To begin with, here is a summary of the storyline. As usual, if you do not wish to know the developments nor ending of this drama, please skip this review.
Umezawa Rika (Harada Tomoyo), an ordinary housewife becomes the centre of media attention as she is the suspect in an embezzlement case involving a huge sum of JPY 100m and has skipped town before the police arrested her. The story shows Rika having escaped to a Southeast Asian country (location shooting in Chiangmai, Thailand) as details of what happened to her prior to her escape get disclosed through her reflections and the recollections of her best friends from senior high school i.e. Chujo Aki (Nishida Naomi) and Okazaki Yuko (Mizuno Maki).
Rika came from a very wealthy family and was studying in a private girls' high school when she met Aki and Yuko. Even at this young age, Rika had a strong opinion of her own and would not hesitate to make her point known e.g. object to the school imposing a limit on how much money the students could donate to charity but not on contributing money to the school's expansion. However, Rika's family underwent an upheaval later on, causing them to sell off their assets to pay off their debts. After graduating from college, Rika worked briefly at a credit card company before she met her husband Masafumi (Mitsuishi Ken) and became a housewife. At the suggestion of Aki, Rika later began working part-time at a bank.
One day, while at a house visit to one of the bank's important customers named Hirabayashi Kozo, Rika meets his grandson Kota. The relationship between Kozo and Kota is far from rosy as Kozo thinks that his family members are just eyeing his fortune. This encounter turns out to be the turning point in Rika's life as she and Kota start to meet up and later develops a relationship. Kota misunderstands that Rika is a rich man's wife and starts to depend on her financially as well. In a bid to keep up appearances and continue supporting Kota's needs, Rika starts to embezzle money from her clients' accounts by forging deposit receipts and tricking them into buying fictitious financial investment products.
When Masafumi gets transferred to Shanghai for work, he automatically assumes that Rika will follow him there. However, Rika's reluctance to give up her job as well as her relationship with Kota makes her say no. By the time Masafumi returns to Japan after his Shanghai stint, he seems to have undergone a change and has become more understanding towards Rika. However, Rika's relationship with Kota has hit the rocks and she has sunk too deep into the financial trap she created for herself that the only way out for her is to go on the run. In a bid to spend time with Masafumi before she does that, Rika agrees to going on a short trip with him and later disappears under the pretext of heading overseas for a friend's wedding.
Rika is faced with the dilemma of having to extend her visa by crossing over to another country but she is scared of being nabbed if she is flagged as a wanted person at the customs. On the other hand, the toll of being on the run makes Rika toy with the idea of going to the customs anyway since she should be repatriated. At the end of the drama, Rika is shown walking towards the customs checkpoint but it is not stated specifically if she's caught by the authorities or allowed to cross the border without any problems.
Honestly speaking, I do not think that Rika really loves Kota. She probably wasn't attracted to his looks nor personality in the first place. However, Kota's need for her and her money was what Rika was drawn to. Since Masafumi didn't seem to think of her as being important to him, Rika found her desire to be needed in Kota. That's why she didn't seem overly upset when Kota was seeing another woman later. If she had been truly in love with him, she would have reacted more strongly instead of letting him go so easily.
What I found really surprising was Masafumi's attitude towards Rika after the case came to light and she had skipped town. Going by his obnoxious attitude towards her in the past, I would have expected him to express rage at his wife's affair with Kota and draw a clear line between him and her actions. However, seeing him apologise in public for what she did and him obviously being willing to wait for Rika to come back just seems to suggest that he still had some feelings for her and was ready to reconcile with her if she did come back. Perhaps the time they spent apart did good after all as it made Masafumi see how Rika mattered to him?
As for the supporting cast, due to the limited airtime given to them, it was hard for them to make a deep impression since the story is all about Rika. Nonetheless, I thought Aki's story was more interesting compared to Yuko's which was a bit too cliche.
And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 6 out of 10 (There were times when I wished that the pacing would pick up and more attention given to Aki's and Yuko's character developments which would make the story more interesting.)
Acting: 6.5 out of 10 (Harada Tomoyo does a credible job as Rika but too bad the story didn't allow the other actors to have a chance to shine.)
Theme song/BGM: 5 out of 10 (The ending theme did not leave much of an impression on me.)
Visual effects / Scenery: 5 out 10 (Other than the scenes shot in Thailand, and some random outdoor scenes in Japan, there really wasn't much scenery to talk about.)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 5 out of 10 (I don't know if the lack of chemistry between Harada and Mitsushima was on purpose. In addition, due to Rika not having met her friends for most of this drama, there really wasn't much chemistry to speak of.)
Total: 27.5 out of 50