Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch made a career in the Los Angeles Police Department, as well-known by his colleagues for his sometimes-fiery temper and irascible attitude as his commitment to justice. But he never suffered fools or opportunists gladly and finally left the department with some broken fences – and bruises. Now he’s a private citizen, but justice is still a mission when ‘Everybody counts or nobody counts’… though occasionally that may put him on a collision course with his daughter Maddie – now also a police officer – and Honey ‘Money’ Chandler, a lawyer who’s been ally and opposition.
When we last left Bosch, he’d solved an important case, alongside Chandler, though they’d stepped more than a little outside the law to make sure justice was done. And Maddie had been kidnapped by a man labelled as the ”Screen Cutter’ rapist… and if he can’t escape justice, he’s going to use Maddie’s life as leverage… but time is running out to save her and Bosch will cross any line to make sure she’s saved…
It’s interesting to see that the character of Harry Bosch seems to be having the same potential longevity as the original, ongoing novels by Michael Connelly (Connelly’s seventeenth book – Resurrection Walk – about the ex-detective, once again teamed with half-brother Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, hits the shelves in November). At this point, Bosch is streaming’s longest-running character on screen, ably personified by Titus Welliver.
The first four episodes of the new run landed on Amazon‘s free streaming service freevee last Friday (two more episodes will be released around the same time each week for the duration of the ten-episode run).
While most of the Amazon seasons were lifted from the books (with a few narrative tweaks to blend elements together and update some of the stories) the ‘Legacy‘ series is starting to deviate from the books more noticeably – though this latest season takes several ideas and beats from 2015’s The Crossing. This is partly due to that ‘Legacy’ moniker and the decision to change the emphasis from Harry and supporting players, to giving serious arcs for Harry (Welliver), Maddie (Madison Lintz) and Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers) and watching the way they intertwine.
But first we have to sort out the cliffhanger which ended last year’s run. Maddie appears to have been kidnapped (or worse) by Kurt Dockweiler, a serial rapist labelled the ‘Screen Cutter’ (a role that’s been recast and re-shot with David Denman for those paying attention) and Harry is ready to carve up all of Los Angeles to find her. The character hates having to rely on others, but even with his close friends on the force bringing all their resources, Harry doesn’t win any more friends with his gung-ho, take-no-prisoners attitude. There’s some genuinely tense moments with all the cast bringing their A-game and there’s even the fleeting feeling that the series might consider killing off Maddie, though thankfully it doesn’t quite come to that (despite being beaten, buried alive and stalked by a scorpion).
The third and fourth episode align more with kick-starting the procedural aspects as *further spoiler alert* Maddie recovers from her trauma and is offered a role in the Robbery/Homicide division for her tenacity. Meanwhile Bosch and Chandler look into a case of homicide when one of Chandler’s previous clients is arrested for the murder. Bosch and Chandler also face an investigation into their movements from last season (where they essentially created a situation where the Russian mob took care of their own business to help wrap up the case).
There’s a lot of ground-work laid out over the third and fourth episode, with disparate elements only starting to be tied together. Corrupt cops. a home invasion, the FBI snigging around Bosch and Chandler’s previous activities. But Welliver and all the qualities of the previous runs are in great form. Bosch: Legacy occupies an interesting middle-ground. This isn’t quite the kind of television you might see on the networks where it would be safer and procedurally neat – not is it the warts and all, sensational cable shows, looking for merely shock value. Instead, with occasional swearing and slightly more graphic violence, its full of an earned warts-and-all confidence, not afraid to show the bad and good and put its cast through the wringer within and without the legal system. The trick is that it’s not aiming the clickbait the young demographic per se, it’s courting the more discerning audience, those who loved the Connelly books and those who prefer a slightly less shiny, streamlined, all-neat-and-wrapped-up plot.
Those wanting some more connective tissue will welcome cameos from the likes of Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector, soon to get his own spin-off), ex-Detective Johnson (played by Troy Evans), AKA ‘Crate’ and Robert Moore (played by Gregory Scott Cummins), AKA ‘Barrel’ – the ‘odd-couple’ ex-cops who really should get their own show and there’s definitely a feeling that Los Angeles itself continues to be a character in its own right. However, like the later books, the show doesn’t shy away from the differences Bosch faces as a private-citizen rather than as a cop and also manages to show the good and bad of a police department that’s often under-scrutiny and under-pressure for results in equal amounts.
The delivery system also works well – the initial raft of four episodes finish strands and set others in motion and the following two-episodes a week make it worth looking forward to as it moves at steady pace. Fans of the books will continue to love it and newer viewers should also find a superior slice of procedural. Bosch continues to work as well on the screen as he does on the printed page…
- Production Design / VFX9