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Tokyo Vice Finally Reveals the Fate of Sato

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Tokyo Vice started many steps ahead of other TV shows with an engrossing series premiere directed by the inimitable Michael Mann. J. T. Rogers adapted Jake Adelstein’s memoir Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan into a moody, muscular foray into Japan’s criminal culture and how it affects the country’s media outlets, economics, and entertainment industry. (Apparently boy bands like Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync were huge among yakuza hardbodies in the late ’90s and early aughts — who knew!) The first eight episodes saw American-expat reporter Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) and virtuous detective Hiroto Katagiri (Ken Watanabe) ally as a war for power and territory built between Tokyo’s gangs. Finale “Yoshino” brought that tension to a head with one out-of-nowhere cliff-hanger: Rising Chihara-Kai member Sato (Show Kasamatsu) stabbed seemingly to death by yakuza “brother” Gen (Nobushige Suematsu) in an act of revenge. Now, Vulture exclusively presents Tokyo Vice’s season-two trailer with a vital revelation: Sato is alive!

“Ever since the finale of season one, the question I’m asked — daily, constantly, on multiple continents — is, ‘Is Sato alive!?’” Rogers tells Vulture.

Tokyo Vice was conceived as a multi-season series, Rogers adds, so the timing of Sato’s stabbing and recovery was “in the works for a long time.” Even still, executive producer and director Alan Poul admits, “We underestimated the level of viewers’ attachment to Sato. Just the possibility that he might die elicited a strong emotional response.” Sato’s back, all right, but his brush with death complicates his relationship with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Sam (Rachel Keller), and tests his commitment to the Chihara-Kai, where he’d already felt a sense of weariness by the time of his attack. What happens if the clan learns one of their own stabbed him? Sato’s gravelly voiced oyabun and father figure, Ishida, played by Shun Sugata, probably won’t be happy.

“Sato’s a classic conflicted hero. He’s volatile, he’s murdered people, and yet we see how deeply his moral quandary impacts him,” Poul says. “Show’s uncanny emotional transparency lets you see what Sato’s feeling in any given moment, but it’s still impossible to predict what he’ll do next.” Tokyo Vice season two premieres February 8.



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