BOSCH SEASON 6: Consistently One Of The Best Shows On TV

In the midst of the craziness, the bleary-eyed disbelief at world events, and the uncertainty that plagues the globe, the sixth and penultimate season of Bosch quietly slipped onto Amazon Prime. The show doesn’t seem to have much fanfare about it, despite being consistently one of the very best shows on television, but it is truly a soothing balm for these troubled times. Bosch has inspired a relatively small but dedicated fanbase. Hardcore fans of the show regularly crow about its brilliance and as this new season shows, there’s still very much to crow about.

Bosch is based on the series of books by Michael Connelly stretching back to 1992’s Black Echo and still continuing today (latest novel The Night Fire was released in 2019). They feature Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch, a detective working out of Hollywood Precinct who encounters many dangers in the rough streets of downtown LA. It’s a world in which crossover characters appear, some of whom have already made their way to the big screen (2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey as the titular lawyer Mickey Haller). Bosch, however, only made its debut in 2014 and has been going strong ever since.

Cesium

This season, our eponymous hero Harry Bosch is investigating the murder of a medical physicist and a stolen cache of a weapons-grade substance called cesium. This cesium, we’re told, has the ability to tear the city apart if detonated and so Bosch and co face a race against time to find the perpetrators before it’s too late. On the way they’ll encounter a sovereign citizens movement, corrupt cops, illicit affairs, and courtroom drama: a hodgepodge of circumstances so deftly handled and executed the viewer is gripped from the first moment to the last.

BOSCH SEASON 6: Consistently One Of The Best Shows On TV
source: Amazon Prime Studios

Perhaps one of the most satisfying things about Bosch is watching stalwart character actor Titus Welliver finally come into his own. Welliver has made his name propping up shows such as Lost, Deadwood, and The Good Wife, but now he is centre stage. His Bosch is a gruff, stoic detective with a wry, caustic sense of humour. It’s important because Harry Bosch, although he is in the style of the maverick cop of old, is ultimately a decent, caring person. He typically plays by his own rules and flouts authority when the job needs done, but he does so in the name of justice. It can be a fine line with this type of character and Welliver walks it so well. Bosch is the grounded centre of the story, the humanity at the heart of a gritty world where everyone is out for themselves.

Deeper dive into the characters

In its infancy, Bosch was built on the strength of its protagonist. This was no real issue because Welliver was so perfectly cast that a whole season could be built on his performance alone and it would carry. Cleverly, though, showrunner Eric Overmeyer decided to expand in subsequent seasons. This means the likes of Police Chief Irving (an always excellent Lance Reddick, bringing the same gravitas here that he did to The Wire), Jerry Edgar (Jaime Hector, getting more to do this season than ever before), and even Crate and Barrel (Gregory Scott Cummings and Troy Evans) get more fleshed out. It all adds up to an excellently balanced season which flits between different plotlines and keeps the pacing tight.

BOSCH SEASON 6: Consistently One Of The Best Shows On TV
source: Amazon Prime Studios

With the mystery surrounding the death of Bosch’s mother solved back in season four, the main through-line has become J. Edgar’s investigation into corruption and deep dive into the Haitian community; this is excellent for Hector, who gets to show a different side to the stylish J.Edgar, and give more glimpses into a troubled past rarely discussed in the series so far. At the same time Chief Irving finally commits to the mayoral run that was teased last season – leading to many a scene with stony-eyed, gravel-voiced Reddick barking orders and contemplating the various ethical dilemmas of both being a Police Chief and running for Mayor.

Bosch’s daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) is working as an intern for Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers) while trying to decide the kind of lawyer she wants to be. Lintz is often the emotional heart of the series, providing the foil for Bosch to show his softer side – along with some hilarious dad moments such as meeting a boyfriend for the first time, or not knowing how Skype works – and it’s good to see her getting the chance to expand on her character.

Subplots expand the world

Meanwhile Crate and Barrel face an ethical dilemma after the passing of another cop unearths information that could be harmful to the department, and there’s also an interesting subplot involving Detective Pierce (DaJuan Johnson) and Lt. Grace Billets (Amy Aquino). While this particular subplot moves at a snail’s pace and isn’t really given much in the way of attention, it helps to build the world Bosch exists in.

From the minutiae of a misunderstanding leading to a sexual harassment hearing to the potential of a dirty bomb blowing up LA, Bosch covers a lot of ground. Other shows would potentially crumble under the weight of so many running plotlines, but it’s to Bosch‘s credit that each plate is kept spinning till the end. For that reason it is perhaps insulting to label this show as a police procedural when there are so many interesting character development subplots on display, and impressively none of those subplots slow down the narrative at all. Rather, they really make up what the show is.

BOSCH SEASON 6: Consistently One Of The Best Shows On TV
source: Amazon Prime Studios

Eric Overmeyer worked with David Simon on The Wire and Treme, and it shows. Not just in the characters who made the jump – Reddick and Hector both had prominent roles on The Wire – but in the slow, deliberate plot and the emphasis on the characters primarily over the plot itself. The sometimes outlandish scenarios (in this season a deadly substance which could destroy LA, in the last an elaborate plot to ship narcotics into America) are tempered by the characters involved and the insistence on developing those arcs. While shows such as CSI or Law & Order typically focus on the mysterious death of the week, Bosch has season-long arcs which allow for character development in a way those other shows might lack.

Bosch: Conclusion

Bosch has developed an innate ability to balance its many subplots with precision and shows a commitment to character development and human subplots that other procedural shows wouldn’t give as much time to. As a result, it is an impressively crafted ensemble show with a wealth of excellent actors that make for an impressive consistency over its six-season run.

With season seven confirmed to be its last, it’s a shame that a show of this quality has burned out more quickly than fans would like, however it should be expected that season seven will no doubt continue the excellent record of a show people will be talking about long after its gone.

Titus Welliver has played many different roles over the course of his career. What are your favourites? Let us know in the comments below!


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