Bosch” was one of Amazon pilots in the last pilot season. There were four shows in that pilot season, which were worthy of attention. “After”, “Bosch”, “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Transparent”. About “Transparent” everything is said already, Golden Globe, awards and appraisal coming from everywhere made this show one of the best Amazons has ever produced. I can’t understand why “After” was first approved, then cancelled and “Mozart in the Jungle” was fun but nothing more than that. “Bosch” on the other hand is a show one would expect from HBO, much less Amazon. Eric Overmeyer, the man who worked with David Simon on “Wire” and “Treme”, developed the series to the television and author of the bestselling books Michael Connelly was also heavily involved in production and writing. After good reactions to the pilot, Amazon released a whole season on the 13th of February and wrapped, for TV series addicts, best gift for Valentine’s Day.After I finished the last episode of the season feeling was almost the same as after the pilot. Hieronymus Bosch quickly became one of the best detectives on the TV screen in the last few years and the atmosphere of the show had something of “Wire” and something of “Killing” in the same time. Based on “City of Bones” by Michael Connelly, this season is constructed about a serial killer with similar past as Bosch, who will try to exploit that past and make the case both very personal and very dangerous for him. As with all series in which Overmeyer was involved, we have tasted of corruption, rising through the ranks on all sorts of different ways and incompetent assholes, which wouldn’t know how to solve a case if they had a video-tape with crucial evidence in front of them. I sincerely hope that this first season is not all we’ll see from Bosch since it was one of the most entertaining seasons I’ve seen in a while.
The pilot starts with Harry Bosch on trial for unjustified shooting and on that trial, we are involved in both perspectives, police and public, while Bosch tries to solve twenty years old case of murder and child-abuse at the same time. That case will connect with another high-profile case which will become difficult to handle for Bosch on a personal level.
In contemporary media today much attention is given to the police violence and unjustified shootings and “Bosch” tries to give us the feeling on the other side of that debate. I’m not trying to justify anyone but social criticism and contemporary note like that is something we would expect from the HBO show written by Simon. Here, it has hit the target perfectly. When you have to make a decision in a split second, that’s not an easy call to make. We can’t imagine the kind of pressure one needs to endure in that situation, especially when the situation repeats itself. Fight for power, votes and positions highly affect the quality of police work and (similar as in “Wire”) unadjusted individuals willing to bend the rules are often the only chance to crack the most difficult cases. “Bosch” is praising the individual but it’s criticizing the system. In a system where publicity and votes are everything, there’s no place for “loose cannons”. I will not reveal here was Bosch’s shooting justified or not, but in that atmosphere one would really have to be righteous prick or a madman to go into risk of being shot every single day without really caring about the work he does.
Titus Welliver is convincing as “Bosch” and his acting in the relationships of the character, both personal and within the force, are crucial for the plot-development. His moral code is uncompromising and that position will get him to be sidelined more often than not in the season’s course. However, “Bosch” will always find some way to maneuver out of it and continue to do what he does best – solve cases. Welliver made his best effort to transfer these emotions to the screen and for me, at least, that’s his best role I’ve ever seen. Lance Reddick is somewhat reprising his “Wire” role as Deputy Chief Irving, and I must admit that I really enjoyed seeing him all bossy and confident all over again. Jason Gendrick is Raynard Waits, main antagonist of the story, and his performance was irritating at times, but I suppose that’s just the role written that way.
Photography, locations and music are excellent and jazz soundtrack of Bosch’s adventures is something so nicely cut into the story that I was immediately even more impressed with the series. When we see Bosch how he’s watching the town, I couldn’t help myself but think that he reminds me on Rastignac in literary classic “Old Goriot” where the main character stands above the city at the end and thinks: “Now it’s our turn!”. Bosch seemed like he had that same sentence in mind in the last scene of the season. After everything that happened to him in the series, he won’t quit on the cases, he won’t quit on what he is. He’ll go down there, into the fold, and do it all over again. He’s not better than the rest of them. He’s one of them. There is no us and them. The city is whole only with all of us together. And that’s the point “Bosch” is trying to prove. In the light of all media frenzy, I mentioned above, there is no “us” and “them”… There is right and wrong. Sometimes, for all included, that’s impossible to learn.
“Bosch” is most definitely a must-see for all admirers of this genre and quality storytelling. In “Bosch” there are no good guys-bad guys routine, there is no us and them. There is only his unique moral code which helps him to cope with himself. One case, slow-paced, one season. Wonderful concept which allowed “Bosch” to be one big crime-novel on the screen.