TV Series Review: Bosch

by Steve Lancaster8/26/18
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. • (258 views)

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69 Responses to TV Series Review: Bosch

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’ll check this out, Steve, when I get a chance.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    With a detective named Hieronymus Bosch, there should be a lot of monstrous, even demonic, scenes. That’s what the artist is most famous for, after all.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch ????

    Connelly must have given Bosch’s parents a warped sense of humor to name their child Hieronymus.

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=hieronymus+bosch&t=ffab&iax=images&ia=images&iai=http%3A%2F%2Fkristoff.web.elte.hu%2FUploadArtsSpr10%2FThumbs%2FBosch.jpg

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I had a collection of Bosch among my various art books at our old house, now sold off. A lot of religious art, but much of it was about the bad that can happen, and I think (as I noted above) that those are what he’s most famous for.

  4. Timothy Lane says:

    Dürer was famous for his painting of praying hands, a favorite in my youth.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    However these stories go — and I wasn’t too pleased that the first one started with the tired cliche of the ball-busting c-word prosecutor picking on a good cop — this is so far (25 minutes into the first episode) comprised of dialogue that is not written by 13-year-olds for 13-year-olds. That is, this is not your typical nose-picker fare for the marginally mature and aesthetically baffled where all the characters look like they just got out of junior high school study hall.

    Bosch seems a sober character and in a good way.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Additional: I finished the first two episodes of Bosch. The characters are all pretty good. None are over-the-top. “Realism” is probably over-rated, for a real cop show would have to show these guys mostly at their desk doing paperwork if you wanted “real.” But I do think that Bosch steers a little closer to realism than the typical tired cliches of crime and cop shows.

    In fact, I think the series so far has spent too much time indoors or on peripheral issues. However, certainly a series requires some setup work at the beginning. Maybe we have Bosch on trial early so that we can find out that his mother was a prostitute.

    The shtick is that Bosch is one of those Dirty-Harry-like renegade, old-fashioned cops whom the world has passed by. But I see no signs of that. He’s just a good cop doing his job. But we’ll accept this back-story for now as a matter of faith.

    I recently watched an episode of a 3-part TV series showing on BritBox called Quirke. It’s interesting to compare and contrast in regards to what works and what doesn’t in these cop or crime shows.

    But you know you’re in trouble from the beginning with this one because everyone likes saying the name, “Quirke,” even his niece. Over and over. I guess we’re supposed to be astounded that the guy’s name is unusual and thus imparts this series with some type of mojo every time someone says “Quirke.” Actually, Gabriel Byrne is good in this crime show. The cast is good as well, including Nick Dunning and Michael Gambon (Maigret). But the story was lacking all imagination. You can bypass this one with ease.

    So far, Bosch has no silly affectations like that. And although the crime stories so far are nothing to write home about, they are, to be fair, still developing. And I like his red-headed girlfriend (who I’m guessing is prime material for being killed off) and his black partner who most definitely doesn’t look like an affirmative action add-on.

    As was the case in the two-part pilot I watched on BritBox called Waking the Dead. It’s about a special united that uses modern technology to try to solve cold cases. The black partner in this one is hilarious because he obviously has no function there but to be a token black. Out of the blue he will argue with someone once in a while but otherwise he has little point being in the cast.

    Interestingly, the women in this one are not token women. Unusual for a fairly modern cop show (although the pilot does date back to 2004), the women seem like real cops, not token women playing the role of a cop but who otherwise look like their profession is being a model. Sue Johnston is good as Dr. Grace Foley, the psychological profiler. Tara Fitzgerald is also good as the single-minded crime lab technician.

    Interestingly, although I thought the pilot was good (but the plot itself absolutely nothing special), Trevor Eve is a bit weak as the lead character, DS Boyd. But he’s also interesting in a way (and I don’t know if this is intentional or not) because he really doesn’t seem particularly competent. The two-part plot in the pilot is that he leads the newly-established cold case unit and they’re starting with one of his old cases of kidnapping and murder which he is blamed for screwing up.

    And (for some damn reason), this cold-case reopening is made public. It’s splashed across the newspaper headlines. This, of course, goads the original kidnapper/killer to strike again. And DS Boyd seems to go out of his way at times to botch things again. He’s no Gil Grissom.

    l’ll certainly try another two-part episode of Waking the Dead. And I’ll certainly also watch some more Bosch.

    Oh, and although he’s a stale cliche, I love how in Bosch they show the reporters to be the bottom-feeders that they are. It’s worth having to suffer through that annoying reporter character.

    And although he’s only in four episodes (according to IMDB), I like Alan Rosenberg as Dr. William Golliher. Some may remember him as the bleeding-heart liberal in the series, The Guardian. He was good in that and he’s good as the pathologist in “Bosch.” Too bad he doesn’t stay with the show.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      This is a test.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Brad the first epsoids are are actually from the third book.
      This quote, I am afraid, sums up not only a police attitude but also one becoming more and more common in the military. This is from book 3, The Concrete Blond.

      “Through political opportunism and ineptitude, the city had allowed the department to languish for years as an understaffed and underequipped paramilitary organization. Infected with political bacteria itself, the department was top-heavy with managers while the ranks below were so thin that the dog soldiers on the street rarely had the time or inclination to step out of their protective machines, their cars, to meet the people they served. They only ventured out to deal with the dirtbags and, consequently, Bosch knew, it had created a police culture in which everybody not in blue was seen as a dirtbag and was treated as such.”

