REVIEW: Amazon’s Bosch returns for strong, slow burn of a second season
Season 1 of Amazon‘s sultry procedural series Bosch ended with the show’s titular detective Hieronymus Bosch (Titus Welliver) on suspension. Premiering on the streaming service today, Season 2 opens with Bosch shaving off a ’70s pornstar beard (his daughter’s term, not mine, which ties in nicely with themes yet to unfold), and returning for duty. Much has changed in Harry’s life since we first met him in 2014. He no longer smokes, has a relationship with his formerly estranged daughter and ex-wife, and seems to be getting on famously with his colleagues in the L.A.P.D. And it’s for the best that Bosch seems to be getting his personal life in order, as his first case back on the job may prove his biggest challenge yet.
When the body of a pornographer with links to organised crime is discovered in the trunk of a car on Mulholland Drive, Bosch and his partner J. Edgar (Jamie Hector) must follow a trail of corruption and collusion entwining the Armenian mob, Las Vegas and L.A. police departments, and F.B.I. This interwoven structure welcomes a string of parallel plots; most notably Deputy Chief Irving’s endorsement of D.A. Rick O’Shea in his mayoral bid, and Irving’s son George’s mission to uncover police corruption. In a show that pretty much lives or dies by its leading man, these side stories at times seem an unnecessary departure from the central case at hand, but stick patiently with each successive episode, and a gratifying bigger picture will slowly come into focus. We promise.
Of the six episodes (out of ten) previewed to the press, the uncharacteristically action-packed fifth instalment was a clear favourite, as Bosch goes full Liam Neeson on the men who’ve kidnapped his ex-wife and daughter. “Anyone lays a hand on my family, a single scratch, and I’ll kill you all. Burn you to the fucking ground”, Welliver threatens down the phone to the captors, rewarding our perseverance through the show’s more ambling moments. Also memorable is Bosch’s grumbling about prices while looking incredibly uncomfortable in a Las Vegas strip joint (episode 3).
The supporting cast is once again on point, with long-time favourite Lieutenant Grace Billets (Amy Aquino) serving Bosch with both a firm hand and such great banter as “You look like an unmade bed”, J. Edgar (Jamie Hector) providing a sturdy sounding board for Bosch’s set-in-his-ways grouchiness, and Irvin Irving (the ever reliable Lance Reddick) remaining a formidable presence. The victim’s not-so-grieving widow cum former porn star Veronica Allen (The OC‘s Jeri Ryan) makes our favourite new addition to the lineup, bringing icy Hollywood glamour to an otherwise muggy and masculine setting.
Adopting a modest, down-to-business tone and a slow burning narrative, this sophomore season of the Michael Connelly series is studied and sophisticated, even if it doesn’t have us consistently on the edge of our seats. Inevitably, it’s Welliver’s Bosch, with his compact take on the stubborn, impatient, but relentlessly committed character, that keeps us coming back for every episode of the stylish Southern California noir.
All ten episodes of Bosch season two are available for Amazon Prime Video subscribers right here, right now.