First Impressions: BORDER Episode 1

Halloween must have come early because two Spring dramas talks about ghosts. Oguri Shun‘s comeback drama after “Rich Man Poor Woman”, “BORDER” tries to be different in dealing with murder cases by knowing the killer first before gathering clues to indict the killer. Here is a quick recap of BORDER:Episode 1

While everyone tries to avoid death, Police Officer Ishikawa Ango (Oguri Shun) welcomes it as someone’s death due to murder means work and he’d rather spend his time working than do anything else.

Often times, Ishikawa would wish that someone will get killed. The grim reaper must have heard him that the next thing he knew, it was his time to die by getting shot on the head.

He was shot while he did his routine before entering a crime scene- patrolling the perimeters. While Ishikawa fades in and out of consciousness, he swore to have died and came back to life.

The surgeon told him that a bullet was lodge into his brain, pulling it out means that his heart must be stopped again. Thinking that he won’t be able to take it if he dies again, Ishikawa decides to hold-off the surgery for now even if it means that the said bullet holds the clue about who shot him.

Ishikawa wants to resume working but his immediate superior, Ichikura Takuji  (Endo Kenichi) is more concern on his psychological well-being than his physical health (not just because he has a bullet in his brain but getting shot might affect his performance due to fear).

Ishikawa insists that he’s fine, as Ichikura leaves, Ishikawa felt something rung in his ears that causes him to stagger. He lied to Ichikura that it’s just the heat. As Ishikawa sits down to compose himself, he sees a little girl hugging a teddy bear in the middle of the lawn.

When Ishikawa goes back to his room, he witness a couple crying, but what stops him is the teddy bear that the woman (mother) is holding.


Seeing the concern on his face, a nurse approaches Ishikawa and informs him that the couple just lost their little girl few minutes ago. Ishikawa recalls the little girl he saw at lawn; thinking that everything is just a coincidence, he decided to ignore it.


Ishikawa returns to work and despite Tachibana Yuma‘s (Aoki Munetaka) professional jealousy over Ishikawa, he is genuinely concern if Ishikawa will be alright since the new case that they will be handling is pretty big.

The new case involves Sawada family who have been murdered. As Ishikawa’s self protocol, he goes around the neighborhood and sees a suspicious looking woman in the park overlooking the victim’s house.

He questions the woman and the woman introduces herself as Higa Mika (Haru), the new coroner who was hired while Ishikawa was recuperating. Ishikawa finds it weird that not only she doesn’t wear a jumper/jumpsuit, which is like the standard uniform for coroners, it was also unlikely for a coroner to go around the area after their job is done. Higa says that she does things differently and eventually leaves.


As Ishikawa and co. prepares to enter the crime scene, he had another episode (you know, the ringing of ears that makes him dizzy, which will happen often so let’s call it an “episode”) and not long after, he sees a (super cute) little boy who seems to be talking at him but Ishikawa can’t hear a sound.

The detectives entered the crime scene and quickly notes blood stains left by the killer’s shoes. The father is found dead downstairs, while the mother is found at the bedroom with the most stabbed wounds.

No fingerprints were found from the windows like the place has been wiped clean. Ishikawa lifts a picture frame and immediately recognizes the little boy he saw earlier; after which he has another episode and when he looks back, he saw the Sawada couple standing by the door in their pajamas and begs him to catch the culprit.

Ishikawa was called by his superior where they learned that the family is a member of some religious cult. The neighbors have also informed the police that two members of the said cult was seen fighting with Sawada-mama since the family wanted out of the cult and wants her money returned.

At the police station, Hagi expertly does her autopsy as Ishikawa and Tachibana looks-on. Hagi and Ishikawa had a conversation afterward where Hagi told Ishikawa that the victim’s nails was trimmed and clean with alcohol. In short, they found no DNA sample of the suspect. Furthermore, the way the family was killed, it’s likely that the killer is crazy.

Since Hagi also has a medical license, Ishikawa asks Hagi if it is normal for a person who suffered a brain injury to start seeing things. Hagi says that it’s highly possible but since brain research is still in early stages, no one really knows for sure.

Ishikawa and co. went to the religious cult center to interview two of their members that was seen by the neighbors arguing with the mother. Ishikawa and Ichikura interviews one of them while Tachibana gets the other one. While Ichikura asks the suspect for his whereabouts during the time of incident, Ishikawa had another episode and sees Sawada’s kid murmuring something and sits beside the suspect.

While the suspect checks his schedule on where he was during the incident, the Sawada couple arrives in a much different clothing; and tells Ishikawa that the man in question is not the killer and that they know who he is. So, Ishikawa asks, “who is the killer?”


Afterward, Ishikawa had a walk with the ghosts, and the two said that it was Kurahashi‘s son who killed them; Kurahashi is the insurance lady. The said son is not someone they really know but everytime the family would see him and say hi, the son will have this strange look in his eyes.

Ishikawa asks if they have any evidence to indict the killer and the mother said that she managed to scratch his face and the wound should still be there. They also added that as far as they know, he worked alone.The Sawada’s disappeared as a bicycle passes-by.


That night, Ishikawa heads to Kurahashi’s home to interview the son, the son appeared with a band-aid on his cheek, and said that he is at home when the incident happened. His mother arrives and verifies that her son’s alibi.

Not only is her son at home from 12mn to 5am, she also added that she cooked dinner for him at 11pm. Err, dinner at 11pm? Isn’t that loophole enough or is it fairly normal to call an 11pm meal a dinner because we call it “midnight snack” around here.


Ishikawa sits alone in one of the police’s vacant rooms where he interviews Sawada-mama about other particulars on the killer, like the clothes he wore during that time. However, Sawada-mama’s goosebump moment is when the killer turned the lights on before he kills her because “it’d be a waste if he didn’t see everything”.