      In the service it is called “people other than grunts” POG.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, that’s certainly a problem and the quote may well explain its cause. This is how you get police covering up for rogue cops, which does the police as a whole no good whatsoever. And failing to get out of their cars also makes it much harder to solve crimes. Of course, we’re seeing much more of this day because the politicians reflexively blame the police in any dispute (e.g., Baltimore). That’s as bad as reflexively supporting them.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Wow. Now I understand. Yes. That’s what I’m seeing in real life. No more Officer Friendly.

        I thought it was a good scene when the frivolous rookie he had bed with two demerits against her (a third is automatic dismissal during what I assume is her probationary period) gets in an argument with Bosch. Here we see the truth of society trough this one scene. Bosch is simply saying, “Take this job seriously. You can’t afford to screw up again.” She gets her nose bent out of joint.

        Bosch is the bad guy (in her eyes…not anyone who is not a halfwit who is watching this). She is the victim. She kicks him out. I still think at some point she’s going to catch a bullet, but don’t spoil it for me. Let me relish it when it comes.

        Truly astonishing is Bosch’s lieutenant. And it’s only a sense of normalcy that is astonishing, that’s how cliched most cop shows have become (ever since the shtick in Starsky & Hutch, but likely well before then as well). I was astonished when there was a scene of Bosch’s lieutenant going to the captain and sticking up for Bosch because some sleezeball (they don’t know who) leaked to the prosecutor personal information about him (that his mother was a prostitute).

        The well over-used cliche (even for a cliche) is always to have an antagonistic relationship between cop and boss.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, Columbo didn’t use that cliché — in fact, on at least one occasion he pointed out to the perp that his captain sensibly figured that someone who complained about him probably deserved the attention. (Hamilton Burger and Lt. Tragg never figured this out about Perry Mason. A friend of mine once said that if he were Burger, he’d target someone and see if they went to Mason. Then he’d make sure they received enough pressure to make sure Mason and Drake solve the case for him. Makes sense to me.)

          Dirty Harry got along reasonably well with his superior in the original movie, and I think also The Dead Pool. But he had problems with them in the other 3 — though one of them (Briggs in Magnum Force) was the villain.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          Cicero has it right
          Who watches, the watchers?

          Even in the 60s and 70s the line between police and military were getting blurred. The 68 Dem convention is an example. Today even in small cities where there is a stronger likelihood that police and citizen my know each other it is an adversarial relationship. It was/is the same in other parts of government. That explains, in part, the visceral dislike/hatred for DJT. He is not “one of us” therefore, he is the enemy.

          There are a lot of historical parallels between the 1850s and today, none of them good.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            That was Juvenal, not Cicero. I had a translation of his satires and read that one. Juvenal mentions a friend who has set watchers on his wife, and wonders who will watch them.

            At least Rand Paul, unlike Charles Sumner, wasn’t beaten up by a Demagogue House member. But I think a Douglas Democrat California Senator was killed in a duel by a Breckinridge Democrat.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    There was some dialogue in “Bosch” that I swear could have been written by me.

    The district attorney is fast-tracking the testimony of a man (arrested for murder) who claims that he is the perpetrator of another case (the one Bosch is investigating). Bosch smells a rat, and likely so. But the D.A. is willing to make a deal with this guy because he says he can show them where at least seven bodies are buried.

    Bosch rolls his eyes when sitting across the desk from this D.A.who hopes to use the positive publicity because he will have gained “closure” for the victims’ families. Bosch tells the D.A. he doesn’t believe in the idea and later tells his partner what had happened and that the “c-word” had come up.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    There are going to be a few minor spoilers here. But nothing that would ruin the series for you. I’ve got a little bit to go on the final episode of season one, but the main thrust of the season was has already occurred.

    I wonder if Steve was out there thinking, “When is Brad’s head going to explode?” I got to episode three or four and the brain cavity expanded a bit but it did not explode.

    The police are taking our serial killer for an outing where he will supposedly point out the buried bodies. The entourage consists of at least five police cars. He’s surround by about six big men. He’s heavily chained. But still (spoiler alert…but this is telegraphed all the way) he miraculously escapes in a manner that, if he practiced it a hundred times, maybe once it would have worked.

    This show jumped a shark at this point. But not the shark. But it was at least a four-footer. I groaned at this horrible plot point.

    But (spoiler alert again), I was surprised as all hell that they didn’t then pile on the cliches. I expected Harry’s wife or daughter to be kidnapped by the serial killer. And even though the cliche of the serial killer going one-on-one in a head game with one particular cop is another tired cliche, at least he didn’t kidnap the wife or daughter.

    And the guy playing the serial killer is somewhat lame. I would say he’s Hawaii Five-O caliber. He’s not horrible, but it looks like he just walked out of a low-budget Quinn Martin Production.

    Still, my eye-rolling aversion to him noted, I soldiered on. I hate the theme song of the series but think the soundtrack is generally excellent, evincing an old-style film noir. The productions values of the show are pretty good other than this truly idiot trend to wave the camera around — right left up down right down up down left — even if it’s just a still shot of someone talking. This is such an over-used and rookie camera technique. I guess it’s suppose to add drama. It just makes you dizzy and tires your eyes out.

    Generally the story and the characters (particularly Bosch) are interesting and well played. For a couple episodes Bosch’s black partner was given a few more lines and the show improved because of it. But then he was relegated to the proverbial serial-drama back of the bus and not given much more to do than say, “I’m on it, Harry.”

    An amazing feature of the plot (another small spoiler) is that Bosch’s girlfriend, the rookie woman cop, is not of the infallible ass-kicking female variety. In fact, she’s a bit of a boob, shooting herself when she grabbed her gun rather than the cuffs when handling a suspect. Imperfect woman. I didn’t know such a thing existed, at least in cable TV land.

