Bosch – The Pilot Episode for the TV Series, A Freebie, Courtesy of Michael Connelly


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51 minutes of top class crime detection, courtesy of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch of the LAPD in a new TV series, starring Titus Welliver

Jheronimus van Aken, aka Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), a Dutch painter known for his use of fantastic imagery to illustrate moral and religious concepts and narratives, as in

The Last Judgment (1482), The Seven Deadly Sins (1485), Ship of Fools (1500).

Hieronymus “Harry” Boschis an LAPD homicide detective created by Michael Connelly in the 1992 novel The Black Echo, and the lead character in a police procedural series now numbering nearly 20 novels.

Harry Bosch, he of the infelicitously abbreviated Christian name, Harry – because Hieronymous translates as Jerome, doesn’t it?  Which, in turn, would normally abbreviate as Jerry, though the only Jerry you’ll encounter in the Harry Bosch novels is Jerry Edgar, Harry’s Afro-American sidekick of good-standing – Harry Bosch is a homicide detective with the LAPD, and he is very much our kind of guy. An unflinching defender of law and order, is Bosch – a Rottweiler of an investigator, a positively unyielding adjudicator between right and wrong. Because Harry Bosch is very far from being the sort of Twenty-First Century public service time-server whose photographic physog fills the pages of the national press.All that matters for Bosch is that justice be done, be served, be meted out as Congress intended. Not that Bosch would give a brass nickel for Congress, individual congressmen or for his superior officers at Parker Center, LA.

Nope. Bosch is quite uncaring about his career prospects and, consequently, is  almost invariably under investigation for perceived delinquencies, unguarded comments – even killings in the course of his work which may not (at first sight) appear to be righteous. That is to say, killings that are non-justifiable according to the Parker Center and/or Federal code of conduct.

In fact, this is where we meet up with Bosch at the start of the pilot episode of Bosch, a truly promising-looking TV mini-series if ever there was one. Bosch (the orphan son of a hooker, scion of a care home upbringing, Vietnam vet, LA homicide detective of many years standing) has shot dead a suspect who was (allegedly) reaching for a gun – and two years on the Feds are prosecuting Bosch for this.

Titus Welliver plays the part of Bosch, and very ably he does so, too. Admittedly, he is nothing like the Burt Reynolds type I’ve always had in mind when I think of Bosch.

A little under six feet tall (as Bosch is in the books), endowed with a gravelly basso-profundo voice, brooding, unsmiling, ready at any time with a cutting quip, constantly puffing on a cigarette. What a part this is for a less than well-known actor like Titus Welliver, whose appearance here is, to my mind, the most stunning of its kind since that of Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men.

This pilot episode is a good character exposing piece in which Bosch takes no stick from anybody whether they be Parker Center back-biters, pushy journalists, a macho female Federal representative with verbal diarhoea, and the like. At the same time, though, there is no way Bosch can contain his humane vulnerability as he takes time out from the coroner’s examination of the bones of a dead and tortured child “to take a leak” (says he), though what happens instead is that he comes close to throwing his socks up (tough guy though he be) at the thought of killing a child.

Yo, Bosch! Go get ‘em, Bosch!

Hey, we just know the guy will!

Michael Connelly, former LA Times crime reporter, must have something in the order of  twenty Bosch novels under his belt by now. Meanwhile, the storyline chosen for this pilot is City of Bones – a wise choice, featuring child murder, possibly serial, a closed case in which the less-committed of LAPD’s finest have so far failed. Hey, wisely chosen, too, are many of the supporting actors – the retired MD who reports his dawg’s discovery of the child’s bones, the folksy coroner running the autopsy.

I look forward with keen anticipation to viewing the rest of this series. Because TV is surely the perfect medium for Bosch – a series of extended episodes suiting the multi-layered themes of Michael Connelly’s storylines as opposed to a two-hour feature film with everything shoehorned in. For there are far too many goodies in any Bosch novel to lay before the viewer in a solitary 120 minute cinematic experience.


Have I viewed it yet? Only three times, I tell you – and I’m tempted to view it again!

(4 June 2014)

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