"Bosch": The end is near.
One of the finest cop shows of the streaming era, and among the most bingeable, begins its 6th season on April 17 on Amazon Prime, but our journey with LAPD detective Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch (Titus Welliver) and partner Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) is almost over. While another season remains, a whisper of closure arrives with this one.
"Bosch" was Amazon Prime's first original drama, still its most successful. The reasons why are all self-evident (the 6th season review, below). I recently spoke with both stars.
An edited version of our conversations:
How is life in lockdown?
I'm with my family, with a very busy ten and three-year-old [and] blessed to be here chasing the three-year-old around.
Where is "here," and how has the pandemic otherwise affected you?
I'm in [hometown] Brooklyn. Oh my gosh, six people in my church just passed away and a childhood friend passed away last night [but] I have friends who have recovered as well. This is so sweeping … I just try to make an adventure in the house everyday [with the family"].
Or watch TV too? When I put together my quarantine TV list for the paper, you had the distinction of starring in two shows, neither of which is "calming" in a Zen sort of way — "Bosch" and "The Wire."
(Laughs). Hey, they will take your mind off of things, will educate, inform, and then afterwards you can go and watch 'The Odd Couple.'
I've got to ask: Which character do you like better — ruthless, bloodthirsty drug kingpin, Marlo Stansfield or choirboy Jerry Edgar?
I love both of them. They're so different and share similarities [but] both are focused on the work, committed to the work [and] they know how to do the work.
What is the 5-second recap of everything we need to know about Jerry Edgar going into this 6th season?
Jerry has to save himself. He has to face his demons. His friend who he grew up with, his informant, was killed while working a deal that Jerry had set up. That brings him closer to the family of his friend which then opens a can of worms. It just becomes overwhelming.
Jerry's back story is similar to your own. You grew up in Brooklyn the son of Haitian immigrants. How did you incorporate their lives into your performance?
Jerry, in attempting to solve the murder of his friend, [last season] goes to the house of someone to see if he was involved in the murder of my character's uncle back in Haiti — someone who the writers decided to name 'Antoine Hector' … My mother is from Port-au-Prince, and [she] told me about the greatness of Haiti [but] also told me about the dark side, so when I read this [script] I'm just like, 'wow, I know this, I remember these stories …' It resonated for me [and] just brought me that much closer to the new season.
'Bosch' early on really set the bar in terms of diversity because most of the cast members are people of color. Will that be its legacy?
"From the beginning [the showrunners] wanted to make sure the cast was diverse as well as have a writer's room that mirrored what you are seeing on screen. Moving forward, I'm just hoping with all the downtime we have right now the [TV industry] pendulum doesn't swing back. We are on an uptick and moving in the right direction. I'm just hoping we don't forget what we fought for and accomplished. I am looking forward to moving into a New World of diverse writing and creativity [but] right now I can only imagine what it'll look like when we finally get out of this."
How are you spending your days?
Binge watching every show that I had been meaning to binge-watch and revisiting a lot of films that I love, with my family. I've even gone down the rabbit hole of watching episodes of the old 'Six Million Dollar Man.' There's a lot of procrastinating but I'm also keeping myself busy reading and writing.
Why is 'Bosch' ending after next season?
"I honestly don't know, and just as Harry would say, that's above my paygrade. But I do have to take the glass-half full approach. Yes, I'm really disappointed [but] I've loved playing the character, loved the cast. We do have one more season so we'll go out with a bang. I do want to be on the record, however, saying that we are not going to kill Harry. This character goes on in the books and — you never know — he could find life [on TV] in the future too. That being said, I'm not holding out for anything like that. I've got to see this character through. I'm very proud of what we've done and not walking away with regrets."
To me what made 'Bosch' special was that it wasn't just a cop show but about the ties that bind cops. There are so many loose ends that I can't imagine the show will try to tie them, or in fact needs too.
I always felt that one of the things that made this show so interesting is that things were not resolved within the sort of standardized framework we have in television. There's always stuff that's left open by the end of the season, and in the last scene of season 5, you see Harry pulling the cold case file on [murder victim] Daisy Clayton. The audience just knows that when he looks at those pictures [of her], that's what we're going to be doing in the 6th.
Harry's had tragedy in his life, you as well. Does that reflect Harry in any way?
Yeah, I've had tragedy in life and lost loved ones but for me as an actor, I don't want to access my own pain to inform a performance. I can't work that way …[Harry's] a combination of my father [the artist Neil Welliver, who died in 2005], ['NYPD Blue' co-creator] David Milch and a little bit of retired LAPD homicide detective Rick Jackson, who is also a show consultant.
For many years he was a surrogate father to me and I learned a tremendous amount from him about a lot of things. There are Milchian qualities to Harry and that's just David's influence creeping in.
What's next for you?
I'm developing an idea I came up with and using the time to work on two separate projects — one a film, the other a potential TV series. I like the pacing of television work but it is not for the faint of heart. It's a lot of work. I'm excited for the next chapter although I would be less than truthful if I said I won't miss playing this character. He's an extraordinarily rewarding role to play.
Based on Michael Connelly's bestselling novels, "Bosch" doesn't get much press, doesn't need much either. At launch in 2015, fans learned what they would get anyway and haven't been disappointed since. They won't be now. Harry and "J. Edgar" find themselves in a race to find a missing supply of medical cesium that could end up in a dirty bomb, but as "Bosch" fans know, such crises tend to hyper-focus deeper existential ones for the leads. Harry's cold-case pursuit of the killer of a young woman echoes deeply and painfully into his own life. For once he tastes cold fear. Jerry's investigation of a Haitian businessman with ties to the murder of his uncle distantly reflects actor Jamie Hector's own life. .
As always, the hard work of policing — sometimes the daily grind of it too — is just a surcease from their sorrow. These two know to their core that no matter the case, no matter its resolution, more cases remain. It's a whack-a-mole world out there, and business is good.
But arriving in the midst of a pandemic, "Bosch" offers a ray of hope because it's the pursuit that matters here — that call to duty and especially the fundamental decency of those who are called. In the real world, their analogues are "essential workers" — the nurses, cops, doctors and everyone else on the lines. They'd fit right into the fictional world of "Bosch." They already do.
BOTTOM LINE Still one of TV's top addictions, with a touch of hope. — VERNE GAY