    I would give this first season a thumbs-up with a few of the caveats noted. I actually expected a moodier, grittier (not to be confused with bloodier) series. And I think Titus Welliver could have easily handled it. In fact, he needed it. If you’ve ever watched the Jesse Stone dramas with Tom Selleck, a little more atmosphere, mood, and human fallibility would have improved the character.

    As it is, my second biggest beef with season one is that they keep talking about Bosch being this corner-cutting renegade cop but we never see it. As far as I can see, he’s doing it by the book all along. Show us, don’t just tell us that Bosch is a little dodgy. Some really big missed opportunities here.

    Another highlight of the show is (does this make her the token Latino?) Amy Aquino as Lt. Grace Billets. Yes, yes (another small spoiler). That lesbian thing is completely stupid and gratuitous, the show’s most obnoxious virtue-signaling moment. But as a character — Bosch’s boss — she’s pretty good. They needed to give her more direct interaction with boss as he’s on the case. The plots tended to be watered down with scattershot appearances of a bunch of higher-ups involved in a tacked-on political drama that nobody cares about but will surely be shoved down our throats in seasons 2.

    I see that Madison Lintz as “Maddie” (the rookie cop) is in most of the episodes to come. Too bad. They really should have had her tragically die or something and rotated in some new blood. She’s okay for a while but then the character really doesn’t have that much more to offer other than the token woman.

    I’ll finish season one and then see if season two has a better central plot line. I was really hoping that each plot line might be finished in a couple episodes and then move on with another case. Stretch out an entire season on one villain will work if the villain is particular compelling and the writing is sharp. This serial killer has his moments, particularly when he’s spending time with his mother, but everything else you’ve seen a dozen times before, and done much better.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Brad, you have noted every thing that the books are and the series is not. The books are darker, and Bosch is more of a conflicted loner. He is also a killer, although in Bosch’s world the man deserved to die. Actually, mine also.

      Still, as a TV drama and with current sensibilities considered in the writing Titus Welliver does an excellent job of conveying how many cops approach their job.

      Trivia fact, Bosch eventually finds out who his father is, and his half brother is the Lincoln Lawyer.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Glad to hear that the books are even better, Steve.

        I finished season one and just started episode 5 of season two. Season one ended well. I didn’t expect that. It was a snappy ending without being self-consciously spectacular and over-the-top. It was crisp.

        I think the crime story in season two is better, at least so far. They’ve given Bosch’s partner, J Edgar, more work to do and he handles it well. Amy Aquino as Lt. Grace Billets is now being worked into more scenes and she’s excellent as well.

        Chief Irving is growing on me a little. I think his storyline is starting to gain a little more subtlety and depth. Now that Madison Lintz is officially 19, I can comment a little more on her, playing the daughter of Bosch. Or maybe I shouldn’t. I know you can read my mind. Beyond all that, she plays it wonderfully as the slightly air-headed, spoiled, gullible teenager. I keep telling myself there’s no way she could be acting. That has to be a part of her. Kids these days. But who knows? I guess that’s why they’re actors. You can stop reading my mind now.

        Bosch’s ex-wife is good. You can see why they didn’t stay together. She’s the typical modern woman who makes a profession of fault-finding. Nothing Bosch can do or say is ever good enough. (I know people just like her and kudos to the actress for nailing the part…god help me, I hope she’s acting.) She’s a bit of a bitch and passed some of that onto her daughter, although Bosch’s relationship with his daughter has quickly matured into a good one. But early-on she was a brat. It was like, “Hunting a serial killer who’s murdered several women? That’s no excuse for being late to take me to the movies, daddy.”

        I just wanted to bitch-slap her. But like I said, they quickly and completely toned that down and now father and daughter are buddy-buddy. She’s even thinking of becoming a cop.

        The worst character by far in this is that of Julia Brasher. At the moment, she’s been banished to Hollywood. And I must have misread the IMDB info earlier. It turns out she’s only in 11 episodes, so soon it will be good riddance.

        Chief Irving’s son is involved in some interesting undercover stuff. I’m sure something will hit the fan on that soon.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          The sidebar of finding his mother’s killer continues through season 3 and 4. I tire of this obsession, mostly because it effects how Bosch deals with his family. It is difficult to keep the Bosch of the series separate from the Bosch of the books.

          Personally, I would have stayed with the Bosch from the books. He is darker and a loner, but a more interesting character without the baggage of an immediate family. I suppose they made the changes to make Bosch more “modern”. Since Connelly is one of the writers, its his call.

          All in all, Bosch is good cop drama in either book, or TV form, but it does make the viewer/reader confused.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Steve, I find “the baggage of an immediate family” to already be a drain. Episode one of season two was getting started and it’s like you took the needle mid-song and screeched it across the record as we went back to his family situation. WTF? It was just getting interesting.

            It’s too much now and no doubt it’s going to get a lot worse.

  9. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    If you’ve ever watched the Jesse Stone dramas with Tom Selleck, a little more atmosphere, mood, and human fallibility would have improved the character.

    I have seen the first three or four of the Jesse Stone dramas and they are each excellent. I cannot recall a police drama in which every aspect of the medium works so well. The music, cinematography and acting are all of a part and understated. There is nothing hoaky about any of the episodes I saw. Simply the best bit of film work I have seen in the 2000s.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Yes, I agree with your assessment, Mr. Kung. of the Jesse Stone series. I also like his shrink. I would visit a shrink who was like that.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Some big spoilers in the following:

    I’m at the start of episode 7 in season two. There was another minor shark-jumping in one of the earlier episodes of the second season where one of the Russian mafia guys (or whoever they are) tells Bosch that he is going to retaliate against him. Bosch is in Vegas investigating a murder. His ex-wife and daughter live in Vegas as well.

