PC Bosch?

 

One of the (dis)advantages of all the restaurants and bars being closed is that my “social life,” which previously consisted of designated driver services for tipsy friends and standing in bars with my arms crossed keeping an eye on their coats and purses, has largely been reduce to walking down the hall to interrupt Darling Daughter and talk to her about her non-plans for the day. That’s freed up about one evening per week, which means that I’m watching more streaming video.

My favorite police procedural, bar none, is Bosch, which Amazon produces and streams. I enjoy Michael Connelly’s detective fiction, and I think Amazon has done a terrific job of adopting his Bosch novels to the small screen. I identify in some odd way with the aging widower-with-daughter played by Titus Welliver (who is exactly one month younger than me), which makes the series even more appealing. (I also enjoy the surreal paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, though that doesn’t come up often.)

So I’ve been looking forward to season six of the series, which came out recently. The first episode introduces a would-be terrorist villain (tiny little spoiler, hardly anything as it’s revealed quickly) in the form of a “sovereign” militia. I’m always skeptical of shows that feature non-middle eastern terrorists. Yes, of course they exist, but we all kind of know which group does most of the terrorism today, and it isn’t radical common-law separatists in California.

(It’s Islamic extremists, devotees of the teaching and example of the warlord Muhammad as recorded in countless holy texts. Just in case anyone wondered.)

Anyway, the title of the second season six episode is “Good People on Both Sides.”

Come on, man. Seriously?

But I still love the series. I’m just hoping it won’t get preachy.

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  1. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    It’s a BS swipe by an otherwise smart show. As I noted on another thread, there’s a conversation between Bosch and a doctor who describes a libertarian colleague as so extreme “he was to the right of Genghis Khan.” It’s possible the writer meant that to reflect poorly on the doctor, but that’s a highly charitable reading. 

    Anyway, it doesn’t get preachy. 

    Connelly is setting up a Bosch replacement, since he can probably get two more books out of Harry before he retires to his beekeeping. It’s already untenable to have him doing cop things like the character in the TV show, since the actual book-Bosch is much older. I don’t find the new character particularly compelling – a collection of attributes that stand in for an interesting character. I’d prefer more of Harry’s half-brother. I would also prefer that he was not Harry’s half-brother, because that was not a wise authorial decision. 

    • #1
  2. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    It’s a BS swipe by an otherwise smart show. As I noted on another thread, there’s a conversation between Bosch and a doctor who describes a libertarian colleague as so extreme “he was to the right of Genghis Khan.” It’s possible the writer meant that to reflect poorly on the doctor, but that’s a highly charitable reading.

    Anyway, it doesn’t get preachy.

    Connelly is setting up a Bosch replacement, since he can probably get two more books out of Harry before he retires to his beekeeping. It’s already untenable to have him doing cop things like the character in the TV show, since the actual book-Bosch is much older. I don’t find the new character particularly compelling – a collection of attributes that stand in for an interesting character. I’d prefer more of Harry’s half-brother. I would also prefer that he was not Harry’s half-brother, because that was not a wise authorial decision.

    I’ve been described as “to the right of Genghis Khan” (e.g., by my father) for most of my adult life. I don’t mind, and never bothered to dispute the dubious geometry.

    You’ve read a lot more of the books than I have. (I’m not a reliable serial-character reader.) I may stop now; I’ve been wanting to re-read all of Hammett and Chandler anyway. I’m glad the series doesn’t go off the rails.

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I noticed that, too. I’m about where you are. I had read all of Connelly’s when his contract with Paramount expired and he went with Amazon. It was tricky at first adjusting to the modifications to what he had written but I got used to that. Now they are into brand new themes and I don’t like the same stuff you don’t like. I watched the first show of the sixth season but I haven’t gone further yet.

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve been described as “to the right of Genghis Khan” (e.g., by my father) for most of my adult life. I don’t mind, and never bothered to dispute the dubious geometry.

    To the right of Genghis Khan could be just about anywhere on the political spectrum. People need to get more specific.

    • #4
  5. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve been described as “to the right of Genghis Khan” (e.g., by my father) for most of my adult life. I don’t mind, and never bothered to dispute the dubious geometry.

    To the right of Genghis Khan could be just about anywhere on the political spectrum. People need to get more specific.

