Last month’s release of season 5 of Bosch couldn’t have come at a worse time for me. I was busy moving, changing jobs, and preparing for Avengers: Endgame, which I ended up not reviewing even after a ton of preparation. As a general rule, I don’t review movies or shows I don’t like, and despite the plethora of glowing reviews for Endgame, I was one of the few who found it to be below my expectations.
Such is life in movies.
When I finally got around to watching season 5 of Bosch, I was heartened by one thing that is rare for a television show. Somehow, Bosch keeps improving. That’s quite a feat in television. Few shows can claim to improve for three season, let alone four. But Bosch found a way to get better five seasons in a row. Breaking Bad and The Wire are the only shows I can think of off the top of my head that were able to accomplish this until now.
Season 5 is a tour de force in the police procedural genre. It keeps it real while still keeping it exciting. That’s quite difficult even in a field as action-packed as law enforcement because there is much more mundane work that goes into it than what people normally want to see on television. While I loved Longmire, it started getting weird that an area as calm and peaceful as the setting of the show was somehow able to present a murder just about every week.
Amazon’s adaptation of the Michael Connelly book series focuses on a handful of murders every season. Normally there is one primary case, a case that’s personal to Bosch himself, and a couple of side cases that may or may not have anything to do with the primary case.
Bosch is television brilliance because it’s able to demonstrate the mundane while still keeping us thrilled enough to not get bored. The bad guys are cunning without being supernaturally adept in their machinations. One has to look at The Wire to find a continuous flow of bad guys who are just good enough without being too good. In fact, the similarities to The Wire are punctuated by the fact that twelve actors have played in both shows over the years, including two of the main characters played by Lance Reddick and Jaime Hector.
So, which is better? Most fans of both shows would choose The Wire because of its groundbreaking grittiness and mass popularity, but I disagree. I loved The Wire, which is why I think it’s the 2nd best police procedural ever. But Bosch beats it in action and diversity within the storylines. Unlike The Wire, the seasons do not always bring a neat conclusion. Some of the bad guys actually get away. Justice is served, but justice is almost secondary to the truth. That seems to be what drives Titus Welliver’s titular character even more than his adherence to justice itself.
This will likely never win any Emmys or Golden Globes because it’s made for fans, not for judges. But in that regard, giving fans what they truly crave in a police drama, no show delivers as well as Bosch.
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