    I swear, this guy went to the Danny Reagan school of protective custody. If you’re ever watched much “Blue Bloods,” you know that the last person you want looking out for your safety is Danny Reagan. He’s is constantly being McGuffined into letting the bad guys get to a witness under his protection.

    Well, it’s a really really stupid plot point because the first thing any normal man would do would be to warn his family and take some kind of protective measures. Bosch doesn’t even register the threat. Horrible writing. And, of course, his family is kidnapped and held hostage by the bad guys. Bosch, I guess, is shocked, shocked that anyone would touch his family.

    A very dumb plot point. Inexcusable. But they do make up for it in episode 6 when Chief Irving’s son, who is working undercover, is killed. That entire sequence, starting when the father gets the call that something is going on with his son, is as good as cable TV gets. They didn’t over-play it. It’s a masterful piece of filmmaking. There’s a lot of cheesy stuff in the various series that Amazon and Netflix are cranking out. This one had the look of a pro. It was directed by Adam Davidson. Remember that name.

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    For a crime series, the plot in the second season of “Bosch” is far better than average. Spoilers coming, so only Steve can read along.

    In the 9th episode of season two there’s a gripping/hilarious (dark comedy) moment when three different groups converge on a bank parking lot and there’s a free-for-all shootout over a case full of money. Think of a scene from “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” but with guns. It’s a terrific moment.

    Captain Irving’s c-word wife is blaming him for their son’s death. What a bitch. She even locked him out of his own house. Oh well. It’s probably time for him to move on. I can’t see the grievance ever not sticking to this sourpuss. But maybe there will be a reconciliation. I actually hope not. I’ve come to like this guy. In season one, he was relegated to the Captain Doby role of just yelling negatives at anybody within earshot. In season two, his character (and the plots he’s involved in) are much more developed. He’s no longer the token Captain Doby.

    Bosch is showing a little Boschness when he decides to work “off the reservation” with Captain Irving to help find the murderer of his son. Irving is sure that the current investigation will just white-wash everything. As he bluntly says to Bosch, that’s what he would have done in a similar circumstance where you have this messy affair of cop killing cop. There’s a good scene at his son’s funeral. At the end of it, Bosch picks up one of the spent cartridges from the honor guard salute. (As my brother noted, there is the de rigueur libtard flinch by some when the guns are fired. No doubt Steve will tell me this is pretty common in real life. But the way this was filmed, it was meant to show the wussified character, such as it is, of Mrs. Irving, who flinched the most.)

    Anyway, Irving notices Bosch picking up one of the cartridges. At that moment you know he’s going to ask him to help find the murderer of his son. And so he does. A nice bit of filmmaking there. Foreshadowing, when done with skill, can be a good thing. Few do it well these days.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Obviously, he should pick up all the cartridges, and hopefully know which gun each came from. Then, when one turned out to be the fatal gun, they’d have a very good start. (Of course, assuming these aren’t personal weapons, but police guns available to anyone who has a use for them, probably not much of one.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        In this case, Bosch was picking up the bullets as a memento rather than evidence. Earlier in the series we saw that he had a jar of such bullets. Now we know what they are. He collects one bullet at each cop funeral that he has attended. That’s how Assistant Chief Irving knew he could rely on Bosch to do the right thing. Many of these cops (especially the officers) are all politically motivated. They’d sell each other out in a heartbeat….and Irving admitted that he does the same thing.

        But Bosch showed himself to have more heart than these other cold functionaries by his quiet act of dedication and remembrance.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          I think for Bosch it is much the same as vets leaving coins on headstones or among Jews to leave a rock on a headstone as a remembrance to those who have passed.

          There are many of them, in police departments world-wide who take the view of policing that, “everybody matters, or nobody matters”. In times when a good police is perhaps the most difficult job possible there are still officers like Bosch. It’s not surprising that the divorce rate is so high and death by their own hand is so common.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Suicide rates are high in many occupations at least partly because of ease of access to means of suicide as well as occupational stress. Doctors (e.g., the great British forensic pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury) as well as policemen are like this.

            • Steve Lancaster says:

              Many police suicides do not get marked as such because officers intentionally obscure the facts and coroners mark an obvious suicide as accidental or natural causes to spare friends and family.

              A friend’s father in Sacramento hung himself 3 years after retirement from the sheriff patrol. It was marked as natural causes from choking on a peach pit. I know he hung himself, my friend and I found the body.

              And, of course other high stress occupations have high rates of suicide, but I believe police and vets are the most underreported.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              A difficult job, both dealing with human nature and the results of our often naive social policies. I don’t know how a cop could maintain his sanity without being able to roughen up a bad guy once in a while. But now the bad guys are treated like kings.

              It’s a dangerous, high-stress job. And nowadays, their hands are tied. They are increasingly but political pawns. I don’t know why anyone would want the job in the first place. I do think a cop’s vote (not regarding issues of pay or personnel) should be worth 10,000 votes. I mean that quite literally. They see human nature up close and personal as well as the deleterious results of our many failed and ongoing social experiments. Would a cop vote to let the seriously mentally ill out of an institution? Would they vote to glamorize and make idols of “the homeless” when the reality on the street is not so clean and pure?

              It’s a wonder that more cops don’t shoot us instead of themselves. We deserve it.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                As San Francisco is learning the hard way, glamorizing the homeless is a crappy idea. In their case, literally so. They’re trying to clean the mess up without discouraging the homeless from making more, so at the end of the day they’re really going to be pooped.

