There are so many detective television series running right now that it’s almost impossible to keep up with this hyper-production. Perhaps the roots of this trend can be found in books with similar subjects that went through exactly the same thing. Actually, one of the first detective stories can be found in One Thousand and One Nights, a compilation of stories popular in the middle ages throughout the Middle East. The Golden Age of Detective novels started in the 1920s and it seems to be strong now as it ever was. Bosch is a television series created by Eric Overmyer for Amazon and based on books written by Michael Connelly, who was also involved with the series. This gives Bosch a special edge, especially when compared to other “standard-issue” or just plain commercial detective shows. Basically, each season is based on a couple books that follow detective Hieronymus Bosch as he’s solving gruesome murders and other shit. Right from the get-go, you start noticing little things that would be lost in a cheaper production or not even mentioned in those commercial shows. Those little things accumulate, adding a sense of reality and structure, and not to sound to praisy, they give you the feeling that a lot of people put a lot of effort into making this show. Unfortunately, seasons 3 and 4 and are a bit more oriented towards our protagonist, Hieronymus Bosch and his family, a bit forgoing the cop drama in the first two seasons. However, this was done relatively cleverly, so it doesn’t influence the main vibe of the series too much, so it’s still good for binging.
The world that Harry Bosch lives in is a blend of neo-noir, noir and modern detective drama, taking the best from all three worlds and creating this unique vibe. For fuck’s sake, even the almighty Stephen King recommended this show. With high production values, Bosch looks sleek and modern, with vivid colors and great camera-work. Shot in an actual police station after hours and during slow periods, you get that sense of authenticity pretty much immediately. When you combine this with all the details from the novels, you get this vacuum cleaner 3000 that just sucks you in. With great character development and very well written dialogue, this is one of those shows that is able to change the mood you’re in. It’s archetypal and it symbolizes the loss of ideology that baby boomers are suffering right now. Bosch is a typical father figure, updated to modern standards but still imbued with that “old school” strength and charm. The creators of the show were well aware of this nostalgia effect and they didn’t abuse it, which was consistent with the quality demonstrated in other areas. Five seasons with ten episodes per season make this show great for binge-watching.
Titus Welliver really established himself with this role. He nailed the character of Harry Bosch so good that even those who have read all the books simply cannot believe how good he is. And you feel that this is his role of a lifetime, he practically IS Harry. Two The Wire veterans Lance Reddick and Jamie Hector, brought even more authenticity to the show, making us remember first Homicide: Life on the Street and then The Wire or The Shield. Amy Aquino and young Madison Lintz were also great, filling this world with strong female characters and creating a balance between broody male perspective that envelops the show. All this stems from great writing and you can see what they did here: create a decent amount of well-written characters along with an engaging story and then carefully mixed the two together. So you get a chase, then a funny interaction, then a new lead on a case and before you know it, the episode is over.
Meet Harry Bosch, a hardboiled LAPD detective who’s working with his young partner Jerry Edgar on various cases in the sunny city of Los Angeles. As a war veteran, who was clearing tunnels during the Gulf war and fighting terrorists after 9/11 when he re-upped with the army, Harry is a very skilled and methodical detective, ready to do anything for justice. We find him in the middle of a trial for murder after he shot a serial killer in a dark alley. However, evil does not sleep and when a human bone is discovered in the hills, Harry is called to see what’s going on there. It turns out that the bone belonged to a child who was badly beaten and murdered and so it begins, the quest for truth and justice.
Now, after all this praise, I have to mention the fact that this is not one of those top top series and I always mention True Detective or The Wire as examples of the aforementioned series. Bosch is a pulpy detective fiction and you have to accept the fact that it’s still trying to cater to a large portion of viewers. This means that there will be scenes that will make you groan or developments that you can see from a mile away. However, a funny thing will happen while you’re bitching about this cliche. For example, you know that Bosch has to get this guy alone and you see how the series is pivoting towards that development, but as he’s actually doing things that will lead to this, all those little details I mentioned will start accumulating to make the journey more enjoyable and before you know it, the episode is over. Next on our menu are cliches that are something that I have come to accept as a necessary in a series of this caliber. And that ringtone man, every time I heard it, I jumped. I don’t know why but I found it very disturbing.
Creators: Michael Connelly, Eric Ellis Overmyer
Cast: Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector, Amy Aquino, Lance Reddick, Sarah Clarke, Madison Lintz, Troy Evans, Gregory Scott Cummins