by Steve Lancaster 8/26/18
The LA Cop • People are intrigued by cops and spies. Every year there are hundreds of books, movies and articles written about them. In the case of police dramas New York and Los Angeles lead the pack. The long running Law and Order series and its spin-offs and the continuing popularity of Blue Bloods are good examples. However, the LA cop show that stands out as the longest running cop drama is Dragnet.
My last review in LA cop dramas was True Confessions, which was set in post-war 40s/50s LA. Bosch is set in contemporary (2015) LA, although the books are set in 90s. Michael Connelly, as consultant and writer, has brought Bosch into the current era. In the books he is a Vietnam Vet. In the series he is a Gulf War vet. If you’re a fan of the books you’re going to find the series frustrating. Plots from several different books interweave in the series. However, Bosch is still the Bosch from the books. Bear with it and forget you are reading or have read the books and go with the series. It has a distinctive LA feel.
“There was a random feel to the dark, the quirkiness of chance played out in the blue neon night. So many ways to live. And to die. You could be riding in the back of a studio’s black limo, or just as easily the back of the coroner’s blue van. The sound of applause was the same as the buzz of a bullet spinning past your ear in the dark. That randomness. That was L.A.”, The Black Ice.
Bosch is an Amazon original series available for prime subscribers. This is the fourth year of the series. The books, written by Michael Connelly, are a throwback to the excellent stories told by Joseph Wambaugh. Although, many of Wambaugh’s books are quasi-true-life stories, Bosch is pure fiction, but the characters have a feel of day to day police. Michael Connelly, in an earlier incarnation, was a police reporter for the LA Times and is credited as a writer on every episode of the series. His association with police renders a realistic story line. This is someone who has spent a lot of time in the copshop.
The series features some of the same actors who made, The Wire, Chief of Police Irvin Irving, (Lance Riddick), who seems destined to be the chief of police in every HBO production, and the talented Jamie Hector as Bosch’s sometime partner, Jerry Edger. Many others that have a long history in television and television movies.
Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch, (Titus Welliver) is a Hollywood division robbery/homicide detective. Bosch is a vet, who returned from the first Gulf War to find his family broken. His drive to solve murders is deep seated. The murder of his mother is a sub-plot that travels through the first four seasons of the series. The murder goes unsolved by police, in part because his mother was a prostitute. Thus, low priority for police and Bosch grows up in an orphanage.
Bosch, like most crime drama detectives, has problems with authority and is in essence a loner. The books accentuate his loner status while the series downplays it. I think to make the character more appealing to a larger audience. Bosch is not married in the books, but the series has him divorced and with a teenage daughter. The family aspect gives Bosch the opportunity to vocalize thoughts and ideas that are never spoken in the books. It is effective and tends to strip some of the loner from the character, without making him turn into a wimp.
“All his life he believed he was slumming toward something good. That there was meaning. In the youth shelter, the foster homes, the Army and Vietnam, and now the department, he always carried the feeling that he was struggling toward some kind of resolution and knowledge of purpose. That there was something good in him or about him. It was the waiting that was so hard. The waiting often left a hollow feeling in his soul. And he believed people could see this, that they knew when they looked at him that he was empty.” The Black Ice.
I have read two of the books and watched all four seasons of the show. Bosch is an LA cop in the best traditions of Joe Friday, Adam 12, and Joe Wambaugh. Rules are broken, but the line is never crossed to subvert integrity, which as we all know is often different from legal justice. • (300 views)