Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch is a homicide detective in Hollywood from a series of novels by Michael Connelly. He’s not exactly heroic and the phrase ‘world weary’ could have been invented just for him. Amazon’s new series, Bosch, captures the feel of the novels and Titus Welliver really brings Bosch to life.
Harry is as hard-boiled – and principled – as Marlowe or Spade but the badge he carries makes his tendency to bend the rules worrisome, if entertaining.
Bosch opens with Bosch and his partner, Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) – I believe Harry calls him J. Edgar at one point in the first episode, ‘Tis The Season’ – are tracking a suspected multiple murderer. They have to split up to continue – which leads to complications when the suspect doesn’t follow Harry’s orders to keep his hands up and he shoots him.
Meanwhile, retired Dr. Guyot (Scott Wilson) calls police when his dog brings him a bone that leads to the discovery of the burial site of a murdered boy, and, by ep 2, Lost Light,’ a routine checkstop leads to the arrest and temporary confinement of a serial killer, Raynard Waits (Jason Gedrick).
Thanks to actions ordered by the DA (Steven Culp), things go sideways when Waits is taking police to the scenes of his crimes (he’s admitted to seven – not counting the one in his van when he was arrested).
The first ten-episode season of Bosch (available to binge on on Amazon even as we speak) juggles the ensuing civil suit against the LAPD for the wrongful death of the suspect from the premiere’s teaser; the search for the killer of twelve-year old Arthur Delacroix (the buried bones), and the attempt to recapture Waits. Then there’s Harry’s burgeoning affair with rookie officer Julia Brasher (Annie Wersching)…
Add to the mix Harry’s immediate superior, Lt. Grace Billets (Amy Aquino), Captain Pounds (Jamie McShane) – who really has it in for Bosch, Deputy Chief Irving (Lance Reddick) – who uses Harry (and everyone else, for that matter) to further his political ends, and the sympathetic Watch Commander, Sgt. Mankiewicz (Scott Klace) and we’ve scratched the surface of the show’s impressive roll call of characters (regular, recurring, guest stars). We haven’t even gotten to Harry’s ex-wife (Sarah Clarke) and daughter (Madeline Lintz)…
What is most impressive about Bosch is that the writing and cast fit so seamlessly. You never get the sense that anyone phoned in their role, nor do you get the sense that anyone hammed it up. It’s almost like one of Harry’s favorite jazz pieces (like Patricia by the late Art Pepper), every note is right – even if the notes played aren’t necessarily the ones you’re expecting.
It certainly helps that Connelly co-wrote four of the episodes.
The end result is much like one of Connelly’s novels – lots of threads and characters that weave together at their own separate paces and yet feel like a harmonious whole. Most of the emphasis is on character but that doesn’t mean that there’s no action. What there is, is emphatic and appropriate and, for that reason, memorable.
Welliver and Gedrick make interesting opponents – Bosch and Waits have just enough unexpected things in common to make them, as Waits puts it, ‘two dogs from the same kennel.’
Bosch is not just another cop show – it’s another great cop show. Here’s hoping it enjoys a lengthy run.
Final Grade: A+