Warning: This contains spoilers for previous seasons of Bosch. Catch up with our reviews click here.
Renewing Bosch for a fifth season before the fourth has aired shows the confidence Amazon has in its original detective drama, making it the longest running hour-long series available on Prime Video. The popularity of the show is undeniable – the average rating by viewers exceeds four stars on all three previous seasons – and, from the opening four episodes of its latest outing, it doesn’t look like that’s about to change. While Bosch doesn’t revolutionise the detective drama genre, it is able to stand out in the line-up thanks to its concise writing, its lead actor and its social relevance.
The story this season comes from Michael Connelly’s Angels Flight, in which a prominent lawyer, Howard Elias (Clark Johnson), is killed on the eve of a civil rights trial against the LAPD. Elias, a specialist in police brutality, racism and corruption, turns down a settlement of half a million dollars to take to court a case of a black man, victim of violent interrogation. There are few cops left in the city who Elias hasn’t investigated over the years. One of them is Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver), who, as a result, is assigned to lead the task force when Elias turns up dead on the Angels Flight trolley. The investigation will force Bosch to follow every clue, even those that suspect the men and women of the LAPD. Ever the professional, Bosch follows the law when other cops drag their heels, resenting the work Elias has done that has shamed their department.
His former partner, Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector), is recovering from being shot last season and reconnecting with his wife and kids. With the investigation needing to be solved quickly as news spreads around LA, Edgar is assigned to the task force – his first interaction with Bosch after turning him down as partner. Edgar’s role will likely grow as a bridge between the LAPD and the city’s black community, who are outraged at this killing of a man who fought for their rights. In the real world, the Black Lives Matter movement has been extremely important and prominent over the past few years and what we’ve seen in reality is echoed in this season of Bosch, making it more meaningful than ever.
Meanwhile, Eleanor Wish (Sarah Clarke) is now living back in LA and has some secrets she’s keeping from both Harry and their daughter, Maddie (Madison Lintz). She’s back working for the FBI, her husband Reggie (Hoon Lee) has gone missing and the two just might be related. But she’s not sharing any information and so Maddie does a little digging of her own, although she might not like what she finds. This story arc is only subplot in the opening few episodes, but already feels like it is treading the same water that it did in Season 3. Both Maddie and Eleanor were taken captive back then, sparking a rampage of revenge from Harry to rescue them. Hopefully, Season 4 can find a different direction to take these characters in, otherwise they are in danger of becoming stereotyped.
The show’s realism remains one of its strongest features, although there are times when a cheat sheet would be helpful. The number of acronyms thrown at us can cause confusion between who are the IA or RHD, or which one has put out the BOLO for the DA. Once you’ve binged a couple of episodes, though, it all starts making sense and you are fully immersed in the LAPD’s world. That immersion is complemented by the beautiful visuals that look crisp in 4K; the pictures aren’t of sandy beaches or the LA heat, rather tower blocks and police cells, but they are still able to look as spectacular as the view from Harry’s apartment, fully submersing us in Bosch’s world.
This is another strong start for Amazon’s Bosch, which, although it doesn’t stray too far from other detective dramas, is able to hook you into devouring episode after episode. The show’s continued success can be attributed mostly to Titus Welliver, who really is the books’ character personified. Welliver’s Bosch holds himself with such confidence mixed with a little arrogance, but is also someone who is weary, holding a lifetime of pain behind his eyes. No, Bosch hasn’t revolutionised the detective drama, but it has raised the bar for all the others to meet.
All episodes of Bosch: Season 4 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 3 here.