Netflix’s Japanese film ‘In Love and Deep Water’ blends the murder mystery and romance genres into one through a peculiar scandal aboard a luxurious cruise. Suguru Ubukata, a master butler devoted to serving the Bellissima’s passengers to perfection, runs into a woman unlike anyone he’s ever met before. Nonetheless, Chizuru Banjaku’s reasons for being on the ship turn out to be less-than-pleasant as she reveals to the man that their respective partners are planning on cheating on them with each other.
Yet, neither can get the ship to change course and return to Japan in hopes of preventing their partners’ affairs. That is, until the duo, alongside five other passengers, witness an intriguing murder occur. Even more intriguing yet, everyone other than the butler seems intent on covering up the crime. Thus, the mystery brews across the cruise, leaving Suguru and Chizuru as the only ones who can get to the bottom of it. SPOILERS AHEAD!
In Love and Deep Water Plot Synopsis
Having worked on a luxury cruise ship as the top butler for a long time, Suguru Ubukata is used to people’s selfish demands and even caters to them every other hour. Yet, he isn’t bothered by them, in part because of the selfless love he has in his life thanks to his girlfriend, Wakaba Funabashi, a meteorologist. In fact, by the end of his 42-day voyage from Japan, with people like the famed Kuruma medical family and a mystical magician on board, Suguru is expecting to tie the knot with his longtime girlfriend.
Thus, his spirits dampen a bit when Wakaba informs him she won’t be able to make it to the cruise at the last minute. However, Suguru ends up crossing paths with another passenger, Chizuru Banjaku, at the Yokohama port, where the other woman was supposed to board. Chizuru, a storm of a woman in mismatched shoes, frantically looks around for Wakaba on the cruise until she recognizes the butler as the meteorologist’s boyfriend.
Unfortunately, Chizuru, who sneaked into her boyfriend’s messages, comes bearing bad news about her partner’s ongoing affair with Suguru’s girlfriend. Although she expects the man to help her turn the ship around to return to Japan and prevent their partners’ infidelity, Suguru tries to focus on her duties. Nevertheless, he eventually gives in to his curiosity and asks to look through Chizuru’s textual and photographic evidence.
Meanwhile, tensions run high for the Kuruma family, whose patriarch, Sohei, dubbed the godfather of the medical world, has decided to take his son off his will and bestow his entire wealth to his housemaid, Sakumoto. Furthermore, Sohei tells his daughter-in-law that he’s aware she had her daughter, Rena, from an extramarital affair. Therefore, he asks her to leave his son and his family without further notice.
As a result, Sohei’s daughter-in-law ends up pushing him off his wheelchair and into the ship’s pool under the dark cover of the night. A few hours later, Suguru and Chizuru, accompanied by five other passengers, including Sakumoto’s young son, stroll into the pool area, oblivious to the crime happening nearby. Still, they catch up to the program when they hear the sound of a dead body splashing into the water.
Suguru reaches out to the ship’s Captain, Hatsumi Yabuchi, in a rush to report the crime. However, the body disappears by the time the staff arrives at the pool. Worse yet, every single witness except for the butler refuses to testify.
As such, while Suguru gets suspended for his frantic behavior, Chizuru convinces him to persuade the witness to fess up. Thus, while Sohei’s son, Michihiko, and his wife hide the older man’s dead body in their room, the duo investigates the mystery behind his death. And if solving the crime comes with the benefit of turning the ship around to Japan for Chizuru to prevent her boyfriend’s affair, then that’s just an added bonus for her.
In Love and Deep Water Ending: Do Suguru and Chizuru End Up Together?
Although the reason behind Suguru and Chizuru’s meeting stems from the unfortunate turn of events in their respective but interconnected love lives, the duo surprisingly end up hitting it off together. They like the same aspects of each other’s personalities that their previous significant others dislike and complain about. Where Wakaba finds Suguru boring, Chizuru appreciates his inherent goodness. Likewise, while Chizuru’s boyfriend, Riyo, finds her less womanly, Suguru assures her the same is not the case.
