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How HBO Max’s Tokyo Vice differs from Miami Vice

The latest TV series to hit HBO Max has a familiarsounding title. So how does Tokyo Vice compare to Miami Vice Allow us to explain with help from show creator J.T. Rogers and producer Alan Poul.Lets get the most obvious similarities out of the way first. Tokyo Vice and Miami Vice are both crime shows set in their respective titular locales and both involve the creative input of famed filmmaker Michael Mann. The executive producer of the original Miami Vice TV series and the director of the 26 film adaptation also directed the first episode of Tokyo Vice and served as an executive producer on the new show. However the title actually predates Manns involvement. It comes from journalist Jake Adelsteins 29 memoir Tokyo Vice An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan upon which the show is based

Ansel Elgort stars as a fictionalized version of AdelsteinIts an interesting genesis Poul tells EW. When Jake wrote his book he was a huge fan of both the series and the Miami Vice movie so he was making this winking reference with the title which we didnt really need to think about until Michael came on as director of the pilot. There was this moment of collective panic where we were like oh my god we have to change the name of the show! Everybody will think its Michael now doing the Tokyo version of Miami Vice. But in the end its what the book is called and the show stands on its own. Adelsteins perspective gives an important distinction between Tokyo Vice and Miami Vice

The protagonist of this story is a journalist not a cop. That means the momentum of the new show is about chasing down interesting stories rather than catching criminals. But the path to writing good newspaper stories brings Adelstein facetoface with both police like Ken Watanabes Detective Hiroto Katagiri and yakuza criminals. The lines between cops and robbers start to blur as Adelstein moves deeper into the Tokyo underworld and learns of the fragile agreements that maintain peace between different factions. The cops of Miami Vice would understand those blurred lines after all they often go undercover in order to bust drug dealers and sometimes struggle to separate their true selves from their adopted criminal personas.

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