ATF: Nippon TV Internet Suspense Drama ‘Guilty Flag’ Pitched As Format

Recent Japanese suspense drama series “Guilty Flag” is to be launched at next week’s Asian Television Forum (ATF) as a scripted format by entertainment group Nippon Television.

“Guilty Flag,” which runs to twenty 60-minute episodes, follows a man whose wife and kids suddenly disappear. He frantically searches for them but has no leads. To convince the police to start an investigation, he uses the power of social media to bring their disappearance to the public’s attention. However, speculative minds begin to think that maybe he is the real culprit, and eyes are focused on him as he becomes driven into a corner. At the same time, as if to hint at the abduction of his wife and kids, their belongings are inexplicably found one after another, which sway him, the police and everyone watching this case.

It was created by the team that previously hatched hit suspense drama series “Your Turn to Kill” and was conceptualized by Akimoto Yasushi. It began airing in Japan from October on Nippon TV, and scored strongly with children, teenagers, and the 20-to-34-year age group.

“Guilty Flag depicts the harsh reality of today’s internet society where everyone can be a source of information, or worse, misinformation, and stories are created based on what may or may not be true. I am convinced that it is the perfect drama series for those of us living in this age,” said Nishiyama Mikiko, MD of international business development at Nippon TV.

As a format “Guilty Flag” “incorporates the latest trend of the enticing guessing game element where viewers can join in the excitement of guessing the true culprit following the story arc,” Nippon TV said. “ ‘Guilty Flag’ has gone viral on social media where viewers can speculate on the true culprit each time it airs on Sunday nights here in Japan. All the way to the end of the 20 episodes there are clues to the truth of the case keeping the viewers on their toes.”

Nippon TV unveils “Guilty Flag” at Treasure Box Japan, an online event to introduce the latest Japanese content at this year’s ATF.

Nippon TV has a strong track record in selling its shows as formats. It was behind the success of the Emmy Award-winning “Dragons’ Den” / “Shark Tank” business survival show that has 45 versions in 186 territories. Scripted formats included “Mother” and “Woman” (aka “My Life for My Children”) whose Turkish versions have become mega-hits that have gone on to air in almost 50 territories around the world, a first for a format from Japan. The company is also achieving success with gameshow formats “Block Out,” the award-winning show “Mute It!,” and “Sokkuri Sweets,” both sold to WBITVP and produced in the Netherlands. “Sokkuri Sweets” has also been adapted by The Roku Channel in the US, UK, and Canada.