Ichikura arrives, much to Ishikawa’s surprise, and told him that the higher-ups have decided that one strong lead and those two gurus from the religious cult will be arrested.

If Ishikawa doesn’t find any strong lead on his own suspect, then his work will go down the drain. Ishikawa decided to do it the dirty way by planting a fake witness, and he goes to Akai (Furuta Arata) for help.


Akai is an underground leader who had deals with Ishikawa’s boss, Akai waives his fee since it’s Ishikawa’s first time and even taunted him that Ishikawa’s boss once told him that he has a subordinate who will never go the illegal way, and that subordinate’s name is Ishikawa.


The next day, a homeless-looking man went to the police station and testified that he saw a man at the park the night of the incident. The man also described the guy’s clothing to match Sawada-mama’s description of the suspect.

Ishikawa saw the homeless-looking man the picture of Kurahashi’s son in “facering”. XD. and the man confirmed that he is the guy that he saw that night. Ichikura have a fairly-good idea that the homeless-looking man is only testifying as instructed but he kept mum about it.


A planted witness is still a witness and Ishikawa gathers more evidence to indict Kurahashi’s son. When they’re done, he and Tachibana waits at the other end of pedestrian for Kurahashi-san and invited her for coffee to straighten facts.

Kurahashi again insisted that she and her son are at home during the time the Sawada’s were killed. Ishikawa showed his first evidence to break her alibi, Kurahashi was seen in a convenience store around 1145pm, the time she said she was at home and cooking dinner.

She said that she got thirsty and went out to buy tea, then decided to take a walk afterward. Tachibana retaliates that why would she be in a conbini 2kms away from home and why would she have to carry a huge bag on her supposed-to-be walk.

In addition, the register receipts said that she bought gauntlets and nail trimmer during that time. Kurahashi still remains mum. Then, Ishikawa whips-out pictures from Sawada’s murder scene.

Kurahashi refuse to look at the picture especially when Ishikawa whips-out the little boy’s murdered body. To rattle Kurahashi’s conscience further, Ishikawa relates his own near-death experience, on how he was holding-on to that sinister force that seems to be watching him just to stay alive.

And that what makes Kurahashi spill everything. Mother and son are partners in crime with the crazy son killing as he please while the mother literally cleans-up his mess.

Kurahashi also admitted that even though her son is like that, when he calls crying for help, she can’t say no. Really, there should be a limit to a mother’s love.

Kurahashi’s son was then called for interrogation but he won’t budged and didn’t believe that his mother have sold him out. It was during the interrogation when Ishikawa had another episode and saw Sawada’s kid, the little boy simply points at the man as the killer.


There are only two people who noticed that Ishikawa’s eyes is elsewhere but the suspect, Hagi who is on the other side of the mirror and the suspect himself who got irritated when Ishikawa gives him a death glare. Ishikawa stood-up, murmured something to the suspect and he was clearly gobsmacked from what he heard.


Ishikawa also said that based from the “chemical analysis” of the patient, he might be suffering from mumps since the Sawada’s kid is infected by the virus and he’s likely to have been infected.

Once the suspect have confessed, everyone who is watching the investigation asked Ishikawa what did he say to the suspect that made him lost his composure. Ishikawa said the very line that the suspect said before killing Sawada-mama. You know, about the lights thing, but Ishikawa said that it was only a bluff.

Hagi also questions him about the so-called infection since there’s nothing from the lab results. Ishikawa said that its just a bluff. As Ishikawa goes back to finished his report, the Sawada’s bid him goodbye.


The next time Ishikawa is on the crime scene, he’ll look for the ghost and asks, “who killed you?”


When I first heard about BORDER, I thought that this drama deals with border security issues like “Border Security Australia” so I was surprised when I read the synopsis. After watching this first episode, I hope they did a border security drama because that will be more exciting than this.

I know that BORDER tries to be unique by catching the killer in a reverse way by first identifying the killer followed by looking for evidence to indict the killer. Ofcourse, this won’t be even possible without the help of a ghost. The first episode is kinda bland for my taste, it lacks the excitement of finding-out who the killer is from the clues provided because you already know the killer in the first place.

The case for this episode is really boring and that the motive for killing the family is pretty shallow. Okay, so Kurahashi’s son is crazy and crazy people are void of reasoning so the motive is moot. However, there should be something that got Kurahashi’s son bad side to start killing people and not just because he felt like it.

I also don’t like Ishikawa (Oguri) “episodes”, it’s something like the medical drama called “Godhand Teru” where the Teru gets chest-pains everytime someone is on the verge of death and he’ll do some miraculous  medical interventions just to save the person. Can’t he see ghost the normal way, if there is such thing, and quit with all those “episodes” as if the bullet in his head have transformed to some of a ghost radar.

I must admit though that ghosts still gives me goosebumps even though this drama portrays ghost like any alive human being sans the blood, panda eyes, and flour-white skin. Knowing that those are ghosts are enough to give me creeps, which reminds me that I watched this drama at night.

All in all, I’d rather watch a deka drama who do investigations the conventional way like Oguri Shun’s “Tokyo Dogs” and I’d rather see him paired with a human sidekick that a ghost sidekick.

I’m not sure if I’ll be recapping more of this drama, maybe if the second episode will grab my interest, or maybe not.


Usual disclaimer applies.



2 thoughts on “First Impressions: BORDER Episode 1

  1. I found this drama very interesting because the dead are the ones who guide Oguri to finding the criminals. However, by the end of 3rd episode, the focus seems to be on how dark Oguri will get in order to solve cases(because he starts using illegal methods in his investigation). The drama is titled Border because Oguri is on the brink of turning into a rogue detective.

    Liked by 1 person

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