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Movies and shows like Tokyo Vice: What to watch before season 2
Tokyo Vice was a critical and audience hit on HBO Max earlier this year, so it was no surprise to learn that Tokyo Vice season 2 had been greenlit in June 2022. If you’re a fan of the original crime drama, you may be wondering which movies and shows like Tokyo Vice you should watch next. We’re here with some suggestions.
Tokyo Vice is loosely based on American journalist Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction account of his time working on the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat in the 90s. It follows a young journalist out of his element, learning about Japan’s criminal underworld and the notorious yakuza crime syndicate.
So, read on for a list of movies and shows like Tokyo Vice. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can get all caught up ahead of Tokyo Vice season 2 by hitting the link below. And if you’re not an HBO Max subscriber, you can sign up.
Another fish-out-of-water look at criminal underworlds, Giri/Haji is a show like Tokyo Vice from a Japanese perspective. Split between Tokyo and London, the Netflix and BBC co-production sees a Tokyo detective searching for his brother in London. Presumed dead, the detective’s brother may be in hiding among London’s criminal underground after being accused of brutally murdering the nephew of a yakuza member.
Miami Vice (the series)
Clearly borrowing its title from the 80s classic, Miami Vice certainly belongs among shows like Tokyo Vice, if only as a legacy pick. Miami Vice creator Michael Mann actually executive produces Tokyo Vice and directed the premiere episode. The NBC drama follows Vice cops Crockett and Tubbs in their distinctive 80s wardrobes as they fight, primarily, the 80s cocaine boom in Miami.
Miami Vice (2006)
Michale Mann’s return to Miami Vice with his own 2006 film remake allowed him to play with his visual style, aligning it more closely with the HBO Max series. As a movie like Tokyo Vice, it shares far more with the new show than the original NBC series does. The film follows Crockett and Tubbs in contemporary Miami. The late stages of the War on Drugs add a darker edge to the premise, and Mann absolutely shines.
Branded to Kill (1967)
There are plenty of yakuza movies, many of which earn a spot among movies like Tokyo Vice. One of the best, hands down, is Branded to Kill. This crime film classic from cult auteur Seijun Suzuki sees a Japanese contract killer botching a hit. Now, he has another hitman hot on his trail.
A show like Tokyo Vice in tone more than content, strictly speaking, True Detective is an anthology series that sees detectives solving grizzly crimes. The series famously features major time jumps, allowing characters to reflect on how they handled (or mishandled) their cases in hindsight.
Black Rain (1989)
Another story of Americans getting a firsthand lesson in the inner workings of the yakuza, Black Rain was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia. Two New York cops arrest a murderer, not knowing he’s a yakuza member. They find themselves escorting him back to Japan but are soon tracking him through Tokyo when he escapes custody on his home turf.
City on a Hill
A district attorney in Boston looks to clean up the city as it falls to corruption and crime. He reluctantly teams up with a dirty FBI agent in the hopes of breaking into the criminal underground and setting things straight from the inside.
A show like Tokyo Vice in its treatment of cops on the drug beat, The Wire is one of the most critically acclaimed series of the prestige TV boom. The HBO drama looks at the Baltimore drug trade from various vantage points, offering perspectives including cops, dealers, distributors, politicians, and dock workers, among others.
All the Old Knives (2022)
A veteran CIA operative is tasked with investigating his own team when new information about an old case comes to light. Could there have been a mole among his old comrades? The Amazon Prime Video original movie features dynamite performances, as old allegiances and romances are tested in this slow-boiling thriller.
Those are our picks of the best movies and shows like Tokyo Vice that you can stream right now.
What will you be watching ahead of Tokyo Vice season 2 on HBO Max?