“Detective Bosch is a legend. He does what the rest of us only wish we could do,” says Detective Christina Vega (Jacqueline Obradors), a recent transfer to the Los Angeles Police Department. Her statement is true: Bosch has become Amazon Prime Video’s longest running TV series, receiving an order for a sixth season six months before the fifth season aired. That’s legendary. The series has endeared itself to viewers for its gritty realism and drama, spearheaded by the eponymous detective, Hieronymus Bosch (Titus Welliver). He stands coolly, no finer cop in the department, always on duty, willing to put himself in danger to serve justice and find the truth. But he isn’t purely by-the-book black and white: it’s his many shades of grey that make him such an interesting character to watch, and these layers are entwined into the show.
Now in its fifth season, the cast has had to expand in order to tell more stories. Although this season only pulls from one of Michael Connelly’s novels – Two Kinds of Truth – there is so much going on involving the whole of Hollywood Homicide and beyond that you can’t look away for fear of getting lost. The main plot that runs through the season sees Harry go undercover to investigate a gang of opioid dealers, after a murder at a local pharmacy. This is how the season starts, with Harry already deeply embroiled before we jump back two weeks and follow the build-up. It’s not a device Bosch has had to employ before and the need for a hook is unnecessary: there is plenty enough meat to chew on. The other storylines that are interwoven aren’t merely there for padding; they are just as intriguing and gripping, some clearly planting seeds for Season 6.
The always entertaining Crate (Gregory Scott Cummins) and Barrell (Troy Evans) are on form again, this time in a storyline that stands out as it is something not often talked about or depicted on television. The two older detectives have a run-in with a pair of younger cops, which sparks the topic of clearing out the dead wood. But both Crate and Barrell are legendary in their own right, having solved major crimes in their tenure, including the Koreatown Killer last season. Cop shows tend to say goodbye to characters in a blaze of glory or ruthlessly cut them down in their prime, not retirement. Both Crate and Barrell are good at and enjoy their jobs and their sidebar provides some easy relief from the intense drama driven by Bosch. It resonates, however, asking if it’s time to accept the golden years of life. Who decides if it’s time to pull the pin?
Another newcomer, Christina Henry (Bianca Kajlich), a former flame of Bosch with a bee in her bonnet, investigates one of his cold cases for the CIU (Criminal Integrity Unit), when new evidence comes to light. Working as an intern for the CIU, Harry’s daughter, Maddie (Madison Lintz), grows into her more developed role with ease. Maddie is very obviously her father’s daughter; although there is evidently love between them, their relationship is made more from mutual respect. They are both matter-of-fact and talk to each other more like partners than family. Yet, underneath it all, Maddie understands Harry is the only family she has left.
This is the storyline that has the most satisfying payoff, without need for high-octane shoot-outs or explosions. Many shows tend to rely on bait-and-switch cliffhangers and shock twists to provide the drama. Not Bosch. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have them, but the action is more understated, buried in realism. The season flows very much like a novel, each chapter following the road laid before it yet still being genuinely intriguing and always bringing something new that makes you want more. Bosch continues to be easy bingeing as all the episodes blend so well with one another. If it weren’t for the credits, Bosch could easily be viewed in one sitting as a grandiose experience. Even in its fifth season, Amazon’s legendary cop drama succeeds again, letting Bosch do what the rest of us only wish we could.
All episodes of Bosch: Season 5 are available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. For more on the show, read our reviews of Season 1 to 4 here.