A TV adaptation of Jake Adelstein’s 2009 nonfiction book “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan” has been in the mix for a decade. The memoir, a recounting of Adelstein’s years living in Tokyo as the first non-Japanese reporter working for one of Japan’s largest newspapers, originally inspired a project that would’ve seen Daniel Radcliffe facing off against the yakuza in the form of a feature film. Now in the hands of playwright J. T. Rogers (HBO film “Oslo”), the series stars Ansel Elgort in the role of Adelstein. The 10-part series finds Elgort’s character embedding himself within the Tokyo Vice police squad to expose corruption. The HBO Max Original drops April 7, with subsequent episodes each Thursday. Watch the trailer below.
The crime drama series, filmed on location in Tokyo, captures Adelstein’s descent into the neon underbelly of Tokyo in the late 1990s, where allegiances are constantly shifting and no one is to be trusted. The rest of the cast includes Academy Award nominees Ken Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi, plus Rachel Keller, Ella Rumpf, Hideaki Ito, Show Kasamatsu, and Tomohisa Yamashita.
Elgort is still facing down backlash over sexual assault allegations that emerged in 2020, though he recently starred in Steven Spielberg’s Best Picture contender “West Side Story.” While Twentieth Century Studios downplayed his involvement in the film in marketing materials, Elgort is front and center on the poster for “Tokyo Vice” and featured prominently throughout the trailer.
The godfather of “Miami Vice” — both the hit ‘80s series, where he served as executive producer, and his 2006 feature film adaptation starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx — Michael Mann serves as both director of the pilot and an executive producer of the series. The trailer exhibits some of that trademark Mann slickness dashed with urban grime.
The series comes from Endeavor Content and WOWOW, Japan’s leading premium pay TV broadcaster, and will kick off April 7 with the first three episodes. Then two episodes will be released each Thursday, leading up to the April 28 finale.
J.T. Rogers created and wrote the series and also serves as executive producer.