'Tokyo Vice' Director Alan Poul Explains Key Moments in Finale of HBO Max Series (Exclusive)

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Tokyo Vice season finale] The season finale of Tokyo Vice was released on HBO Max this week and had its share of surprises. From Sato (Show Kasamatsu) getting stabbed to Jake (Ansel Elgort) and Katagiri (Ken Wantanabe) joining forces after their fallout, the finale of Tokyo Vice leads to a compelling second season (which has not been officially been renewed yet). In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Alan Poul, the director of the final episode and executive producer of the show, explained key moments in the finale including the stabbing of Sato. 

"We were very carefully weighing the balance of things that would be tied up and answered and resolved, so you could feel satisfied after watching Episode 8, but also very specific cliffhangers that we wanted to set up in anticipation of Season 2," Poul exclusively told PopCulture. "So I think Sato getting attacked is probably the biggest of the cliffhangers. And it was very much designed that way. And that's why we were trying to keep alive the idea of the character of, again, one of the lower members of the Chihara-Ka, who's the guy he beat the crap out of on the roof in Episode 3, and who has had his face beaten up for a lot of the season and the resentment that he felt. That was always designed so that he could come back out of nowhere and attack Sato at the end of Episode 8.

(Photo: Photograph by James Lisle/HBO Max)

Tokyo Vice tells the story of Jake Adelstein (Elgort) an American journalist who works for a Japanese newspaper. He starts at the bottom covering the police beat and quickly gets involved in the dangerous world of Japanese organized crime. Jake gets help from Katagiri, a detective in the organized crime division. After a falling out towards the end of the season, the two get back together as they realize they need each other to take down Tozawa (Ayumi Tanida) a leader of a crime family. 

"Jake and Katagiri is the other central relationship of the show," Poul said. "And we made a point of keeping them apart for basically two episodes. Episode 7 shows Jake desperately trying to reach Katagiri, and Katagiri not answering his messages, after he told off at the airport at the end of Episode 6. And then all throughout Episode 8 they're still not in contact. And so I think you can kind of feel that it's inevitable that they will come back together. I think on some level, the viewer understands that we can't end the season without bringing Jake and Katagiri back together, but we waited until the very last minute to do it."

Another central relationship is Jake and Samantha (Rachel Keller). They had a falling out but joined forces in the finale to search for Rachel's friend Polina (Ella Rumpf). Rachel is a hostess in the Onyx Club. She was saving money to start her own club, but the money was stolen in the finale. 


"We've always had this triangle at the heart of the show, of Jake, Samantha, and Sato," Poul explained. "And because Jake and Sato have kind of a little bit of a bromance almost going on. And then both of the guys are very much infatuated with Sam. And so it's this Sam and Sato romance that really heats up and provides most of the heat for the season.

"But what she and Jake have in common is something that is in some ways, even deeper because they understand each other's predicaments so keenly. Because they're both the Gaijin outsiders in this culture and also dealing in an aspect of the culture that carries some danger with it. So I think to show them at the end to have them come together and join forces and show how deeply they appreciate each other was something that was important to do as we brought the season to a close."