    It is more evocative than descriptive. Leave some i’s undotted and tee’s uncrossed, Ret.  These are the end times; live a little.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve been described as “to the right of Genghis Khan” (e.g., by my father) for most of my adult life. I don’t mind, and never bothered to dispute the dubious geometry.

    To the right of Genghis Khan could be just about anywhere on the political spectrum. People need to get more specific.

    It is more evocative than descriptive. Leave some i’s undotted and tee’s uncrossed, Ret. These are the end times; live a little.

    I thought that’s what I was doing. Are you saying I didn’t get anybody confused?  

    • #6
  7. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Love Bosch. 

    • #7
  8. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    I thought this was going to be a post about my kitchen appliances.

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    I thought this was going to be a post about my kitchen appliances.

    I have one of their routers and their router table. I’ve found YouTube videos to teach me just about everything I’ve wanted to know about it, so probably don’t need their TV show.

    • #9
  10. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Love Bosch.

    I especially like the 5 burners. You know… Because my jennair only had 2… And a stupid grill thing.. whereas the Bosch… It has 5.

    Burners, that is. 

    Talkin’ about my Bosch.

    • #10
  11. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    You are a bunch of philistines and hooligans, trashing my thread with your unsolicited consumer product endorsements.

    (Disclaimer: I had a Bosch dishwasher for years. It was great. It died and I repaired it. Then it died again, and I picked up a fairly generic replacement for 60% off when the local Sears closed. I don’t miss the old one because that would be absurd: it’s a dishwasher, not a cordless reciprocating saw or something with which one might reasonably develop an emotional attachment. It’s just a kitchen appliance.

    Still, it was a heck of a dishwasher….)

    • #11
  12. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve been wanting to re-read all of Hammett and Chandler anyway. I’m glad the series doesn’t go off the rails.

    YMMV; I have a slightly higher tolerance for ignorant Hollywood BS if I doesn’t infect the characters. A good actor can burn off a lot of the script’s idiocy, and Titus Welliver is just so good. I’d also say . . . he’s a different Bosch than the book. He has the book-version’s reserve, but there’s more fire behind the eyes. 

    The mention of Chandler always leads to a debate about who was the best Marlowe, doesn’t it? So many choices. Bogart was perfect, but most of us saw the movie before we read the books, and retconned the Bogey persona into the novels. Also, he played Sam Spade, which was like the same actor playing two similar iconic roles – like the same actor playing Han Solo and Indiana Jones. 

    Sam Spade was amoral, but he was turned into a breezy hard-boiled hero in his radio exploits. Marlowe’s aching rue was also turned into a breezy hard-boiled hero in his radio exploits. Dick Powell played Marlowe in a movie – imagine  a guy who appeared as a lightweight singer in a series of popular musicals getting a job as James Bond – but later had a run as a breezy hard-boiled hero in his radio exploits. Hmm: a pattern emerges.

    I have some audiobooks of the Marlowe books that absolutely nail the character. It’s one of those things that made for fun movies, but best resides on the page, or in carefully created audio recreations. Marlowe on the screen never matches the Marlowe of our imagination – and it’s a testament to “Bosch” that they vary from the books as much as they do, but seem connected to the source material. Maybe it’s the house.

    • #12
  13. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    You are a bunch of philistines and hooligans, trashing my thread with your unsolicited consumer product endorsements.

    (Disclaimer: I had a Bosch dishwasher for years. It was great. It died and I repaired it. Then it died again, and I picked up a fairly generic replacement for 60% off when the local Sears closed. I don’t miss the old one because that would be absurd: it’s a dishwasher, not a cordless reciprocating saw or something with which one might reasonably develop an emotional attachment. It’s just a kitchen appliance.

    Still, it was a heck of a dishwasher….)

    Yeah, I have an oven, stove, and dishwasher, all pretty great. If the Samsung dies, I may spring for the fridge. Perhaps its as much OCD as anything else. 

    • #13
  14. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Although I’ve been a bit mystified by Bosch’s career path–LAPD, retired, unretired, private eye, off to another PD, etc.–the books are still terrific and notable for their ability to preserve the character’s humanity without lapsing into the realm of political correctness.  I have not watched a great deal of the Amazon series, and am wondering which novel the current season is based on (?).

