Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bosch - newish from Amazon Prime

Hello, blog readers. I'm Ben, author of the instant classics guest posts on Daredevil and Peaky Blinders. Maggie Cats recruited me to come on full-time because I already had a clever Blogger handle: "the Pedant." As a name, it's both a promise and a threat.

I'm one of those "cord nevers" the cable company likes to pretend don't exist; I use my DSL to consume from streaming services, as well as taking advantage that someone else's parents pay good money for HBO GO. As a result, my posts will mostly be about the things that I dredge up from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Today, I'm going to tell you about the fun new(ish, came out in February) Amazon Prime-only series Bosch. It's based on a series of books by writer Michael Connelly, which I haven't read, but I'm told are pretty good. In both books and show, LAPD detective Heironymous "Harry" Bosch solves crimes and gets justice, law and "the rules" be damned.

Harry Bosch is played by Titus Welliver, whom you may remember as "SHIELD Agent who Deathlok stomped into a coma in season one":
"Wait, Patton Oswalt gets a regular gig on this show, and I don't?"

Or perhaps as "Starfleet officer murdering intelligent beings for spaceship fuel" in Star Trek: Voyager:
Maxwell Burke.jpg
"The Paramount folks found this expression too intense for Star Trek."

He's generally a character actor for shows (Sons of Anarchy, The Good Wife), which is sad, because Titus Welliver is actually a pretty decent actor, which I did not define by lowering the bar to "not having a brow-heavy glower in every scene."

While Harry Bosch does have his share of brow-heavy glowers (how could he not?), he's a troubled soul with a large arsenal of non-glower facial expressions. The season starts with Bosch shooting a suspected serial killer who turns out maybe to be unarmed, and he gets sued for it.

Bosch being in trouble for doing the right thing in sort of the wrong way is a recurring theme. His respect for police procedure and "the rules" is at his convenience, but he does get caught for it. Usually, though, he gets off with only a minor penalty because he did in fact stop a very bad guy, although it's not because the bad guy was bad, it's because punishing Bosch would be politically inconvenient for the LAPD. 

And then, for the first season's story arc, some other police find Evil Clone of Mark Ruffalo (Jason Gedrick, previously on Dexter) with a murdered male prostitute in the back of his panel van.
"I swear I have no idea how that rent boy got into my panel van to then stun gun and strangle himself to death."

Dark Ruffalo is named Raynard Waits, and after a day of pretending he knows nothing about anything, he then claims to have murdered a bunch of folks, including a a long-dead child whose remains Bosch has just found. But Bosch is pretty sure Dark Ruffalo didn't commit that murder. 

Finding out who did, and whether Dark Ruffalo will get his due, provides the tension for the season. And it is tense. Promising leads go nowhere, Bosch makes ill-considered decisions in his personal and professional life, and the higher-ups in the LAPD (mostly The Wire's Lance Reddick, playing a different high-ranking policeman) and District Attorney's office are scheming to take maximum political advantage of the fallout. 

Did I mention the opening theme? It's Caught a Ghost's "Can't Let Go," which is the best expression of jazzy jadedness towards life since Morphine's "The Night." It predisposes you to a story of grit, of perseverance against near-certain failure, of an ugly world that still needs saving. It's a great theme. 

So, if you have Amazon Prime, spend some time watching Bosch. Unless you hate gritty detective stories, you won't regret it. 

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