Amazon Prime Video Review: ‘Bosch,’ Season 3

Bosch Season 3

I’m pretty sure I reviewed Bosch, the Amazon Prime Video series based on Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch mystery novels, earlier on this blog. Still it’s been a while, and I just finished the new third season, so I’ll praise it again. Because it is quite good.

Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch is a Los Angeles homicide detective. He’s a military veteran and has a high case clearance rate, though he can be a pain in the anatomy to his co-workers and superiors. He’s almost obsessively by the book in his work ethic, but he can cut moral corners when he feels it’s justified. He is in fact motivated by inner demons, but he keeps them buttoned up.

In this third season, the first major plot line involves a reprehensible Hollywood producer (that’s an oxymoron, I suppose), who had a lowlife acquaintance murdered because he knew too much about a previous murder he’d committed (this is complicated by the fact that Bosch has been pursuing the guy himself over another matter, and has the murder on film, which he can’t use because his surveillance is illegal). The second big plot line centers on a group of former Army Special Forces guys who pull off a big theft and aren’t shy about killing people along the way. Their combat skills make them formidable adversaries for Bosch – and eventually for each other.

Fans of the books will note some major changes from that world. One of the most noticeable changes is the character of Chief Irvin Irving. In the books, Irving is a corrupt, power-hungry white guy who sometimes helps Bosch and sometimes thwarts him, depending on what’s in it for him. The TV series transforms him into an upright black man. I can only assume the LAPD asked for the change, for the sake of its public image. Another interesting makeover was done to Jerry Edgar, Bosch’s partner. In the books Jerry is kind of slacker. He sells real estate on the side, and is always talking on the phone to prospects when he should be working the case. In the series he’s devoted to the job, and uninterested in his wife’s suggestion that he might try real estate.

But the heart of the series is the character of Harry Bosch, which is solidly translated here. Actor Titus Welliver doesn’t match my image of Harry, but he has the character nailed. This Harry is younger than the one in the books, who is a Vietnam veteran and getting pretty long in the tooth. Now he’s a Desert Storm veteran, in his 40s. His life is complicated by the presence in his home of his daughter, who is staying with him while his ex-wife is living in Hong Kong with another guy. Harry enjoys having her there, but has to deal with his protectiveness (which is sometimes justified). There’s a wonderful flashback segment where young Harry (played by Welliver’s son, who looks just right), goes to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. His mother, a prostitute who was murdered not long before, always took him there for the holiday. The waiter treats Harry with great kindness and says nice things about his mother. Harry’s response tells you a lot about the kind of man he’ll become.

I’ve been enjoying the Bosch series, and this season may have been the best yet (though I found the plot lines a little confusing at first). Recommended, with cautions for lots of bad language, adult themes, and violence.

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