    • #14
  15. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve been described as “to the right of Genghis Khan” (e.g., by my father) for most of my adult life. I don’t mind, and never bothered to dispute the dubious geometry.

    To the right of Genghis Khan could be just about anywhere on the political spectrum. People need to get more specific.

    Well noted.  “To the right of Genghis Khan” is a slur, a deeply offensive slur.  The implication of the phrase is that Khan is a right-wing exemplar, so the person “to his right” is exceedingly right wing.  But this is not true.  Genghis Khan was certainly not a man of the right.  He was an ultimate leftist, compelling vast numbers of people to live under his rule or die.  From Wikipedia:

    “These campaigns were often accompanied by large-scale massacres of the civilian populations, especially in the Khwarazmian– and Western Xia–controlled lands. Because of this brutality, which left millions dead, he is considered by many to have been a genocidal ruler. “

    Is this the style of a rightist, of Reagan, of Coolidge, of Thatcher?

    No, this is the style of a leftist, of Mao, of Stalin, of Amin, of Pol Pot, of Castro, of Hitler.

    Khan was a leftist, so we all are to the right of Genghis Khan.  But Bernie and AOC and Noam Chomsky are a lot closer to Genghis than anyone on Ricochet.

    • #15
  16. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Then there’s the matter of Bosch…take a look at my avatar.

    • #16
  17. Old Buckeye Inactive
    Old Buckeye
    @OldBuckeye

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Titus Welliver is just so good. I’d also say . . . he’s a different Bosch than the book. He has the book-version’s reserve, but there’s more fire behind the eyes.

    I really enjoy listening to Titus read the audiobooks because now that I’ve seen him “be” Bosch, I want to hear him. But yeah–really a different character than I had in mind when I read the books instead of listening to them. Titus doesn’t even have the physical characteristics described in the books.  I’m also a fan of Mickey Haller, although McConaughey’s portrayal in The Lincoln Lawyer wasn’t exactly what I’d pictured either. 

     

     

     

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve been described as “to the right of Genghis Khan” (e.g., by my father) for most of my adult life. I don’t mind, and never bothered to dispute the dubious geometry.

    To the right of Genghis Khan could be just about anywhere on the political spectrum. People need to get more specific.

    Well noted. “To the right of Genghis Khan” is a slur, a deeply offensive slur. The implication of the phrase is that Khan is a right-wing exemplar, so the person “to his right” is exceedingly right wing. But this is not true. Genghis Khan was certainly not a man of the right. He was an ultimate leftist, compelling vast numbers of people to live under his rule or die. From Wikipedia:

    “These campaigns were often accompanied by large-scale massacres of the civilian populations, especially in the Khwarazmian– and Western Xia–controlled lands. Because of this brutality, which left millions dead, he is considered by many to have been a genocidal ruler. “

    Is this the style of a rightist, of Reagan, of Coolidge, of Thatcher?

    No, this is the style of a leftist, of Mao, of Stalin, of Amin, of Pol Pot, of Castro, of Hitler.

    Khan was a leftist, so we all are to the right of Genghis Khan. But Bernie and AOC and Noam Chomsky are a lot closer to Genghis than anyone on Ricochet.

    Leftists are now claiming him as one of their own. We visited the traveling Genghis Khan exhibit when we were visiting in Kansas City a few months ago. It was all done in the tone of Jack Weatherford’s book, “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World,” which I’ve “read” as an audiobook.  Here’s a blurb about the book:

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans did in four hundred. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization. Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege.

    This makeover has him checking all the PC boxes except perhaps the LGBT one.  But did you know that Genghis Khan made it illegal to murder other Mongols? How progressive can you get? Too bad about the non-Mongols, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

    • #18
  19. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    All of the Bosch audible books from the last several years have been read by Welliver, and I love my audiobooks for when I’m driving, doing housework, cooking, etc. I was delighted when I found that Welliver was Bosch in the TV series. Therefore Welliver is Bosch for me. I do wish they had stuck to the book story lines instead of mushing the stories up together.

    • #19
  20. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    All of the Bosch audible books from the last several years have been read by Welliver, and I love my audiobooks for when I’m driving, doing housework, cooking, etc. I was delighted when I found that Welliver was Bosch in the TV series. Therefore Welliver isBosch for me. I do wish they had stuck to the book story lines instead of mushing the stories up together.