                I suspect hiring policemen — good ones, anyway — is increasingly difficult in some places. How are new hires coming along in Baltimore, Chicago, and Ferguson?

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                Tim,
                I have known police in every place I have lived, as friends not professionally. Every time the crime rate spiked the cops were charged to bring it down and the game of juicing the stats accelerated. Street cops complain that their job is to put bad guys away and not just make arrests because they can.

                The political powers don’t care if the arrests the police make will not hold up in court; they only care about the numbers.

                In every city with a significant crime problem it seems the local government is run by——Democrats and in some cases for generations. Perhaps the solution to crime and police angst is electing republicans and even libertarians.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                My understanding is that the police are rated on arrests, not on how those arrests were ultimately adjudicated. There are logical reasons for this, but it’s also very convenient for politicians who want to look like they’re getting results in fighting crime without necessarily accomplishing anything.

                One danger in this approach is that if you have careerist policemen (and inevitably some of them will be, or at least become, careerists), they’ll be quite happy to make lots of worthless arrests. This leads to a very poor relationship between the police and the citizenry.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            There are many of them, in police departments world-wide who take the view of policing that, “everybody matters, or nobody matters”.

            I’ve heard that slogan from him a couple times. The last time was when he was busting the chops of one of the patrol cops about following up a lead. He’s the guy who is a little careless with the evidence. Bosch was also busting his chops about whether or not he was wearing gloves this time at the crime scene.

            It’s funny to watch the bitch level on Bosch’s ex-wife go from DefCon 2 to a more normal 3.5. She’s become much more likable and I wonder if we’ll get some crossover in plots with her (presumably) getting a job somewhere as a profiler now that her record has been cleared. At the same time, Irving’s wife has doubled-down on blaming her husband for her son’s death. I know it’s going to be hard for him, but he’s far better off without her.

            I’ve got to hand it to season 2 for having a pretty good overall plot. I’ve just started season 3 and we’ll what they have in mind for this season. No matter what happens from here on out, you get kudos for good taste, Steve. I would have never watched this series otherwise if not for your review.

            I should also note that Seven-of-Nine plays it well and still looks very good. It’s interesting that her character crosses over into season three. It will be interesting to see how far into season three she goes.

            • Steve Lancaster says:

              Just finished book 4, The Lone Coyote. There are elements of the first four seasons in every book, although this one has a lot of season 1 in it. Bosch has actually found his mother’s killer. It not the same person as in the series.

              Bosch is much more tormented by the demons of his past, and present, in the books. It makes him a much more complex character. That said, in order to make the series I understand why Connelly chose to make such changes, or at least go along with them. Bosch had to be more homogenized for TV.

              The books are a good read. I have read four of them in the last month. If Connelly’s purpose was to use the TV series to sell books then at least with me he was successful. But either way TV or book Bosch is in the tradition of the LA cop and worth the time.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Harry Bosch books in published order

                There is some nice, snappy dialogue that sneaks into the series once in a while (surely from the books) that give it an authentic feel. I like how J Edgar, for instance, doesn’t reach for “the pump-action shotgun” from the trunk of the car. He goes for “the tube.” Inside lingo is surely a part of it. I wish I could remember other specific examples. But I imagine this is where the books excel.

  12. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Since most of us at ST seem to enjoy crime mysteries, I would suggest watching the latest series on PBS, which is “Shetland.”

    As one would expect, the venue is the island of Shetland and environs.

    I find the acting and camera work very nice.

    The only caveat is that taking place in Scotland, everyone speaks with a pretty strong accent. Some people might have trouble understanding the characters.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      That subject matter is talked about further here, Mr. Kung. I really liked aspects of it until they started to really bloat some of these plots.

      Regarding accents, the closed captioning works wonders. But I do like the understated DI Jimmy Perez. You all may get tired of the lens that I see these things through (the opposite of politically correct) but I like the way that he is a masculine man but in a quiet way. He’s no namby pamby wet-noodle touchy-feely kind of guy (well…maybe a little of the latter). But he’s also not jumping around all over the place like a rambunctious teenager. He’s steady, calm, and (like any good detective) completely indefatigable. But I did tire of some of the stretched-out plotting, chock full of McGuffins.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I am on about the fourth episode of the series. PBS splits them into two broadcasts so the conclusion of this story will be next week.

        Some guy has gone missing while on a ferry and ends up being found at a recycling mill when they empty the 20ft container he has been trapped in.

        So far so good.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I hope you enjoy the whole thing, Mr. Kung. Seasons one and two are fairly crisp with each storyline taking about two episodes.

          But they really jump the shark in season 3 which stretches the plot out two six episodes…and there’s really only about two episodes worth of content in it. So enjoy those first two seasons, in particular. I know I did.

          Season 4 is more of the same. It’s too long on one plot line. I watched one maybe 1 1/2 episodes and my eyes glazed over. Maybe I’ll get back to it but I doubt it.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    My understanding is that the police are rated on arrests, not on how those arrests were ultimately adjudicated. There are logical reasons for this, but it’s also very convenient for politicians who want to look like they’re getting results in fighting crime without necessarily accomplishing anything.

    Timothy, I don’t know how it is in the real police world, but I suspect that “Bosch” probably includes a few real-world facts.

    Central to this show (so far through season two and one episode into three) there is a central theme running through this of police and district attorney officials willing to bury murders in order to save a confidential informant and other political shenanigans. I think it was the D.A. in this show who used one particular C.I. to gain a lot of notice for some big drug busts. This was the same guy who killed Bosch’s mother. Looking into evidence of his guilt was quashed by higher ups. This C.I. was too valuable a source.

