To Live And Die In LA
Tripwire continues its list of its Top 30 Crime and Police shows, selected by its editor-in-chief and senior editor. Counting down to its first choice at the end, here’s its 11th entry, Amazon’s Bosch…
Creator: Eric Ellis Overmyer
Stars: Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector, Amy Aquino
Bosch is a perfect example of a slick, superior slice of police drama that is blue chip entertainment while being both naturalistic and escapist. Developed for Amazon TV by veteran writer / producer Eric Overmyer (whose credits include Homicide Life on The Street and The Wire) and based on the Michael Connelly series of novels, the show combines a classic, noir take on L.A. with a moderate amount of gritty procedural.
Titus Welliver’s Bosch is very much in the Marlowe mould – a saturnine, curmudgeonly loner who listens to Bebop Jazz and enjoys a solitary existence perched in a garret at the summit of the Hollywood Hills with his pet dog. He has the occasional romance that inevitably backfires, and is, as convention would dictate, a maverick who falls foul of his superiors, is constantly combatting demons, but is eminently human and moralistic. However, unlike Chandler’s archetype, he’s not afraid of killing if necessary.
Apart from the first series, which focused on a serial killer who initially outwits and humiliates Bosch, the show has a strong comedic component, despite the presence of two Wire alumni in the cast. His long-suffering yet laid-back partner Jerry (Jamie Hector), his superior, Lieutenant Grace Billets (Amy Aquino) and the office double act Crate and Barrel are all reasonably fleshed out, but very much supporting, reactive and noticeably sympathetic characters. However Jerry and Chief Irving (Lance Reddick) are well-delineated players that have their separate and developed arcs throughout.
Bosch inhabits a different milieu to heavyweight shows like The Wire, with venal self-interest and bitter amorality kept to a bare minimum. What appeals, despite the surface grime, is the underlying positivity and refreshing lack of ambiguity in the series, a decidedly old school notion that is a throwback to Hill Street and Barney Miller. Bosch is a straightforward old-school production that, despite occasionally veering into James Bond territory (such as when Bosch goes undercover) succeeds due to taut plotting and scripting, an excellent lead turn from Welliver, and a romanticised, filmic portrayal of Los Angeles that is beguiling and literary. An ideal show for binge watching, Bosch is thoroughly classy television that doesn’t opt for cutting edge.
Bosch is on Amazon Prime in the UK and the US now