Watching the first ten minutes of Amazon’s television series Bosch seemed like an eternity. I rolled my eyes and stifled multiple yawns. I attempted to stop several times, BUT there was something in Bosch the man that made it impossible to look away. Thank goodness for that because Bosch the show gets better as the first episode progresses. This positive trend continues throughout the first season of Bosch.
In the center of Bosch is Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (Titus Welliver), a LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) homicide detective. His name is a mouthful and interesting, but not as interesting as his life. Bosch grew up without a father and a prostitute for a mother. After his mother was brutally murdered, Bosch became a troubled youngster. Fortunately, he turned his life around when he entered the military. Eventually, he served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a detective, Bosch is hardworking, meticulous and an overall badass who does not kiss ass to move up the professional ladder. Although work politics dog him for the most part, he tries not to meddle in anything above his pay grade. His lack of regard for politics earns him the respect of his peers and the anger of some of his superiors.
As a testament to his success as a detective, his past work landed him a movie deal. That deal affords him to live in a house on stilts in Hollywood Hills, which provides him the best view of LA day and night. He is also a sexy silver fox with take-no-prisoner unwavering gaze. In my eyes, his only flaw is his smoking habit.
Bosch’s partner, detective Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector), is subservient to him. He follows Bosch’s directives to a T. He is one fashionable cop who likes women, shopping and beautiful shoes that are unfit for running after criminals. Edgar teases Bosch for being very old school and a nerd in jazz music (I like Bosch’s taste in music). Bosch makes fun of Edgar and his ridiculous clothes. Bosch and Edgar’s easy camaraderie is a welcome respite from all the violence and misery that dominate the show.
Lieutenant Grace Billets (Amy Aquino) is Bosch’s boss and friend. She reins him in just a little bit once Bosch does Bosch things that can bite Bosch in the bum in the foreseeable future. Their mutual respect for each other produces some of the better banters in the show.
Whereas most cop shows have one case per episode, the 10-episode first season of Bosch deals with two major cases that may or may not be related to each other. The first case features a “city of bones”, the skeleton of a boy that was abused repeatedly, killed and buried in the woods more than two decades ago. The second one deals with a serial killer, Raynard Waits (Jason Gedrick), who lures male prostitutes then collects their bones to create his own underground cemetery.
There is palpable weirdness and connection between Bosch and Waits as cop and suspect, but Welliver and Gedrick give justice to their roles. It is fun to watch their phone conversations, with Gedrick acting like a naughty son who likes to appease his father and Welliver as the voice of reason, sometimes.
While Bosch and Edgar try their hardest to solve these high-profile cases in the fastest time possible, Bosch also faces a wrongful death civil suit. The origin of the civil suit is what transpires in the opening scene of Bosch, a.k.a. (part of) the agonizing ten minutes of the pilot. The courtroom scenes are far from believable. The way civil rights attorney Honey Chandler (Mimi Rodgers) treats and threatens Bosch is laughable, maybe some of it has to do with Rodgers’ lines which do not ring true.
With regards to his personal life, Bosch has a daughter named Maddie (Madison Lintz) with ex-wife, ex-FBI profiler turned professional poker player, Eleanor Wish (Sarah Clarke). With the pressure Bosch is under, I felt relieved that Maddie does not turn out to be a spoiled teenager. She starts calling Bosch “Harry” and ends up with “Dad”. Which is a good thing because Bosch and Maddie’s scenes show Bosch’s humanity. Maddies makes him laugh with his crow’s feet in display, which is equated to genuine feelings. Also, there are flickers of emotion in his eyes.
As the first season of Bosch winds down, action picks up. The ninth and tenth episodes pack important events that lead to the resolution of both cases. Waits gets what he deserves at the hands of Bosch, in Waits’ makeshift underground cemetery. The “city of bones” perpetrator meets his end, not at the hands of Bosch, which is a bit anticlimactic. Before season 1 bids adieu, Bosch gets fed up and throws a police officer through a glass window. Inside the police station. In front of his colleagues. Slow burn, slow burn then bam! That is how a cop show makes its mark.
Bosch has the makings of something that I would dislike – Bosch is talky and painfully slow. In a world of short attention span, that combination spells a swift death sentence for several shows. Rather than succumbing to the need for speed, Bosch uses the snail-paced storytelling to its own advantage to let the audience savor the multi-layered complex protagonists and antagonists, especially Bosch, the city of Los Angeles and the nuances of both. With great actors and superb cinematography, Bosch’s slow burn becomes justifiable.
To read Bosch Season 2’s review please click this.
- Scott Wilson’s appearance in the pilot (and in another episode) is a great surprise. His dog is adorable.
- Oh, Maddie. A detective for a father and a professional poker player for a mother! It must be difficult to lie to her parents.
- Bosch’s tattoos. Does he get one for every case solved? Or does he get one for every criminal killed?
- Two years ago, I would not have lasted one episode of Bosch. Too many words, too little time. Watching Spanish movies and TV series without subtitles has trained me to be patient and to really listen to the characters. Bosch speaks Spanish! Learning Spanish is the gift that keeps on giving.