    There are no spoilers in the following because I’m just speculating. But it looks like there are more dirty cops operating in the main plot. A multiple murderer has been killed (he may have been a C.I, I don’t know). This season’s plotting is convoluted. It’s as if three different writers were competing to get their plots told. It’s all a spaghetti twist of events so far. Perhaps it will all make sense later. But even if it does, it doesn’t excuse the rather hack writing in season three so far, especially coming off a crisp, interesting, and well-crafted plot in season two.

    People are being rubbed out, seemingly to cover someone’s trail, and probably by cops. There are two obvious possibilities. The most obvious (to me), and thus not the likeliest, is that the District Attorney is behind the dirty band of cops. Possible this band was related to the one in season two. The slicker possibility is that Acting Chief Irving, who says he will not take the job permanently, is trying up some lose ends before he does accept the police chief’s job permanently. What we can know about the acting chief is that he likely has a dodgy past.

    Only Steve knows, and he ain’t sayin’.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews, just suggest that there is a good story line that is interesting and worth viewing. That said, keep one eye on the DA and Commissioner. Irving is much more than just another bureaucrat.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The plot just seems a bit scattershot in season 3 so far. But I’ll soldier on and sees how it all comes together.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’ve read about the problem with cops, the FBI, and the CIA covering up the crimes of informants. In fact, I think this happened with the Whitey Bolger case in Boston. It’s hard to get good insider informants who aren’t monsters, unless you infiltrate cops into it, and even they may find it hard to keep clean. (Think of the second half of The Valley of Fear, which deals with Birdy Edwards and his infiltration of the Scowrers — which was based on an actual case involving the Molly Maguires, a rogue branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in the anthracite country in Pennsylvania.) Not to mention that infiltration isn’t always easy to accomplish.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m into about episode 8 of season 3. The plot of season 3 of Bosch continues to be scattershot. It’s not very well done. But many of the characters (such as Bosch, J Edgar, and the two older guys) are interesting. But you need a scorecard to keep track of what’s going on. Even watching these back-to-back it gets confusing.

    I think this is another example where being short of a good idea for a story the writers have substituted an abundance of story instead of going for excellence of story. This is the equivalent of special-effects movies that rely on bamboozling the audience with lots of pretty lights and motion on the screen, story be damned.

    Still, it’s watchable on a certain level. But if season four adopts the same approach, I’ll move onto something else. But watch seasons one and two, for sure.

  15. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Both of my brothers are enjoying this show when we can get together for lunch or something.

    I’ve started season 4. Season 3 was not nearly as good as the first two. It had at least five different stories going on in that one. That’s not a deal-breaker. But they made it hard to keep track of things. Very often they would have a short scene and then cut away from it without much of a clue of what was going on.

    Many assumptions are made by the writers. I feel like I’ve fallen asleep at times (but I haven’t). For instance, in season 4 (spoiler alert), J Edgar says he’s divorced from his wife/ When did that happen? That was news to me. Maybe he was kidding about that. But that’s one of the problems of the show. They jump all over and often times leave things out. Me thinks the editor needs to be fired.

    That said, season 4 seems to have a more focused plot. Again (spoiler), I really get tired of the over-used device of internal affairs, bad cops, etc., etc. One of my favorite shows, “Blue Bloods,” regularly is nearly unwatchable because of this. Stick to the crimes and the criminals. Don’t make every damn story about investigating cops.

    But we have what we have and, at least for the moment (two episodes in, I think), season 4 has gotten back to the basics of a good private-dick or police investigator: You follow the story through his eyes as he pursues the case. So far they’ve done this with Bosch. Oh, I don’t expect them to continue. And I don’t mind one or two side stories (such as his ex-wife and the FBI, or Bosch’s own pursuit of his mother’s killer). But limit it to that, please.

    The producers and writers of the show often show a skill for interesting characters, such as the two older guys whose demeanor and dialogue are hilarious. Every cop station must have guys like this. Some of the characters are just often cookie-cutout stereotypes. But there are at least enough good ones.

    Bosch’s daughter could be killed off tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss her. I’m tired of the little nitwit. Bosch’s ex-wife I like, but please write a story for her. J Edgar is a good character as is a new guy introduced last season. He’s the black guy who is the junior partner of Bosch’s rival (who looks half black/half Filipino, but I’m not sure). Bosch may be the one cop in the entire series who just wants to do his job with a lot of BS or ego.

    J Edgar is sort of that way. And there has been some hilarious dialogue from him and about him. One person wondered if he was going to get burnt out like Bosch’s last partner. A good line because you can definitely see the risk of working with Bosch. And yet although Bosch cuts some corners, he’s one of the few cops we see whose attitude is that the bad guys are the enemies. So many of the other officers are full of attitude and pursue cases for political reasons….or don’t pursue them for the same reason. And I think J Edgar knows and appreciates Bosch’s approaches. Dodgy sometimes, but always with the aim of putting away the bad guys.

  16. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The Bosch Report

    I’m up to episode 6, season 4. A recap: Season One (good); Season Two (not so good); Season Three (still an overly convoluted plot, but much better done).

    That brings us to Season Four. Only those who have watched it may read further because of a big spoiler. All I can tell you is that they killed off the wrong family member. Bosch’s ex-wife is murdered almost certainly because of something she uncovered while helping the FBI. That hasn’t resolved itself yet.

