I’m so far under the stack of things I’m sent to review – constantly- that I rarely stop to watch something just for fun. But the fact that Amazon’s original series Bosch is based on Michael Connelly’s series about Detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch (Titus Welliver, impeccably) made this one that I’d stop and stream. [I had previously voted for it to be developed on Amazon Prime.] After re-watching the premiere, I was hooked, and I went through the ten episodes in less than a week. Bosch is out to stop a serial killer, clear himself of a wrongful death, and solve a twenty-year-old murder – all in a week’s work for an LAPD veteran.
Based on a mashup of Connelly’s three novels, The Concrete Blonde, Echo Park, and City of Bones, the television series follows Welliver’s version of Bosch through a complicated dating relationship with lawyer-turned-rookie “boot” Julia Brasher (Annie Wersching, 24) and a buddy cop relationship with his partner, Det. Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector, The Wire). He’s got a tough deputy chief (Lance Reddick) to contend with, an ex-wife Eleanor (Sarah Clarke) and estranged teenage daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) to emotionally balance, and a knack for doing things above the law.
Jason Gedrick’s breakout in Murder One seems to have set the stage for his off-and-on pattern as a killer. His “obvious” [we know it from the very beginning] serial killer, Raymond Waits, wants to play cat-and-mouse with Bosch, like he’s the only worthy adversary he’s found in a cycle of killing. From his creepy, casual attempts to turn aside suspicion, to his actual committing of the crimes, Gedrick’s killer is terrifying, quietly. Unlike some of these other shows where the baddie is over the top, Gedrick is so subtle, it’s worse.
But Bosch stands out because of the characterizations of Connelly’s principals, and because Welliver & Co. nail their portrayals. Bosch’s relationship with Brasher is complicated: he covers for her at times, but he’s bothered when she wants to stretch the truth. His father/son relationship with Hector’s Edgar is tricky because Bosch is the son of a prostitute and grapples with his own son/father issues. But that makes his connection/parallels to Waits even more brutal when we see Waits lovingly care for his mother. Both of these men have issues, but one uses his inner fire to take what he wants to feed the demons and the other uses the fire to fight the demons of others.
Amazon wins big points for caring even about its “bit” characters. Shawn Hatosy (Southland) plays a wise guy carwash attendant who gets mixed up with Brasher in one episode; Hoon Lee (Banshee) plays Eleanor’s new man; Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead) plays Dr. Paul Guyot. The attention to details by producer Henrik Bastin and director Jim McKay plays out well in the background and gritty feel, but it ultimately is the backdrop for the morality play between Bosch and Waits. For two men with broken lives, who love and fight at the same time, the murder investigation will undo one of them (at Christmas no less)! But what they unpack in their struggle is years of shame, self-loathing, anger, and violence – mostly the result of what others have done to them as children. It’s absolutely gripping – and I urge you to stop what you’re doing and find it now. rating: borrow it (streaming on Amazon!)