UK TV review: Bosch: Legacy: Season 1
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Neil Brazier | On 05, Jun 2022
If you were told there is a new crime drama show on Amazon Freevee (formerly iMDB TV) based on a Michael Connelly novel, you would be forgiven for telling us we had confused it with a show of a similar name on Amazon Prime Video. In a world of reboots and retellings, Titus Welliver is the latest actor to be given the treatment as he returns to our screens as Harry Bosch. New series, new theme song, but unlike the lyrics (that get catchier the more you hear them), the times haven’t changed a great deal. As much as this is Bosch: Legacy Season 1, it could also very much be Bosch Season 8 – which isn’t a bad thing.
If you are new to the fight of Bosch against the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, then you are in luck; Bosch debuted to acclaim seven seasons ago and has continued to prove that it is one of the greatest and successful modern crime dramas in recent memory. The new series refines and hones what made its predecessor great and successfully continues that trend.
While the original series is not required viewing to enjoy Bosch: Legacy, much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if you are going in blind there are some things you might miss. Fortunately, the handy “Previously on Bosch” at the start of Episode 1 will fill you in with all you need to know, as some narrative threads do carry over. If this is your first time with Harry Bosch, some of the cameos and callbacks will go over your head but they don’t detract from the plot, nor are they merely fan-service (although we will admit to jumping with excitement when a former partner showed up).
No longer a detective, Bosch has set up shop as a private eye and hasn’t lost his determination or resolve for the truth. Being his own boss, Harry can wear his stubble with pride. Gone is the dress shirt, replaced with denim coated in an extra layer of grime, helping him blend into the sullied city. Without the red-tape bureaucracy tying him down, Bosch can investigate crimes his way, which sometimes is not always the legal way. Harry has always been someone who would push the envelope and go as close to the line as he could; free from a badge he is able to cross that line, repercussions be damned. And this is where Bosch sadly loses some integrity.
As a detective, he got answers the right way, even if he had to jump through hoops. As a PI, his methods suddenly feel out of character, no matter how they try to blame it on his past. As these out-of-character scenes take place, they are segmented with flashbacks of a young Bosch. They try to justify his actions but ultimately feel forced because the writers know this isn’t something those who know Bosch’s true legacy would expect this hero to do. It was never the badge that defined Harry Bosch, or his honour and pride, but his actions, and those actions, particularly in the final episode, cast shade on the character like his five o’clock shadow.
Without homicide cases to investigate, Bosch is reliant on the public giving him work, including civil rights attorney Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers), with whom Bosch has a conflicted relationship. They both fight for justice in their own ways and despite often disagreeing they understand that they both need each other. Chandler is suffering from the trauma of being targeted and shot for her role in exposing an insider trading scam and must bear witness to the man who orchestrated it all walking free. While she and Bosch are linked in that case by Harry’s daughter, Maddie (Madison Lintz), who was also a target, the pair share several other cases, using each other’s abilities and power to get what they need for justice. It is a relationship of convenience, both for them and for us as they each help push the plot along.
Maddie continues to try and find her place in the world. She is now a “boot”, a rookie in the LAPD. She makes mistakes, learns from fatherly advice but ultimately cares too much, going way above and beyond her basic job description. The world is a cruel place and Maddie has one of the kindest hearts, one that gets her into trouble more than once. Together, the three form a dynamic partnership and Bosch: Legacy really showcases the power and talent of these characters. That is encouraged by those behind the cameras, including the returning producers and writers – including Michael Connelly and Eric Overmyer, whose expertise in crime drama needs no introduction.
The beginning half of the season feels slow, but the pace is ramped up dramatically in the final two episodes. The action is few and far between, an early chase scene feels almost laboured, perhaps because of Harry’s ageing body and a later big CGI set piece lacks a lot of polish. The season has the same feel as its predecessor in all but one respect and that is the LAPD. Without the badge Harry must get information second-hand a lot of the time and he can’t tread on the toes of the police without getting written up. He will manipulate (sometimes downright lie) to get the information he wants, and it all plays with the pacing of the series. Bosch has always been a gritty procedural and it is still an excellent watch, but it does feel like everything was kept until the end when it may have benefited from solving a few issues or getting some major clues earlier on.
Bosch: Legacy is fantastic television. The overwhelming passion the creators and actors have for these characters is evident and that transfers to us, so much you will do anything for these individuals, none more so than after witnessing the final cliffhanger of the season. (Oh my-my!) Times are changing, but crime always remains the same and it is vital to have a man such as Harry Bosch fighting for truth, honesty and justice. The beautifully seedy and unlawful city combined with the care and fear you feel for the characters makes Bosch: Legacy a tremendous watch that doesn’t require you to have a degree in criminal justice to follow along. New channel, new title, new theme tune, but the same Harry Bosch.