    But they killed the wrong Bosch. The worst actor and the most annoying character is Bosch’s daughter, Maddie, who is receiving increasingly more screen time while adding zero to any plot line. This is a bad thing, in particular, because the girl just can’t act. Try as she might, all she can do regarding her mother’s murder is give sort of a blank, sad, stare that looks more like she’s angry at her boyfriend for leaving the toilet seat up.

    They would have been much better served in this series if they would have had a story arc that lasted for two or three episodes, at most, and then just moved onto another. This series is so obviously padded it’s not funny. It’s a shame because there are some good characters here. But it’s all been watered down to fill out the 10 episodes when they have, at best, 4 episodes worth of material, and it’s just not working.

    J Edgar remains a good character although his screen time is being eaten up by the horrible Maddie and by Bosch’s rival, Detective Robertson. I consider Paul Calderon, who plays Robertson, to be doing a good job given the extremely thin material he’s given. But every scene he’s in is an unnecessary diversion.

    By the time all these story lines are resolved, I’m just not going to care. They need to tighten up this series. Even Titus Welliver is given relatively little to do as we’re constantly spending time with other peripheral plots and characters. Let Bosch be Bosch and let J Edgar be J Edgar and do it in no more than 3 episodes and all will be well.

  17. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Episode 8, Season 4 of BoschDark Sky — was a good one. And it makes it crystal-clear just how badly this season is padded. You could write what happened of significance in the prior 4 episodes on a cocktail napkin.

    But the writers woke and decided to make something happen instead of endless two-minute scenes spread around the cast like throwing chicken feed to the chickens.

    That said, Maddie (Bosch’s daughter) continues to be the worst character by far even as her screen time is increasing. She’s there obviously only for the Snowflake demographic.

    Two more episodes to go in season four and we’ll see how that goes.

  18. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I finished season four of Bosch, which is the last of it that is currently offered by Amazon Prime. Concluding episodes nine and ten ramped up the plot — ramped it up to what I would say is normal for any good series. It’s not as if they were action-packed, per se. But it showed just how padded most of season four was up until then.

    The ending was not entirely satisfying. And I have no idea how Bosch knew that J Edgar was in the tunnel. But at least they got the bad guy.

    Another core point is that the writers have basically stopped developing the character of Harry Bosch — unless they consider the treacley asides with his can’t-act-her-way-out-of-a-wet-paper=bag daughter to be character development. We get more character development in J Edgar than we do of Bosch. And that’s a shame.

    I don’t know why they stopped writing for him. We see Chief Irving develop somewhat as a character, and even Lt. Billets.

    Still, this show is groundbreaker for one thing: There are “people of color” who are the bad guys. You’re never going to see that in most series or TV programs. Sure, as with Chief Irving, J Edgar, and Detective Pierce (I like this guy), there are some good guys as well. But it almost shocking to see “people of color” (such as the mayor and others) shown as being corrupt.

    One of the worst (spoiler), of course, was the Klingon-looking black IA chick, IA Detective Gabriella Lincoln. Girl, you need a new hairstyle because you look like you’re in the first stage of being made up to be a Star Trek: Next Generation Klingon.

    She’s forgettable as an actress but her partner, IA Detective Amy Snyder, is one of the better developed characters. Yes, it’s a slow development. And you suppose she is going to remain the ball-busting IA stereotype female. But they do let her character branch out from this, and Winter Ave Zoli is excellent in this restrained and nuanced role.

    Contrast that with all the angry black chicks who are the wives of the principles. J Edgar. Run. Run far and fast and find yourself a real woman. And poor Chief Irving. I’m so glad he found that Korean chick because his wife (ex wife) was a nightmare. I thought us white people were supposed to be the ones who were angry all the time. Not so.

    All in all, had season four been properly told in about 3 or 4 episodes, tops, it would have been terrific. As it is I think you could almost veiw episodes one and two and then skip to nine and ten. There’s a lot of filler.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I feel you have been making a sacrifice by watching this series for the rest of us.

      I will, very likely, never take the time to view a single episode.

      No matter what, whenever I see the title “Bosch,” I think of spark plugs or windshield wipers.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I think of demons dancing. I had a collection of art by Hieronymus Bosch, and that’s what he was most famous for.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Grading by the curve offered by streaming services, Bosch is better than average. Season one is very watchable and generally and genuinely good. Two no. Three yes. Four only in stretches.

        What’s most disappointing (other than the horrendous in-your-face Snowflake Maddie character) is that, despite having the title role, not all that much time in the later series are spent on Detective Bosch.

        I like Titus Welliver in the role, although the direction of him (by the directors, I mean) is mediocre, at best. It’s as if they really don’t care about this character and want to get onto the more exciting ones — such as Maddie who, try as she might, can’t emote an honest emotion. She seems to be the one PC element in this entire series. She’s there only for the yute demographic. Every scene she is in is an interruption of the action.

        Being named after a spark plug shouldn’t detract from the fact that there’s a lot of good in the four seasons. It’s just that after season one, it’s rather spread out.

        And the real harm of the Maddie character (aside from being a mediocre actor) is that, spread out or not, this is generally a mature series. It’s not filled with a lot of stupidity or even overt political correctness. This series likely would not appeal to anyone under 30 (or perhaps 40). And I’m sure that’s why in the later series they tried to shoehorn in Maddie, to appeal to a younger audience.

        I’m sure the books are better, because one reviewer is right in that this series doesn’t develop Bosch himself much beyond a series of cop cliches. Titus Welliver is more than capable of handling richer material. But he’s rarely given it. That doesn’t mean he isn’t solid with what he is given. I think he is. However, the final scene with the bad guy in series four, for example, is a very lazy bit of directing. That’s all we get after a four-series build-up is Welliver giving a tight-lipped grimace? It was just poorly done, especially for a scene that was the culmination of so much of what had come before.

