Episode 2 of The Journalist begins with Matsuda at hospital, worried about her older brother Kohei. Last episode we saw him convulsing and fitting wildly on the bed. As she heads in, Matsuda calls softly to try and wake him up.
Meanwhile, Murakami is briefed on his new job. He’s to filter out massive amounts of information and weed out the people who could be obstacles and problems to the Eishin Academy scandal. That includes all journalists and public figures. Of course, this will likely lead him to both Suzuki (who’s still thoroughly disgusted over what he’s done) and Matsuda.
After a tense chat inside the Bureau, Matsuda shows up outside to talk to Suzuki. He’s haunted, wound tight and unwilling to talk. His wife realizes as much back home when he’s standoffish and refuses to even talk to her.
Part of this comes from his moral obligation to the state, but also from shielding his younger colleagues too. At work, he implores Kurosaki to let him change the records himself to save their careers. In doing so though, Suzuki saves the original copies on a YSB stick, cleverly covering his own back incase everything goes awry.
Suzuki doesn’t talk to anyone about this though, not even his own wife. She’s been following the news and admits that night that she’s worried about him. Suzuki strains a smile, pointing out that he’s sworn to secrecy. The thing is, this level of stress is bound to snap at some point. In the shower that night, he struggles to compose himself.
Eventually though, Suzuki does tell her that he’s done something awful, struggling to compose himself and stop the tears from flowing.
News of the tampered documents are leaked to the press through an anonymous source. Kurosaki believes it may be Suzuki and outs him in front of the Chief. Suzuki categorically denies it but news that the Finance-Director about to resign overshadows this tense chat.
Marukami learns about this too and is encouraged to “clean up” this situation. His admission of being partly responsible for the man’s resignation falls on deaf ears.
The thing is, Murai is going to testify before parliament. Like many things in politics, the Directors believe this is going to blow over in a few months, as long as they can weather the storm and hold tight.
One character who can’t hold tight is Suzuki. Following the shameful fabrication of documents, he’s lost. On his way home, Matsuda follows and catches up with him. He looks close to admitting the truth but thinks twice about it at the last minute.
The next day, Murai opens up in front of the whole nation and admits to the fabrication. However, he also clears the Prime Minister or his office too, claiming they weren’t involved in his decision. Instead, he throws the entire Finance Bureau under the bus. The testimony is also completely useless, given Murai keeps avoiding questions, but our central characters know how damning this is.
Yagawa from the Public Prosecutor’s Office soon shows up to see Suzuki. He’s not in a good way. Trembling, he tells them he had no choice and was forced be a part of this. Tears rolling down his cheeks, the Prosecutor reassures him they just want to know what he knows.
One thing he doesn’t show them though is the USB stick, holding all the incriminating evidence. Up on the rooftop, he hands it over to Mr Kurosaki, entrusting him to do what’s right. Suzuki’s also reassured that he wasn’t transferred solely for the altering of documents, despite what Matsuda may have led him to believe. Suzuki has his doubts.
With the pressure too much to bear, and the guilt overwhelming, Suzuki heads home and hangs himself.
The Episode Review
This episode features some absolutely beautiful editing. The cuts between our three main characters as the scandal starts heating up is beautifully done and it ties in nicely with the soundtrack, which is both haunting and pulsating.
Not only that, The Journalist has a way of weaving its story across these three different characters, taking bits of the facture film Spotlight and weaving that into a topical and timely story about political corruption.
This has been a really powerful watch so far and as the scandal continues to heat up, it would appear that Suzuki isn’t going to be the only casualty in this.