Is Tokyo Vice Really Canceled After 2 Seasons? There Might Be a Catch

Is Tokyo Vice Really Canceled After 2 Seasons? There Might Be a Catch
Image credit: Max

Tokyo Vice has been canceled. But is it all doom and gloom?


  • In June 2024, Max announced the cancellation of Tokyo Vice.
  • The reason given was the creators' decision to end the story.
  • However, the series may be picked up by another company.

In April 2022, Tokyo Vice, a neo-noir crime drama based on Jake Adelstein's memoir of the same name, debuted on HBO Max (now known simply as Max). High ratings and viewership secured the series a renewal for a second season, which debuted in February 2024 and garnered even more critical and audience acclaim.

The story of the criminal underbelly of 1990s Tokyo proved to be one of the best in the genre, thanks to its realism, emphasis on factuality, gripping drama and terrific performances.

Unfortunately, early last month it was announced that Max had decided not to renew the series for a third season. Of course, this was incredibly disappointing for fans, but perhaps all is not lost. Let's get to the bottom of why Max abandoned Tokyo Vice and whether it has any chance of being revived.

Why Was Tokyo Vice Canceled After Only Two Seasons?

Both the show and the memoir, titled Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, expose the ways in which Tokyo's nightlife conceals sinister criminal underbelly. The gruesome reality of yakuza crime and illegal businesses, drug and sex trafficking, and cold-blooded killers was a horrifying reality of everyday life in late Showa and early Heisei Japan, unbeknownst to the average tourist today.

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Such a candid story with detective elements, full of noir and neon glow, has incredibly impressed critics and viewers. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the first season received an 85% score and the second season an even higher 94%.

But that didn't stop Max from deciding not to renew the show after Season 2. According to a June report from Variety, the reason was solely due to a mutual decision to finish the story as told in Jake Adelstein's book. This was stated by Sarah Aubrey, head of Max Original Programming, and confirmed by series creator J.T. Rogers.

Does the Show Have a Chance of Finding a New Home?

However, there may be other undisclosed reasons for the cancellation. For example, according to Tokyo Location Box, which operates under the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the budget for the first season was $80 million. It is likely that the second season cost the same amount or slightly less due to the reduced number of locations. According to executive producer Alan Poul, the production process was also complicated by the peculiarities of dealing with local police and business owners:

'The location process here, like everything else, is incredibly labor intensive. It involves taking a small gift — a box of sweets or rice crackers — to every shop owner and sitting down with them to cultivate a relationship. Their primary concern is going to be that the shoot will not disturb their neighbors and regular customers, because your relationship with those around you is sacrosanct in Japan.'

In other words, Tokyo Vice, for all its success, turned out to be incredibly expensive and resource-intensive. In fact, the series is representative of the very "prestige television" of HBO. Only HBO did not dare to face the difficulties of the production process. Therefore, it is not known whether other platforms would be willing to take on such obligations. Perhaps the creators of the series should write down the idea for Prime Video, which is not stingy with expenses.

However, in a joint statement, Rogers and Poul noted that the show has the potential to be revived:

'We know there is more story to tell. Of course we'll see what the future holds, but we are indeed grateful to have been able to share this story on Max until now.'

Source: Tokyo Location Box, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety.