Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bosch, Season 2

It's time again for one of the best opening themes in television again (I'll just wait while you rewatch the Season 1 credits):
That's right, everyone, Bosch is back.
If you don't remember and are too apathetic to read my review of Season 1, Bosch is a police procedural based on the mystery novels of Michael Connolly (fun fact: The Lincoln Lawyer -- the book and the Matthew McConaughey movie -- are a spin-off of the Bosch novels; apparently the Lincoln Lawyer is Bosch's half-brother).

As we left Season 1, Detective Heironymous "Harry" Bosch (played by Titus Welliver) had stopped a serial killer, solved the murder of a little boy, and gotten himself deeply in trouble with the police department for reasons completely unrelated to his gruff personality and "pragmatism" when it comes to police procedure. It's now six months later; Bosch is back to work solving crimes when a mobbed-up Armenian pornographer is found shot dead and stuffed into the trunk of his Bentley.

Suspicion immediately falls on the victim's wife, Victoria Allen (played by Jeri Ryan), as Starfleet is always suspicious of the Borg:

Seriously, though, it's because Tony Allen was a man who launders money for Armenian organized crime and spent a lot of time in Vegas in the company of strippers not his wife. She just maybe was jealous and looking for some of the money.

But clearly she didn't double-tap Tony on a lonely California highway and shove him in his trunk. So who did?

Bosch applies his trademark lack of tact and vengeful need to get the perp to this case, even when it makes him enemies with the mob and the FBI. In the meantime, we continue to follow some of the other characters from Season 1; Deputy Chief Irving is still trying to finagle a chiefship out of Los Angeles politics and his son is working undercover for Internal Affairs. Surprisingly, these plots intersect with Bosch's main case in a way that is neither too brief nor too contrived.

I really enjoy Bosch. It's gritty; Los Angeles in this show is a hot desert full of nasty corrupt people, and that's just the police officers. But each person has a personality, real motivations, and are played well by a cast of people who generally aren't "Hollywood pretty." Even the villains are people, which is refreshing, because that wasn't true even for this show last season.

Last season, Reynard Waits was kidnapping mothers and leaving their infant kids behind in strollers crying. Reynard was a monster; remember that we are introduced to him with a dead prostitute in the back of his literal murder van. There are no monsters this season, just people who have decided to do evil. And the distinction is clear. Bad people still do normal things, like hang out with old friends and then go back to their hideouts to have trouble opening a tin of disgusting-looking Vienna sausages (maybe it was the lighting, but they looked super-gross). The show is better for it.
This gunfight, from the literally explosive final episode, was also one of the most "real" I've seen -- everyone's shooting blind, hitting things by luck alone, and desperately ducking not to get shot.
One warning: this season does not end "tidily." Yes, the bad guys are caught, but it's more of just a thing that happens than a denouement, because life continues to go on. It's interesting, it's plausible, but it's not an NCIS "got the bad guys let's high-five and have some drinks" kind of ending.

No comments: