Episode 2: The collaborator
Sumimoto establishes Ramon Vargas, the Colombian diplomat suspected of having links with the terrorist ‘Fish’, as his collaborator. But just as the team is about to make contact with Ramon and put him under police protection, he collapses right before them. He had been given a lethal injection to the neck by an unknown person.
Kurata is critical of Sumimoto’s methods. Sumimoto fearlessly smiles and laughs it off, but Kurata attacks him for his handling of a case which resulted in the death of a Russian spy. Kurata proceeds to accuse Sumimoto of bypassing him and going straight to Ariga to obtain the permit to detain Ramon. Then he unceremoniously declares that he will make sure both their careers are destroyed if this mission fails.
An international counter-terrorism conference in Tokyo emerges as the terror target from the information that Kanazawa retrieved from Ramon’s personal belongings. In addition, the confiscated 50 million yen bank notes that Ramon had paid to Tanimura, were found to have traces of the same components as a cardboard box used to contain food seasoning. Four shops in Tokyo stock this food seasoning. This can only mean that one of these shops is a front for an underground bank that is the source of the terrorist organisation’s funds. Sumimoto asks his collaborator, Nick, for help to look for the underground bank. And so, Nick searches a provision shop for signs that it is running the operations.
Meanwhile, Hina, who has been monitoring the activities of Julio Rossi, an Italian working as the manager of a private bar for expatriates, discovers that he has got close to Shimomura Aiko, a hairdresser. Hina talks to Kubota about Aiko, reminiscing how they had become acquainted three years ago when she was in the Traffic Division and had been put in charge of the traffic accident that had left Aiko’s husband, Seiichi, in a vegetative state. With this recollection comes the uneasy realisation that Sumimoto had selected her to join the unit because she knows Aiko. Unable to confide in Kubota any further, Hina seeks out Igarashi. When Hina confesses she is appalled that Sumimoto has no qualms making use of a pitiful person, Igarashi tells her to quit since she does not have what it takes to gain a collaborator, “A handler must have a deep bond with his collaborator that others cannot penetrate. It means having to accept and assimilate your collaborator’s entire personality.”
Sumimoto holds a covert meeting with Nick at a hotel room. As he gives instructions to Nick for their undercover operation to confirm the location of the underground bank, Masayo, Nick’s pregnant wife, turns up. Accusing Sumimoto of being a hypocrite, she says she does not want him near her family and tries to lead Nick away. However, Nick tells Sumimoto that this will be the last job he accepts from him. The team determines from the undercover operation that the terrorist organisation obtains funds through the provision shop which is run by a man named Marquez.
Hina declares that she will secure Aiko as a collaborator. Sumimoto tells her that there are three stages in the process. The first stage involves establishing a good relationship with the collaborator. Sumimoto instructs Hina to thoroughly investigate Aiko’s background so that she will know everything about her. Then, he calls Igarashi to thank her …!
At that moment, Kurata, who suspects that Sumimoto’s mission is connected to the international counter-terrorism conference, orders Takizawa to use the Third Section to keep tabs on him. Sumimoto is quick to notice this. He protests and tells Takizawa to withdraw, but this falls on deaf ears. Thus, both Sumimoto’s team and the Third Section are on Marquez’s tail when he leaves the provision shop and travels on the train. Before long, Marquez realises that he is being followed just as Sumimoto catches sight of the foreigner who had been captured on footage with Ramon at a petrol kiosk. This was the same man seen at the private bar. He might be ‘Fish’ …! However, he gives them the slip and escapes. Marquez is arrested but he only knows the names of the people who made transactions with him.
With this turn of events, Aiko becomes the team’s only lead. Hina pretends to coincidentally come into contact with Aiko at a supermarket and renews their acquaintance. This brings her to the second stage of the process. It is to take care of the people around the collaborator to win her trust and gratitude. So Hina visits Aiko with materials on nursing care, and suggests that she get a helper or volunteer. However, Aiko turns her suggestion down, saying that it is her duty to care for Seiichi …
The following day, Hina visits Aiko again and catches sight of Julio leaving the hairdressing studio. This time, she casually brings up the topic of the private bar he manages, and mentions that she has been told to check the place by her superior. “If I can get a floor plan of the bar, I will be able to report that there is nothing amiss …” she tells Aiko. Aiko immediately offers to help Hina, and shows her the membership card that Julio had given to her. “I wish to reciprocate your kindness,” Aiko says. She goes to the bar and draws the floor plan for Hina, but Sumimoto seems dissatisfied when he sees it. There is a secret room in the rear that Aiko could not enter. Sumimoto decides that it is time to proceed to the third stage. Hina is to come clean with Aiko and secure her as a collaborator.
Hina visits Aiko with Sumimoto. Sumimoto passes a wad of bank notes to Aiko, saying that it is for this month’s installment. She will receive the same amount each month and they can even provide a more conducive healthcare setting for her husband. Hina reveals to a perplexed Aiko that they are foreign affairs police, not detectives. Sumimoto briefly tells Aiko about the case and asks her to be their collaborator because she is the only person who can keep tabs on Julio without rousing his suspicions. Aiko realises that this is the reason why Hina had got close to her. “I wish you hadn’t lied to me from the start,” she says to Hina. In response, Sumimoto points out that they were both lying to each other, and provokes Aiko by bringing up her affair. Calling her devotion to her husband a sham, he accuses her of being responsible for the traffic accident and trying to allay her guilt by caring for her husband. “You can do it! You’re a woman who can do great things!” This angers Aiko who tells them to leave.
Have they lost the only lead they had left?
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Just wanted to say that Sumimoto is a scary man… Goodness. But I do love this character. I hope they managed to maintain the quality until the end. Such a gem!
He’s deliciously manipulative … and terrifyingly scary in the way he can turn on the charm at one moment, and be brutally business-like the next moment. Like some shape shifter.