Amazon’s longest-running show returns in a slightly new guise. Fresh digs, some new faces, same old Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (Titus Welliver).
Picking straight up from season seven of Bosch, we find Harry embarking on a new life as a private detective after having quit the LAPD at the end of the last episode. An earthquake has rendered his million-dollar clifftop home unlivable, so Harry decamps to his new, sparse office, where he still listens to jazz and has a bourbon at night. This could practically have been called Bosch: Gumshoe.
This soft reboot allows for many characters to be omitted and the show to transform into almost a three-hander. Mimi Rogers — here a beacon for female actors of a certain age getting decent parts — returns as Honey Chandler, Harry’s one-time rival and now cohort. His daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) has joined the force and is undergoing training as a fresh ‘boot’, following in the footsteps of both parents. And whilst Harry has his ongoing cold cases to work, client Whitney Vance (William Devane) serves up a new mystery for Bosch to get personal about.
Despite sixty eight episodes of Bosch, newcomers are well served by a comprehensive “previously, on…” catchup. Corrupt businessman Carl Rogers (Michael Rose), who hired a hitman to kill Honey, is still being chased by her and Harry and there’s an early murder of a well-doing doctor, plus an ongoing investigation of a rapist by Maddie. Loosely adapted from the book The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Bosch Godfather Michael Connelly, these disparate plot strands take centre stage at seemingly random intervals; just past the halfway mark and it feels like the main story has ended, only for the others to come to the fore, and it rather knocks the pace off.
But that won’t put Bosch fans or even new viewers off. True, casting William Devane and then keeping him mostly off-screen is an actual crime (and along with Stephen A. Chang as Harry’s tech guy Mo, you’ve got two of the most mellifluous voices to grace the screen). Welliver also continues to annoy with the ‘Richard Gere/David Caruso look everywhere but the person you’re talking to’ style of acting, and there’s a very silly Murder She Wrote moment involving a pen, but these are mere quibbles. Despite the horrors our triumvirate faces, this is real comfort viewing. Having the plot unfold as the protagonist uncovers it and not telegraphing every damn thing is always good. Despite its adherence to detective clichés, Bosch doesn’t make the mistake of underestimating the audience’s intelligence. Plug in the neon lights, crank up the jazz, pour yourself a double and go sleuthing with Harry. He’ll not smile. Ever. But you’ll still like him.