Tokyo Vice Episodes 1 -3 are the first three instalments of a crime drama created by J.T. Rogers based on the 2009 book of the same name by Jake Adelstein. The series is set in 1999, as American student Jake Adelstein becomes the first foreign-born journalist in Japan and starts at the very bottom at the Meicho Shimbun newspaper covering the Tokyo police beat.
S P O I L E R S
Tokyo Vice Episodes 1 -3 introduces us to the bizarre world of Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) as he navigates life as a ‘stranger in a strange land’. While Adelstein has assimilated himself in Japanese language and culture, he discovers that Japanese newspaper operate very differently to what he is familiar with in the USA. Basically, as far as the police beat is concerned, the journalist will take his/her cues from the police. The newspapers simply report what the police present to them and there is little room or tolerance for investigative journalism that will upset this status quo.
But Adelstein refuses to comply with this newspaper-police understanding and his dogged determination to get to the truth behind a murder and a suicide – which the report judge to be unrelated – both victims involved with the Japanese criminal underworld viz. the Yakuza. Adelstein ultimately develops a relationship with Hiroto Katagiri (Ken Watanabe), a detective in the organized crime division, and Katagiri becomes a father figure for young Adelstein, as both men get caught in the web of dangerous gangster activities.
Tokyo Vice Episodes 1 -3 takes its time to lay out the narrative before us, without any part of the story being ponderous or boring. Thematically, Adelstein is presented as a classic ‘fish out of water’ but manages to obtain information through his tenacity and street smarts. Episode 3 ends with Adelstein being taken away by the Yakuza, will his investigation become life-threatening? Recommended for anyone who is keen on Japanese culture and crime dramas.
Now streaming on HBO Max.
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