Web Series Bosch: The Lovable Honest LAPD Detective!

The law enforcers, the police and other related agencies, wield immense power to utilize it for the protection and the betterment of the common people if they want to do so. But unfortunately, such powers are more often misused and so, we keep on hearing stories about police corruption from the petty level of taking bribes on any pretext to the highest level of politician-criminal-underworld nexus. This is a global phenomenon, not just limited to more prone countries like India. Such is the impact of police corruption in society that thousands of fictions in terms of thrillers written or movies or television series have been made all over the world since decades. In most commercial films in India, we see police personnel portrayed as horrendously brazen and sadistic characters. In the US and the West through the franchises of James Bond, Mission Impossible and The Bourne Identity among others we invariably confront a traitorous bad cop within the system. I cannot possibly mention various outstanding movies in this regard so as to avoid giving spoiler alerts to the readers. Therefore, whenever we hear or read reports about a good honest cop and watch movies portraying honest cops, we get elated with the conviction that good brave and honest cops do exist who have the courage to fight the system from within apart from doing their duty in the best possible interest of the victims and the larger public. Harry Bosch is one such cop of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), no matter that he’s fictional.


The Amazon web series ‘Bosch’ was premiered on Prime in February 2014 with a 10-episode Season-1 and in 2022 the seventh and final season was released. The Series have been rated very highly, almost 100% for some seasons, by the premiere rating agencies and critics, ‘Bosch’ has been termed as one of the best detective television series ever. I had a sneak preview when ‘Bosch: Season 7’ started streaming on Prime Video and got interested immediately, coming to know that the stories are based on the novels of Michael Connelly, a bestselling author of 31 suspense-thriller books and the creator of the character of Harry Bosch among many other memorable ones, whose books I never read. Sensing an inevitable continuity in the storyline even though every episode features at least one new case, I decided to start at the beginning, that is Season-1. And I got so immensely immersed in the smart plotting and storytelling that I made sort of a world record for myself by completing a total 68 episodes of 7 seasons in less than a fortnight.


If you expect a young dashing cop capable of incredible feats then you’re bound to be disappointed. Bosch is an elderly cop, having fighting experience in the Gulf War and then serving the LAPD, Hollywood Division, as a homicide detective for about twenty years; as per the series backgrounder he is 47, and the actor Titus Welliver who has brilliantly portrayed Bosch is about 60 years of age at the moment. However, he has quick reflexes, sharp intellect or insight, is a sharp shooter and is capable of intense physical action whenever required. His response to an escape by a high-security serial killer who was erroneously allowed by the District Attorney (DA) to take a police party to his crime factory; his intense mid-air fight as part of his daredevil undercover antics to investigate an addictive medicine racket; his gun-fights while tracking the killer of his mother and while trying to save the life of his daughter Maddie Bosch (played by Madison Lintz); and many other action scenes are fully at par with the likes of Sean Connery, Tom Cruise, Piece Brosnan, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig and so on.


Most importantly, Bosch is honest, uncompromising, brave and always ready to fight with the system or with his bosses as the situation requires. He has deep compassion for child victims, female victims and for that matter any kind of victims of brutal abuse and crimes. His traumatic background always influences his emotions. Bosch was the child of a prostitute and at a very young age his mother was brutally murdered by a young client who later became a very influential personality of Los Angeles. His relentless quest to bring his mother’s killer to justice is a running thread through most of the Seasons till he succeeds in tracking down the killer, to the utter dismay and discomfort of his police chief Irving (played by Lance Reddick) who is very ambitious, not even deterred by personal tragedies to carry on with his career progression.


Like the Indian honest cops or that of most other countries Harry Bosch and his partner Jerry Edgar (played by Jamie Hector) believe strongly in dishing out full justice to the criminals, often instant justice, which is not possible due to the lingering legal process. In America homicide is a very serious offense and even police officers involved in seemingly justifiable killings face trial and suspension. Every criminal is interrogated without any use of the third degree and has to be allowed to have his/her lawyer. And then the ‘deals’ which reportedly account for more than 90% of the American criminal case settlements. Even offenders of heinous crimes are allowed to make deals with the DA for a lenient sentence in exchange for more information about the crime rackets. Bosch and Jerry detest such practices, have their moments of instinctive actions and the painful mental conflicts that follow. Unlike in India where police officers escape easily enough after dubious encounter killings or extra judicial killings and custodial deaths.


The web Series Bosch gives us a very convincing picture too of the rivalries between the cops and top bosses within the department. The ever-present character of Lieutenant Billets (played by Amy Aquino) whose lesbian inclination threatens to impact her career progression adversely, but she always stands by Bosch for all his actions including even throwing a superior crashing through the glass wall to be on the side of the truth. At times, interferences in cases assigned to a particular cop cum his/her partner cause intense rivalries between detectives too. 

Then of course, the bad, corrupt and criminally involved cops within the department that call for most careful handling. Further, as is observed in India too, the coming of the FBI or the CIA into the scenario causes a holy mess, the cops complaining about their own investigations and leads neutralized as they’re always the first to reach the crime scenes. On the positive side the comradery within LAPD in times of crisis, personal or departmental, is heartwarming. Comic interludes are also nicely provided by the lovable veteran duo of Crate (played by Gregory Scott Cummins) and Barrel (played by Troy Evans).


All the characters are fully developed and believable. This is being helped by the fact that the plots and the storylines follow Connelly novels very closely with the latter being one of the producers of the Series. As an inevitable result most of the episodes are primarily dialogue based which seems to slow down the pace as regards the usual suspense-detective storytelling. However, this does not hamper the viewing experience, because the interesting dialogues bring out the detailed process of investigation—discovering more and more leads and then tracking these, finally leading to the conclusion. Of course, a bit of criticism can be valid at stages in one or two episodes when the storytelling somewhat loses its steam and personal tragedies have to happen to pace up the tension and the momentum again.


Titus Welliver brings out all the mannerisms of the character of Bosch in lovable glory, his expressions mostly convey what he is actually thinking about an issue or his ideas about it—the wry smiles, the smirks, the tilts of his head sideways and so on. Like many of his LAPD colleagues Bosch too has tremendous love for his city, and for the visual enhancement of the viewers his hilltop residence commands a beautiful panoramic overview of Los Angeles. We are treated to some sweet homely scenes in this house involving his ex-wife Eleanor Wish (played by Sarah Clarke) till the 4th season and his daughter Maddie from season-2 till the end.


The 7th Season is the end of the Bosch story. It has to be the end because in the last episode his confrontation with the Police Chief who is busy planning his second term becomes extremely severe with the enraged Bosch quitting his job on the spot. In the last scene Bosch is shown to apply for a license for a private detective and he smiles sardonically when the counter lady tells him that the FBI has to give the approval after proper verification. Titus Welliver would be missed sorely as the lovable Bosch. However, the good news is that a spin-off titled ‘Bosch: Legacy’ is set to stream on Amazon next month. The adaptations from the Connelly novels have been done expertly by Eric Overmyer in all the Seasons.