Narita escapes.

Another fugitive is the hero of another comic book spinoff, “Hammer Session” (TBS, Sat., 7:56 p.m.), which also starts this week. Yongo Otowa (Mokomichi Hayami) is a “genius con man” caught by the police, but en route to the police station he manages to escape from the paddy wagon and hides out in the nearest building, a high school.

The principal of the high school discovers Otowa and offers him an unusual deal. He will harbor the swindler if Otowa impersonates one of the teachers whose home room class contains the school’s most unruly students. Otowa accepts the challenge.

The title of the series is a term used by Mexican gangs for the tough initiation ceremonies that new members have to go through. Using his skills as a confidence man, Otowa endeavors to whip these problem kids into shape.

CM of the week

NTT Higashi Nihon: The young female narrator tells us that everybody in Tono, Iwate Prefecture, “looks forward to Thursdays.” We see an elderly woman applying makeup in front of a mirror, and an old man leaving his house, which seems to be in a remote area.

The older folks of Tono assemble on Thursdays in the civic hall, where they socialize and converse and also receive medical advice via an optical fiber network from a doctor who can interact with them through a two-way camera setup. On hand is a nurse to help facilitate the system, which is provided by NTT to rural areas where physicians are scarce.

The patients have a grand old time, which means the NTT fiber optic service really does re-create a clinic environment. Many old people go to hospitals regularly not because they’re sick, but because they know all their friends will be there.