I still remember all the ribbing this one got @ LJ and even though I do agree with a lot of it, I still think SP isn’t half bad as action cops shows go. The flaws seemed to annoy other people much more than me, heh. I’m definitely very fond of it, in fact enough to finally having done what I’d wanted for a while – re-watch it. 🙂
A short, nonspoilery intro:
SP, also known as Security Police (SP Metropolitan Police Department Security Police Division, 4th District) is based on the real life security police unit of Japan, which is responsible for protecting domestic and foreign VIPs. The drama centers on a newly recruited SP officer named Kaoru Inoue, who is the only SP officer known in the force to have sharp senses that enable him to conduct his duties to take down the threat before it appears to threaten the VIP and the civilians who are caught in the middle.
I was about half way through when Hidden Identity started so I had bit of fun comparing the shows as they are somewhat similar in context. Hidden is the flashy, slickier one but I like the more grounded and matter of fact tone of SP, even with that one fantasy-esque element in it. It’s also less of ‘this is very serious bizniz’ and has nicely inserted, understated humour in the mix. Both have an older, established actor playing the leader of the gang with a ‘pretty boy’ hero with past issues working under them and a competent team rounding up the crew. Both teams even have a sole female who knows her stuff and can kick ass with the best of them. The stories also have an over arching storyline with shady shenanigans and a Big Bad, though who/what the BB is differs quite a bit. You can bet there’s corruption! In typical jdrama fashion SP has no romance (thank god!), though some could say the OTP is Inoue/Ogata, LOL!
Besides the drama long arch there are couple of separate cases, each taking 2-3 episodes to solve and it becomes obvious quite soon that they all tie in to the main theme in some way. Some people had issues with this set-up but I quite liked the individual stories and their length. The drama consists of 11 episodes + a special (which is useless) and two movies that conclude the story. I would have been quite happy with just the drama, ambiguous ending notwithstanding. The special was just a collection of scenes from the drama strung together and didn’t bring anything new to the table. I’ve read some really ranty writings about the movies and how they basically ruined the end. I wouldn’t go quite that far but in retrospect, they did mess up with some of the things that made the drama itself enjoyable. Plus the reason for that ambiguous ending turned out to be rather lame. They had 4 years to make up something feasable but ‘that’ was all they could come up with. So yeah, I do understand the vitriol but as I’ve already mentioned elsewhere, I tend give actiony cop stories quite a bit leeway. 😀
Inoue and Sasamoto demonstrate what to do when Da Big Boss is watching.