As such, the chemistry between the pair remains obvious. Yet, it isn’t as easy for either to turn away from past relationships despite their aggravated states. Still, in investigating the case of Sohei’s death, the two continue to get closer to one another. Similarly, since Chizuru has access to Riyo’s chats with Wakaba, after figuring out his log-in information, she and Suguru get live updates about their partners’ misadventures.
Eventually, both decide to get back at their partners by staging a romantic photo of their own. Copying the other couple, Suguru and Chizuru take a photo of their shadows, making it appear as if they’re kissing each other. The moment ends up being more intimate than either imagined, unlocking something in their dynamic.
Yet, soon after, Riyo reaches out to Chizuru, admitting his mistakes and seeking a second chance. Once the option becomes available for Chizuru, she realizes Wakaba likely reached out to Suguru. At this point, despite his shortcomings, Riyo poses as a safer option than Suguru since what Chizuru has with the latter man is still new and unpredictable. Therefore, she decides to leave the Bellissimo cruise to reunite with her past relationship.
Even though Suguru attempts to stop Chizuru, she lets insecurities get the better of her and turns away even after the man confesses his feelings. Nonetheless, on the day of her deboarding, Suguru speaks to her through the departing announcements, sharing the depth of his feelings for her. Although they have only known each other for a while, Suguru has started to fall in love with the woman, which holds the same significance for the man as being in love.
Therefore, moved by Suguru’s grand romantic gesture, Chizuru returns to the cruise to be with the butler. The duo are finally ready to leave their pasts behind for each other and commit to a future together. However, before embarking on the adventure of their relationship, the pair must finish their murder investigation.
How Did Sohei Kuruma Die?
Although Sohei Kuruma’s death seems pretty straightforward at first glance, the situation begins to look more complicated under scrutiny. At first, Suguru and Chizuru simply attempt to get the witnesses to testify to the crime after his body disappears. Nevertheless, each witness has their own reasons to hold their silence.
The young couple, Shiori and Ryuki, are running away from the former’s father, a Yakuza boss, who is against his daughter’s relationship with Ryuki, who is a gang member. As such, neither wants the ship to be turned around to Japan since the Yakuza boss will be waiting for them. Thus, they hold their silence. Likewise, producer Aina and her companion Shintaro, an actor, are having an affair with each other and don’t wish to draw unwanted attention to themselves and remain silent.
The last witness, Kanato, Sohei’s housemaid’s young kid and Rena Kuruma’s companion, doesn’t want to put Rena’s parents on the heat. Therefore, each witness remains an immovable piece. Consequently, Michihiko and his wife, Misaki, are able to keep Sohei’s death under wraps until they locate the will and fix it to their liking. Eventually, the pair reveal Sohei’s death and blame it on a heart condition, almost getting away with the crime.
That is until Shintaro lands an audition for an artful film with international potential appeal. Since the audition is in Japan, Shintaro has a brand-new motive to turn the ship around. As a result, he shares the video on his phone that records the group witnessing a death near the ship’s pool. However, once Suguru confronts Michihiko and Misaki alongside the Captain, the man tries to turn the situation in his favor by pinning the entire blame on his wife.
Michihiko also has a video detailing when Misaki shoved Sohei into the pool. Still, the second recording unveils a different secret. Suguru and the others find out that Misaki’s attempt to kill her father-in-law happened hours before they found the man dead in the pool. As such, someone else must have committed the final crime, leaving Misaki to assume she killed Sohei.
Years ago, Sohei performed an organ transplant surgery on a patient sent to him by a cabinet minister. Nonetheless, the doctor utilized unethical means, leading to the death of an unwitting candidate. Years after, on the cruise, that candidate’s magician husband returned to take his revenge on the man. Although the magician continues to lurk in the background throughout the film, he swiftly avoids suspicions thanks to the interfamily drama unfolding within the Kuruma household.
However, in reality, the Magician found Sohei after Misaki pushed him into the water and helped pull him out with his cane. Nevertheless, the cane was electrically charged, hence instantly killed the other man. In the end, the Magician comes out with the truth himself, and even though the Captain locks him up in a cabin, the man suggests he can easily escape his imprisonment with his magic. Considering the Magician came forward of his own accord, it is likely that he already knew he’d be able to escape punishment. Meanwhile, Michihiko and Misaki receive their own share of consequences.