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'Bosch': Fine farewell to a streaming jewel

Pictured (L-R): Titus Welliver (Detective Harry Bosch),

 Pictured (L-R): Titus Welliver (Detective Harry Bosch), Jamie Hector (Detective Jerry Edgar) of Amazon Prime's "Bosch." Credit: Amazon Studios/Hopper Stone

SERIES “Bosch”

WHERE Streaming on Amazon Prime

WHAT IT'S ABOUT After LAPD Det. Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) responds to a New Year's Eve arson fire where a 10-year-old girl is killed, he's determined to bring her justice but (as always) justice isn't so easy. His partner Det. Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) is still struggling over the shooting death of the gangster who killed his uncle, while LAPD chief Irvin Irving (Lance Reddick) is distracted by the fight of his professional life. Lt. Grace Billets (Amy Aquino), meanwhile, is dealing with some homophobic thugs under her own command, and Harry's daughter, Maddie Bosch (Madison Lintz) has a surprising new mentor: defense attorney Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers.)

This final season dropping Friday sets up a spinoff (with Welliver, Lintz and Rogers) arriving later in 2021.

MY SAY "Bosch '' star Jamie Hector told Newsday a few years ago that he hoped this series would go on "forever," but forever (alas) arrives Friday after seven seasons. This seems quick because it was, with a total of around 70 episodes designed to be consumed season by season in seven bingeable gulps. "Bosch'' in fact was a binge pioneer back when bingeing was a novelty, and mastered it the old-fashioned way, with layered plots, intricate character development and first-rate performances by an ensemble of actor's actors.

In fact, the series was so well-produced (and bingeable) that it was almost easy to overlook the deeper subtext here. A chaotic world needs a moral center, unyielding and incorruptible, with Harry Bosch in that self-appointed central role — except when he wasn't so incorruptible. The first scene of the first season appeared to catch him in the act of tampering with evidence in a wrongful-death shooting, and from that point forward, the ethical contortions only multiplied. Was he a "good" cop or a "bad" cop, and how to characterize either within the context of a bureaucracy so vast — and fraught — as the LAPD?

Instead, Harry shape-shifted by breaking the rules when it suited him, or enforcing them when that did. Noir detective fiction has explored the same terrain for nearly a century, but "Bosch '' added new twists. Named for the Flemish master Hieronymous Bosch, its eponymous anti-hero seemed at times trapped in one of his phantasmagorical paintings — a tortured soul in a tortured world. And like Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles, his LA was also a dark, brooding, crime-never-sleeps hellscape by night, and a sunny, overlit Gomorrah by day. "Bosch '' loved and embraced LA as few series ever have, by creating as vivid a character as any of the complex human ones — semi-functioning, chaotic, corrupt, but also beautiful, fully alive and strangely traffic-free for the most part.

This final season revisits a favorite theme — the so-called "greater good," which in the context of "Bosch" is always an ethically squeamish edict that typically means the sacrifice of an individual to some powerful, vested interest. Hardly a "greater good" kind of guy — "either everyone counts or nobody counts," he says in an early episode — Harry sets himself up for a climactic showdown and his next act (also, his next series).

Meanwhile, the 7th is one last reminder of what devoted fans have known all along. This is a workplace drama that cared deeply about both the work and the place — policing and those neon-lit warrens, the "precinct," where cops spend parts of their lives pushing papers, while others spin intrigues. "Bosch" honored the work of police without always celebrating that work — a neat trick, especially in 2021, but often effective here. As a reminder that cops are both fallible and human, this series always held them to a higher standard. In "Bosch," sometimes — most times, really — they actually met it.

BOTTOM LINE Fine farewell to a streaming jewel.

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