Rachel Keller’s character of Samantha is explored, peeling back the layers of her past as a Mormon missionary in Tokyo in the late 90s.
Deputy Tokyo dives deep into Samantha’s story as a Mormon missionary in Japan and what brought her to her current dilemma. Rachel Keller plays Samantha Porter in Deputy Tokyo, an expat working as a hostess for an exclusive nightclub when the public first meets her. Samantha is presented as a strong-willed, determined, and professional woman working in Tokyo, but there’s a lot more going on with her, as the character’s ties to the past come back to haunt her present.
Deputy Tokyo is a loose adaptation of Jake Adelstein’s memoir, retracing his life as a journalist in Tokyo in the late 90s as he worked on crime beats, particularly covering the Yakuza, where he encountered all manner of individuals in the within that circle, including hostesses like Keller’s Samantha. Keller has been a constant presence on television in recent years, with a number of prominent roles on shows like Legion, Fargo, and dirty jeans. She is also set to appear in a number of upcoming feature film projects, including Butcher’s crossing with Nicholas Cage and A man called Otto with Tom Hank.
In the beginning Deputy Tokyo it is revealed that Samantha has a stash of money hidden away in her apartment, which she saved up to start her own club. It is revealed that she had originally stolen $40,000 from the missionary fund in order to stay in Japan when her mission ended. This theft did not go unanswered, as Samantha’s father paid a man to find her and presumably have her answer for her crimes. However, the man hired to find her has other ideas, blackmailing Samantha into demanding sex in exchange for not handing her over to the authorities.
Mormon Missionaries in Japan Explained (And How Accurate Samantha’s Story Is for Them)
Mormon missions, which are run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) aka Mormons, typically last two years for men and eighteen months for women (that’s the length of service of Samantha). Missionaries are traditionally in their late teens to early twenties (Samantha is 21 when she arrives) and are usually assigned a same-sex companion (which Samantha also has), both for support and responsibility. The mission can be centered on proselytizing or on the teaching of English as a means of proselytizing. For Samantha in Deputy Tokyo, teaching English is their goal, as they distribute flyers and end up recruiting men, women and children to attend classes. Mormon missionaries have a strict daily schedule during their mission, which involves morning prayer and study, before venturing out to proselytize until late at night. They are prohibited from watching television and movies, listening to secular music, or using the Internet, and are expected to remain focused on the mission from start to finish, following the guidelines of their missionary manual.
In Deputy Tokyo season 1, episode 5 “Everybody Pays”, Samantha is seen arriving in Japan in 1994, dressed in traditional Mormon clothing and looking much simpler than she does when first seen in the series as a hostess. She travels with her partner and they are later seen in a montage, wearing badges and canvassing locals on the streets and door-to-door for English lessons, traveling by bicycle or on foot, and living together in a small apartment, as is common. Samantha reveals that she is from Utah, where the Missionary Training Center is located (and where Samantha is said to have learned Japanese before her trip), specifically Provo, Utah. Later in the episode, Samantha reviews her backpack from the time, revealing a copy of The Book of Mormon and her journals, which also include a photograph of her Mormon family back home in Utah, showing that she also has siblings. Keeping a personal journal is also something that is encouraged on mission trips, although it is not required.
What does Samantha’s CTR ring actually mean?
Samantha also has a ring with the initials “CTR” which in the Mormon religion means “Choose the right one”. This is a commonly used motto in the Mormon religion, derived from an LDS hymn, and meant to remind church members to make the right or righteous choice in their daily lives. For Samantha, the ring seems to have many meanings, especially as she tries to navigate her predicament of being blackmailed for sex, instead of being handed over to the authorities, while trying to start her own club that can or not push it deeper. in the grip of Deputy Tokyoit’s Yakuza. Regardless of how the situation resolves, it looks like Samantha’s ties to Utah, the LDS Church, and her mission in Japan will all play a part in her developing story throughout. Deputy Tokyo.
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New episodes of Deputy Tokyo out Thursdays on HBO Max.
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