“Every murder, every psychopath is a tale of the city” – Detective Harry Bosch
Just a few days more than a year ago, I opted to tune in the pilot of Bosch, a detective series that was a part of Amazon’s Original Series lineup that debuted at that time. What they did was to premiere six pilots at once, and then depending on the feedback, a few would be made into a series.
Well Bosch passed muster, and the entire first season of Bosch dropped into the Amazon Instant Video lineup a couple of days ago. Season One consists of 10 episodes. the lead character is the titular LA (Hollywood Division) Homicide Detective Harry Bosch who is the creation of the Tampa based author Michael Connelly.
There are 19 Harry Bosch novels which means the novels have been quite successful and yet, this is the first time that Detective Bosch has been portrayed on-screen. Veteran TV actor Titus Welliver has the role, and from the looks of these 10 episodes, Welliver comes off as a natural for the role. It seems as though we are perfectly comfortable with Welliver as Bosch. Your mind can be tricky, somehow we think that it is as if Welliver has had the role for a long time.
Truth is he’s only 10 episodes in. Just seems like longer and that’s because Titus Welliver is a familiar face to us. We’ve seen him in shows like Murder One (1996), Brooklyn South (1997-1998), NYPD Blue, Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy, and The Good Wife. That’s in addition to guest roles in a multiplicity of top rated series.
So a new case drops on Detective Bosch, and as it turns out, it is a very cold case. The remains of a 12-year-old boy have been unearthed in a wooded and hilly area of LA called Wonderland. Forensics determines that the remains are of a case from 20 years ago. As we learn this, we also learn that Detective Bosch is currently facing a civil suit about a man he shot a few years ago.
In the internal police investigation, Bosch was cleared of any wrong doing – in police parlance – it was a good shoot.
But that doesn’t mean that the widow of the man Harry shot, cannot file a civil suit against Harry.
That’s your set up and it is these two hooks that get our attention in the excellent pilot. My review of the pilot is here.
Now that we know what is on Harry’s agenda – we are also going to see that the old case, the murder of the young Arthur Delacroix, will have to share some time on Harry’s dance card with a current serial murderer on the loose. Not only that, there will be ties to Harry’s own youth. You see both the murdered boy, the serial killer, and Harry all were at the same home for parent-less kids. While none were there at the same time – it is like a thread that ties them all together.
In the series we meet some familiar police tropes – the partnered detectives, the procedural aspects involving the Medical Examiner, The Hall of Records, as well as the old standby of pounding the pavement while working the case. Then there’s the antagonistic police captain, and the canyon-esque depths that Harry is helpless to avoid: those being the political infighting which almost always hinders police investigations. Then there are the female cops who admire and care for Harry, and the over-arcing racial aspects that impact LA police work on a daily basis.
What makes this show terrific are the familiar tropes, the great pacing, the beautiful location shoots, plus the outstanding supporting cast which basically jumps out on you and does make an impact.
Steven Culp is on board as the DA who has designs on becoming Mayor. Long ago Culp played CIA Agent Clayton Webb on JAG. Lance Reddick as Deputy Chief of Police Irvin Irving, and Jamie Hector as Bosch’s Detective partner Jerry Edgar.
Both Reddick and Hector were prominent performers on The Wire.
Besides those we have Jason Gedrick as Raynard Waits, a person of interest,
Amy Aquino as Bosch’s direct supervisor Lt. Grace Billets, Annie Wershing as rookie Patrol Officer (read that as street cop) Julia Brasher who has designs on both Bosch as well as moving up the chain of command (read that as getting off the street).
Then in smaller roles we have Mimi Rogers as the lawyer for the plaintiff suing Bosch, Veronica Cartwright as Waits’ Mom, Alan Rosenberg as the M.E., and Abraham Benrubi as Bosch’s attorney in the civil suit. He was seen recently on the FX Series The Bridge. Mary Page Keller is on hand as the murdered boy, Arthur Delacroix’s mother.
I mentioned the excellent pacing. What I mean by that is that there’s always something new and different popping up. This series is more than just a long slog through LA’s dark sides and the corridors of power. For example there’s Bosch’s home . It is perched high on a hill with an endless view of L.A. Then there’s Julia Brasher’s home. And Reddick’s home. We see these people not in just their day jobs, but we get a terrific sense of what they’re about away from their jobs.
Except for Harry Bosch. Now he’s the kind of detective that will put anything and everything aside, or on the back burner when he’s working a case. Harry is also a handful for police management.
You see, Harry Bosch won’t always follow the rules. This isn’t to say that he’s corrupt. That would be about as far wrong as you could be. But he’s not one to follow rules and protocols all the time.
Harry Bosch has friends on the force, but he also has enemies. Which to him are less important than clearing a case. But Harry won’t settle for closing cases just to clear the board. He needs to be satisfied that the right guy is the one they have.
But some times they have the right guy and they don’t know it. So they kick him loose. Which brings me back to the place where I said, there’s always a new turn or twist – like something new and different. I think it is here where the writing works best. We as the viewers are not taken for fools, nor are we tricked. The situations and the problems that arise just seem to work so very well.
And did I mention that Harry is a handful for police management? Yes I did. Now let me state that’s he’s also a handful for his ex-wife, his daughter, and for Julia Brasher.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed this series. To prove my point, it aired beginning on the February 13th, just last Friday. I finished the last three of the 10 episodes just yesterday, which was Sunday. So yes, I am heartily recommending Bosch. By the way, I’ve read three of the Connelly Bosch books. Other Connelly books like The Lincoln Lawyer and Blood Work have been already made into films – one starred Matthew McConaughey, and the other starred Clint Eastwood. And that should give you some idea as to the quality of Connelly’s books.