Titus Welliver Returns in Michael Connelly’s Bosch
At the end of the first season of Amazon Prime’s Bosch, the LAPD detective, pushed a nemesis (Captain Harvey Pounds played by Mark Derwin), through a plate glass window. The altercation earned Bosch a suspension, even though he had just brought down a serial killer and solved a decades old murder of a child. Bosch emptied out his office, locked up his home high in the Hollywood hills, and went off to visit his daughter, Maddie, in Las Vegas.
When season two begins, six months have passed and thanks to testimony from Sgt. John Mankiewicz (Scott Klace), who backed up Bosch’s account that Pounds provoked the assault, Bosch is reinstated. (Pounds is reassigned to the art theft division.) Handing over Bosch’s gun and shield, his immediate supervisor, Lt. Grace Billets (a terrific Amy Aquino), tells Bosch, “Try holding onto them this time.” And there’s the rub. Bosch is a talented detective whose instincts and attention to detail are on full display in the very first case thrown his way. Yet he’s battle scared, war weary and has little patience for a bureaucracy whose rules often thwart his efforts to put away the bad guys.
With Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch, Michael Connelly has created one of the most charismatic characters in crime fiction. Connelly, who worked as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times before turning out books, also writes the best police procedurals in the genre. Bosch’s second season draws from three of Connelly’s best sellers – Trunk Music, The Drop, and The Last Coyote – that were all page turners. No surprise then that Bosch’s 10-episode second season is a binge watcher’s dream.
When the body of a porn film producer, Tony Allen (Ludwig Manukian) is found in the trunk of his car, Bosch and his partner, Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector), are handed the investigation. The murder looks like a mob hit – trunk music – particularly when the trail leads to Las Vegas where Allen often went to gamble and find strippers for his films.
(L to R) Jamie Hector as Jerry Edgar, Jeri Ryan as Veronica Allen, Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch
Allen’s wife, Veronica (Jeri Ryan), lives in one of L.A.’s tony communities, the entrance gate watched over by a former L.A. police officer, Carl Nash (Brent Sexton). Veronica married Allen after appearing in one of his porno films, but now tolerates her husband’s many affairs. “Not exactly broken up,” Bosch tells Edgar after they question the widow.
Meanwhile, the city bureaucracy that Bosch lives to hate is undergoing a makeover. Deputy Chief Irvin Irving (Lance Reddick) has made a deal with the devil, agreeing to support District Attorney Rick O’Shea’s bid for mayor. If O’Shea (played by Steven Culp), is elected, Irving hopes to be made police chief. Yet with O’Shea’s shady background, on full display in season one, Irving knows he’s taking a chance. Bosch has been at odds with O’Shea so having the D.A. elevated to mayor will not only make Bosch’s job more difficult, but will reenforce everything he already knows about the corrupt nature of L.A. politics.
(L to R) Jamie Hector as Jerry Edgar, Lance Reddick as Irvin Irving
Irving has his hands full on the home front, too. His son, George (Robbie Jones), recently joined the LAPD and has taken on a dangerous undercover assignment. Irvin has been lying to his wife, Connie (Erika Alexander), that their son is out of danger, reassigned to a desk job rather than still on the streets. Yet as the investigation accelerates, Irvin finds it more difficult to protect George.
Meanwhile, Bosch takes advantage of being in Las Vegas to visit his ex-wife, Eleanor Wish (Sarah Clarke), and Maddie. Eleanor, who was once an FBI profiler, is now a professional poker player and very good at the table. Her second husband, Reggie Woo (Hoon Lee), lines up the games, mostly with Asians who fly in just for the chance of playing against Eleanor. Bosch has never accepted Eleanor’s way of life, particularly because it affects their daughter. Yet Reggie seems to be a stabilizing influence and has a good relationship with Maddie. The murder of Tony Allen, however, soon becomes a sink hole that threatens to swallow up both Eleanor and Maddie. Bosch must now solve the case and save his family.
(L to R) Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch, Jamie Hector as Jerry Edgar
Titus Welliver is so good as Bosch that it’s hard to envision any other actor in this role. HIs facial expressions give little away when he’s examining a crime scene or interviewing a witness, which always makes the “reveal” that much more shocking. Bosch is no longer a young guy, neither is Welliver, but the actor throws himself physically into the role. Welliver also benefits from a terrific supporting cast beginning with Jamie Hector as his partner “J. Edgar,” and fellow police detectives “Crate,” (Gregory Scott Cummins), and “Barrel,” (Troy Evans).
Amy Aquino as Grace Billets
Amy Aquino’s lieutenant is a standout, delivering zingers with an acerbic smile, fighting for women on the force, but unafraid to go toe to toe with the more macho guys she supervises. She’s solidly in Harry’s corners and the scenes between Aquino and Welliver are some of the best moments this time around. Each character has vulnerabilities – they both have daughters, but can’t keep relationships going – that they share (to a point) over drinks.
(L to R) Sarah Clarke as Eleanor Wish, Madison Lintz as Maddie Bosch
Sarah Clarke, who played opposite Kiefer Sutherland on Fox’s 24, brings Eleanor Wish to life. She was Bosch’s great love, the one he lost. But their bond remains because of Maddie, whom they both adore. On the page, Eleanor always seemed a doomed character, a lost soul who knows that there’s something wrong with playing poker for a living, but she can’t seem to walk away. A fierce player in a world dominated by men, away from the game she’s vulnerable, unable to protect herself or Maddie. Clark’s portrayal is mesmerizing.
As Maddie, Madison Lintz is delightful and a young star to watch. She has the teenage act down, but somehow never manages to become annoying. Her sparing with Welliver rings true as a father-daughter relationship where there is respect and love. Although her relationship with Bosch got a late start, Maddie is determined to follow in his footsteps and become a cop, a decision that both pleases and terrifies him.
Since Connelly continues to be prolific (there are 22 Bosch mysteries in print with The Wrong Side of Goodbye coming in 2016), the Amazon series has no shortage of material for many more seasons. We only hope season three comes soon.
Bosch begins streaming on Amazon Prime March 11, 2016.
Photos courtesy of Amazon Studios