In HBO Max’s Tokyo Vice, the upcoming series helmed by Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider) and Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi, Short Term 12), cops, robbers, and journalists all work together to keep crime numbers down in the yakuza underground. Enter Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort), the only American police reporter for Japan’s largest newspaper, Meicho Shimbun, who is in way over his head.
The first episode of Tokyo Vice introduces Adelstein as a classic Mann protagonist. Focused and overeager, he tries his damnedest to conform at the paper. However, as the only gaijin (“foreigner” in Japanese) staffer, he sticks out like a sore thumb. “I’m trying really hard to get it right, to fit into their system,” he says, “which is mentally tyrannical.”
In this exclusive clip from that episode, directed by Mann in his first time behind the camera since 2015’s similarly themed thriller about a white American in East Asia, Blackhat, Adelstein lays it all out: “I’m on the police beat,” Adelstein tells Samantha (Rachel Keller), the star hostess at Tokyo’s opulent Onyx club, a gray area on the show where police and gang members commiserate. Samantha lives in the ecosystem Adelstein desperately wants to infiltrate. “So stories about guys like that,” she responds, nudging her head toward the up-and-coming yakuza henchman Sato (Shô Kasamatsu), whom Jake will link up with later in the season.
Of course, that clip is just a taste. In Tokyo Vice, viewers will descend into a complex underworld that Mann fans know all too well. Shot on location in Tokyo, it’s a neon-soaked tour of the yakuza-run city at the precipice of a long-simmering gang war.
Tokyo Vice premieres with three episodes on April 7 on HBO Max, with two new episodes rolling out every week through April 28.