Tweetable Takeaway: Titus Welliver plays #Bosch in the Amazon Studios television series. Is it worth your while?Tweet
Airtime: Streaming on Amazon Prime
By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor
The first season of BOSCH from Amazon Studios is an ambitious take on the hard boiled Los Angeles detective stories from the past. Bosch is loosely based on the novels of Michael Connelly, and has a great leading man in Titus Welliver who plays Harry Bosch. The question is, does the show work, and is it worth your while to spend ten hours in this world?
The production values of the show are really top notch, and the way they turned Los Angeles into a character is commendable. The locations chosen for the show really make it feel rich and layered. Everything from the Los Angeles River to the hills above Hollywood helps make the world of Bosch visually compelling.
The credit sequence is really telling and visually displays the dualistic nature of Bosch and the world he lives in. One minute he’s upholding the law, and the other he’s defending himself for following the rules and procedures set in place to keep him safe.
Titus Welliver owns the brooding character of Bosch, and it fits him like a glove. He’s believable as the world-weary detective who always finds himself as an outsider on the force. He’s a jazz loving, vinyl record playing, old school detective in the middle of a wrongful death lawsuit. While the trial plays out, he’s relegated to light duty. One of the calls he receives sets off the action of the entire series. The bones of a child are discovered in the wooded hills above Hollywood, and the series plays out while Bosch tries to solve what happened to this child.
One of the more interesting aspects of the show is Bosch’s relationship with his daughter. There’s a love and respect there that really rings true. It’s too bad this takes a back seat to some of the other storylines, as it’s the one positive relationship Bosch has in the entire series outside of his partner.
The dead child mystery mixed with Bosch’s legal troubles made for a compelling show. I was intrigued and really enjoyed it for the first three or four episodes. Things were going well until midway through the series, where everything falls apart narratively. A serial killer, Raynard Waits, is introduced and seemingly forced into the plot of the series. Afterward, everything to do with Waits seems far too convenient. It’s sloppy storytelling packed with half-baked ideas.
Waits ties himself to the dead child Bosch found, makes a dramatic escape, which leads to an ultimate showdown with Bosch. It’s as if the show wasn’t confident enough to rely on the human drama Bosch goes through, and has to tack on a silly, poorly constructed serial killer narrative ala The Following onto itself. There’s even a really goofy parallel between Raynard Waits and Medieval French folklore that never really goes anywhere. Don’t even get me started with the fact Waits and Bosch spent time in the same orphanage.
Things just get sillier and sillier as the show goes on, until everything culminates in a stupid, senseless, and unearned “Forget it Bosch, it’s Chinatown” style ending. What started out as a very watchable show with an outstanding cast became painful and hard to watch as everything unraveled. Great character actors were wasted on subpar material. A point of irony in the show is one of Bosch’s cases has been turned into a movie he admits is really bad. Art imitates life. It’s really unfortunate the show took such a left turn, because it could have been really good. Titus Welliver deserves to front a show, but sadly this is not that show.
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.