    Len Cariou read several of them before Welliver and he’s just fine as well.  But it does break that Welliver=Bosch tie.

    • #20
  21. Maguffin Inactive
    Maguffin
    @Maguffin

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I noticed that, too. I’m about where you are. I had read all of Connelly’s when his contract with Paramount expired and he went with Amazon. It was tricky at first adjusting to the modifications to what he had written but I got used to that. Now they are into brand new themes and I don’t like the same stuff you don’t like. I watched the first show of the sixth season but I haven’t gone further yet.

    I’ve watched the entire season, and the story line doesn’t turn out to be exactly what’s presented at the beginning.  So I’d keep going.

    • #21
  22. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Left and Right is a loosely defined archaic political term that dates back to the French Revolution. Fringe groups attract individuals that come and go. As long as the group meets their rationalization’s they stay, if not they find a new group. Some are violent, and some are not. The terrorists in the Bosch series are probably based on the Sovereign Citizens. They’re a mixed bag of individuals. Some specialize in tax and real estate scams, and some are extremely violent.

    You see some of this with Antifa and the Proud Boys. Not all members in either group are violent. They follow each other on social media, and those who are violent on each side are tolerated. They have their uses, especially for plausible deniability when the leadership claims they are not responsible for bad actors, or to claim that a violent individual was not a member of their group.

    • #22
  23. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Connelly is setting up a Bosch replacement, since he can probably get two more books out of Harry before he retires to his beekeeping. It’s already untenable to have him doing cop things like the character in the TV show, since the actual book-Bosch is much older. I don’t find the new character particularly compelling – a collection of attributes that stand in for an interesting character. I’d prefer more of Harry’s half-brother. I would also prefer that he was not Harry’s half-brother, because that was not a wise authorial decision. 

    Yes to all of this. The replacement character is a chick detective named Renee Ballard. There have been a couple of books with both Bosch and Ballard that were terrific. But I doubt that she can carry the (book) series solo. She hasn’t appeared in the show (yet). 

    • #23
  24. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Although I’ve been a bit mystified by Bosch’s career path–LAPD, retired, unretired, private eye, off to another PD, etc.–the books are still terrific and notable for their ability to preserve the character’s humanity without lapsing into the realm of political correctness. I have not watched a great deal of the Amazon series, and am wondering which novel the current season is based on (?).

    The seasons are all based on a combination of the novels . . . sometimes 3 or 4. 

    We love the series and did this one in 5 nights; 2 per night. 

    • #24
  25. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    It’s a BS swipe by an otherwise smart show. As I noted on another thread, there’s a conversation between Bosch and a doctor who describes a libertarian colleague as so extreme “he was to the right of Genghis Khan.” It’s possible the writer meant that to reflect poorly on the doctor, but that’s a highly charitable reading.

    Anyway, it doesn’t get preachy.

    Connelly is setting up a Bosch replacement, since he can probably get two more books out of Harry before he retires to his beekeeping. It’s already untenable to have him doing cop things like the character in the TV show, since the actual book-Bosch is much older. I don’t find the new character particularly compelling – a collection of attributes that stand in for an interesting character. I’d prefer more of Harry’s half-brother. I would also prefer that he was not Harry’s half-brother, because that was not a wise authorial decision.

    I always wondered why he didn’t get more Mickey Haller into the series; he’s a good character.

    • #25
  26. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Maguffin (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I noticed that, too. I’m about where you are. I had read all of Connelly’s when his contract with Paramount expired and he went with Amazon. It was tricky at first adjusting to the modifications to what he had written but I got used to that. Now they are into brand new themes and I don’t like the same stuff you don’t like. I watched the first show of the sixth season but I haven’t gone further yet.

    I’ve watched the entire season, and the story line doesn’t turn out to be exactly what’s presented at the beginning. So I’d keep going.

    Yep, it doesn’t go where you think it will.

    • #26
  27. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    It’s a BS swipe by an otherwise smart show. As I noted on another thread, there’s a conversation between Bosch and a doctor who describes a libertarian colleague as so extreme “he was to the right of Genghis Khan.” It’s possible the writer meant that to reflect poorly on the doctor, but that’s a highly charitable reading.

