Michihito Fujii’s 2019 film “The Journalist” was an unlikely success story. A blunt critique of the administration of then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it seemed like commercial suicide; instead, it became a sleeper hit and went on to win three Japan Academy Prizes, including for best picture.

The drama — loosely based on the exploits of Tokyo Shimbun reporter Isoko Mochizuki — also had some major shortcomings, which makes this Netflix adaptation feel like a good opportunity, rather than merely opportunistic.

Fujii is back in the director’s chair, and the series uses the same heavily stylized aesthetic as the film, though the casting of TV veteran Ryoko Yonekura in the lead role — taking over from South Korean actress Shim Eun-kyung — sets a more conventional tone.