Fall to Winter, 2010, Mystery/Suspense JDorama that starred Kanno Miho as Nogami Meiko and Tamaki Hiroshi as Mashima Takuro, with Meiko being a mild-mannered dog groomer with a curious past and Takuro being a detective on the hunt for a criminal.
At age seventeen, and while still in high school, Meiko was accused of lacing some chocolates with poison that killed her brother-in-law and his son.
Stranger still, no one, not even her mother or older sister took her side, and even her appointed attorney turned a blind eye to the truth or her desperate pleas for justice.
She spent nearly twenty years behind bars and emerged with vengeance on her mind while also conveniently acquiring the pet grooming position at a posh shop run by a wealthy and charming woman in the city.
People left & right are committing suicide, and always is left behind a red envelope.
Our dashing detective has his own ghosts haunting him, though, and at the start of this spell-binder, he seems more preoccupied with his own, sordid past than with the current situation going on around him - especially in the office.
He lost his first partner in a gruesome manner, and shortly thereafter he ditched his hot, detective girlfriend to go it alone - always assuming he'll somehow manage to figure things out and return to who he once was before taking that next step and never succeeding without the help of those closest to him - namely, the chick he dumped to mope, and the brother of his deceased partner who is obviously just as anxious as the damaged detective to see justice prevail.
The drama makes no bones about revealing culprits right away, and even after hearing about the strange circumstances surrounding the inevitable incarceration of the seventeen-year old girl, the story never grew tedious or bothersome in the eleven episodes it took to weave this interesting and unusual tale.
There is romance involved, but not in typical mode, and it was easy to become drawn to each of the characters regardless of their good or evil roles, too.
The last, few episodes were what really worked for me and had me suspended in mid-air until the last, few frames, when I kinda-sorta knew and had a sneaking suspicion from about episode three onward that it would be the case, but was still surprised when the truth was finally revealed.
And, I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe that animals - dogs especially - will cuddle up to anyone with evil intent.
I just, don't buy it.
WATCH THIS ONE!