Warning: This contains spoilers for Season 4 of Bosch. Catch up with our spoiler-free review here.
Season 1 of Amazon’s detective drama Bosch suffered from slow storytelling. Combining three of Michael Connelly’s novels to construct its narrative still wasn’t enough to settle a dip in drama in the middle third. Thankfully, the show found its stride in its second season and continued strongly into its third. All seasons have drawn from multiple novels, but Season 4 has focused mostly on just one book, Angels Flight. Apprehension then ran rampant like a thug down Hollywood Boulevard that it would fall into the same trap as the first, but after four blistering opening episodes, Bosch has learned from its past mistakes, thanks mostly to the superb writing from Connelly and Eric Overmyer, who craft another season of intrigue and suspense.
The main story arc investigates the death of prominent attorney Howard Elias (Clark Johnson), a man renowned for his cases that turn the spotlight on the men and women who are supposed to protect the innocent within the police department. At one time or another, Elias has shaken the tree of most of the LAPD, but not Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver), who is assigned to lead a task force to investigate the murder. But Bosch isn’t all squeaky clean and his actions are sometimes questionable. We can’t forget he was on trial and suspended from the LAPD back in Season 1, so having Bosch lead this task force doesn’t go unnoticed by the press or other officers with a grudge. This isn’t explored as much as it could have been, instead Harry must deal not only with internal corruption, but also internal politics, when forced to work alongside Amy Snyder (Winter Ave Zoli), a sergeant who was investigating Bosch in Season 3.
As if poor Harry didn’t have enough to deal with, the outcome of the events of Episode 4 will end up changing his world forever. Harry’s love for his family is absolute and this comes across whenever he speaks about them. His steely determination for law and order is where Bosch releases his pent-up emotion, even when letting his rage take over could cost him justice in both the Elias case and the murder of his mother. Harry promised to try and keep the darkness away and protect his daughter, but although Maddie (Madison Lintz) has grown to become an independent woman, she could still do with her father showing more conventional emotional support. But Bosch has his own way of coping of being ever-present even when absent; Harry doesn’t show his feelings on the outside, they rage within, masked as best he can, but given away in his eyes.
Season 4’s topical storyline is maybe the series’ best yet, although there is one element that remains questionable. When Billets (Amy Aquino), Crate (Gregory Scott Cummins) and Barrell (Troy Evans) pick up a call on their way back from breakfast, what they stumble upon abruptly ends the arc of the Koreatown killer, who had been evading the police and slowly building momentum over the past season. Understandably, not every crime in LA is going to be solved by Bosch, nor have a deep and intricate investigation. It is the abruptness with which this happens, after a slow burn that had potential, that leaves a bitter taste. Fortunately, the rest of the season remains strong, in part due to a super supporting cast who are able to pacify any potential lull in story when Bosch is off-screen.
Welliver’s lead is able to show past torment through his eyes, but Francis Sheehan (Jamie McShane) capably emotes his trauma through his whole body, as the investigation turns on him and we learn more about his unfortunate past. Chief Irving (Lance Reddick) acts as puppet master, pulling threads together from all directions, and Jimmy Robertson (Paul Calderon), who still has more to give, can easily lead the task force when Bosch is absent.
Amazon’s drama succeeds in engaging viewers throughout – you are shocked at the events of Episode 4 and elated when Bosch is able to shine a light on the shadows that have plagued him in the finale. Season 4 wraps up some of the ongoing story arcs that Bosch has had to deal with, but also leaves plenty to explore in the already-green-lit fifth season. The future could take its cue from Connelly’s Nine Dragons novel and, whether it uses this alone or strands from multiple books, with Bosch in the hands of Connelly and Overmyer, it looks certain to succeed.
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.