        Criticism that this show is just “flat,” that we’ve seen these plots a million times, or even (my favorite) that positive reviews of the show are based on Connelly fans who finally can see their hero on screen shouldn’t detract from the fact that this is a serious series not meant for the goofball generation of nose-picking vulgarians.

  19. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One of the interesting aspects of season four was the search for the SD chip taken out of a security camera that shows some police officers roughing up a kidnapping suspect. This video is the lynchpin for the entire season.

    They searched and searched for the chip in the personal effects of the murdered man and in his house and office. They could find nothing. (Spoiler). That is, until Bosch notices a ring in the dead man’s effects that appears not to actually be a finger ring.

    And it perfectly fits a quarter that was also found in the dead man’s pockets. And I had no idea that there was a real product like this. I’m tempted to spend twenty-five bucks just to have one. That’s a pretty cool idea. And apparently these are made from real quarters and are thus indistinguishable from the unaltered thing.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Something similar happens in Black Book by James Patterson and David Ellis. A Chicago police officer raids a very high-class brothel (the mayor and the Catholic archbishop are both netted in the raid), but can’t find the madame’s “little black book” of customers — which might be in paper, might be a computer chip, might be just about anywhere or anything. The failure to find it leads to suspicion of corruption, particularly since the cop who led the raid is also covertly looking for corrupt cops. (This is Chicago, so their presence can safely be assumed.) He eventually finds out what happened, much to his shock when he finally learns.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Remember back in the days when they were looking for microfilm? And then it became a microdot. The dot could be pretty small but couldn’t hold all that much info.

        Now you can get a 400GB Micro SD Card for $114.00. Wow. You can almost put the Library of Congress (about 10 terabytes) on that. Or at least a medium-size library.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I believe a microdot was actually a tiny piece of microfilm. This is how they were usually hidden on letters. There would be some actual (unimportant) content — and somewhere one (or more) period would actually be a microdot. This got started in World War II, first used by the Abwehr. (Not that it did them much good, given the quality of their agents. Their best agents were mostly double agents really working for the Allies.)

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I spoke too soon about how much information an old-fashioned microdot could hold. This info from Wiki states:

            Improvement in technology since then has made even more miniaturization possible.[2] At the International Congress of Photography in Paris in 1925 Emanuel Goldberg presented a method of producing extreme reduction microdots using a two-stage process. First, at initial reduced negative was made, then the image of the negative was projected from the eyepiece of a modified microscope onto a collodium emulsion where the microscope specimen slide would be. The reduction was such that a page of text would be legibly reproduced in a surface of 0.001 sq. mm. This density is comparable to the entire text of the Bible fifty times over in one square inch.

  20. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Another thing I’ll say in favor of Bosch it that it is not pornographically violent. It does not cater to this prurient interest that many have. I was reminded of this as I browsed Amazon Prime and BritBox for a new series to watch. So far I’ve found nothing worth mentioning.

  21. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Steve, I’ve been looking for another series to watch post-Bosch. I won’t tell you all of the one’s I quickly bailed out of. And I can’t recommend this next one with much strength but there is some interest in it. It’s available on Amazon Prime.

    Fortitude is a fictional small town and scientific research station on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Norway. Much of the filming is in Iceland.

    The acting and direction are not top-notch. Some scenes seem notably stretched out as if they’re simply trying to fill some time. But Richard Dormer as the bad-tempered sheriff plays his part well, as does Stanley Tucci as DCI Morton who comes into this first season a few episodes in. I would love to see a series based on his character. He’s sober, unexcitable, and completely indefatigable. And very British.

    The gist of the show so far is that there have been a couple deaths…both are perhaps murders. Someone found some old bones that might put a crimp in the plans of several to build a fancy resort in the ice (including the colony’s governor, the lesbian-looking Sofie Gråbøl who plays Hildur Odegard….and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t go down this road).

    The violence is pretty tame by streaming series standards, but there is an overall darkness to the series. Everyone seems to have their hands in something dirty. Besides Stanley Tucci, the only actor I recognize is Michael Gambon who plays a dying drunk. In my opinion, this is a bad character for him. He seems wasted. But whatever. He’s just one amongst a number of strange or bad characters, including a man going around creating some mischief who has stopped taking his anti-psychotic pills.

    It’s too early to tell if this is going to coalesce into something coherent or if it’s just a clusterf**k of circumstances and people. But at least at the start of episode 6 (which is as far as I’ve gotten), they are already clearing up a few plot points. This is a good sign.

    Anyway, this is somewhat slow to develop. I would give it a couple episodes and then see what you think.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I wouldn’t expect a “very British” DCI investigating possible crimes at a station in northern Norway. Nor would there be a colony with a governor there, though the population might be dominated by Lapps rather than Norwegians depending on exactly where it is.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I wouldn’t expect a “very British” DCI investigating possible crimes at a station in northern Norway.

        We need to get you hooked up to Amazon Prime, Timothy, so you can watch for yourself. I thought DCI Morton was very British in that he has that old British understatement and reserve which is rare in these kinds of shows.

        The sheriff, on the other hand (he might be Norwegian….I’m not sure) is always bouncing off the wall. Still, this does suit his character. It’s not quite gratuitous bouncing off the walls.

        They call the lesbian-looking chick “the governor” so I don’t know what their arrangement is. But she is clearly the legal boss there. Maybe you could do some online research and figure that out.

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