    Anyway, it doesn’t get preachy.

    Connelly is setting up a Bosch replacement, since he can probably get two more books out of Harry before he retires to his beekeeping. It’s already untenable to have him doing cop things like the character in the TV show, since the actual book-Bosch is much older. I don’t find the new character particularly compelling – a collection of attributes that stand in for an interesting character. I’d prefer more of Harry’s half-brother. I would also prefer that he was not Harry’s half-brother, because that was not a wise authorial decision.

    I always wondered why he didn’t get more Mickey Haller into the series; he’s a good character.

    There are several Haller stand-alone books. 

    • #27
  28. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Maguffin: I’ve watched the entire season, and the story line doesn’t turn out to be exactly what’s presented at the beginning. So I’d keep going.

    I was going to add, not  to be a spoiler, but the crazy right wing “Sovereigns” angle is blown up  and that whole train of conversional thought goes out the window when  someone else is implicated that is not too surprisingly related to somewhat  of the stuff of the recent  Declasses.  A whole different point of view is then drawn pointing the finger in an entirely different direction. 

    Bosch is great. Great story lines and the stories actually have basis in real fact of what has occurred here in LA.  Some of the tidbits of the info on the  Gangs etc ring very true.  Since I live in Hollywood I also love how the show, as do the books, gets the local detail right, right down to the local fast food places like Paquito Mas and In N Out.  I know a friend who volunteers at the Hollywood Division of LAPD , and according to him,  they have recreated the entire interior of the Hollywood Division down to the mundane details as a set for the show. 

    My only quibble with the show’s locale is that in the books, Harry’s house in on Woodrow Wilson Drive along where the legendary “Boat” cliffhanger houses are which is on the much more funky  and not so expensive “Valley” side of the Hollywood Hills in the Cahuenga Pass  Area.  The House they used in the show is on Blue Heights drive above the Sunset Plaza area of the Sunset Strip which is infinitely  more expensive, ritzy ( mega-millions) and probably out of the reach for  an LAPD detective Movie writing gig or not.   Sure the “skyline” views from that area are very dramatic and provide a cool backdrop for the show, but the original Paquito Mas  and In N Out in the Cahuenga Pass  are an unrealistic trek from Blue Heights drive and the Boat houses also have great views but just not so dramatic.  

    • #28
  29. devlins7 Inactive
    devlins7
    @AdamSmithFan

    That episode ‘Good people on both side’ was anything but subtle but I think the show is actually very fair. I can’t imagine liberals enjoy the portrayal of the LAPD- which is overall pretty positive- or the portrayal of the villains. There’s very little of the liberal sociological explanations for crime. Criminals do bad things because they’re bad people in Bosch. 

    The series on police brutality was a great example. It showed the reality of overzealous police destroying a man’s life and causing great harm but it acknowledges that the cops were trying to save a young child’s life. I can’t imagine either liberals or conservatives had their prior beliefs confirmed by that series. 

    Overall I think Bosch shows that Hollywood can make good television when it lightly sprinkles the politics. I think it’s obvious the makers of Bosch are liberals but they don’t let that dictate what happens in the show. A few more liberals like the makers of Bosch and Hollywood would be much better off. 

    • #29
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    devlins7 (View Comment):

    That episode ‘Good people on both side’ was anything but subtle but I think the show is actually very fair. I can’t imagine liberals enjoy the portrayal of the LAPD- which is overall pretty positive- or the portrayal of the villains. There’s very little of the liberal sociological explanations for crime. Criminals do bad things because they’re bad people in Bosch.

    The series on police brutality was a great example. It showed the reality of overzealous police destroying a man’s life and causing great harm but it acknowledges that the cops were trying to save a young child’s life. I can’t imagine either liberals or conservatives had their prior beliefs confirmed by that series.

    Overall I think Bosch shows that Hollywood can make good television when it lightly sprinkles the politics. I think it’s obvious the makers of Bosch are liberals but they don’t let that dictate what happens in the show. A few more liberals like the makers of Bosch and Hollywood would be much better off.

    If there was enough of the sort of thing you describe I might be tempted to watch television again. So I hope it never comes to pass.  Where would I find the time for it?

    • #30
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