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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Bosch 4: Delivering and Transcending the Genre

I binged Bosch 4 on Amazon Prime the past few days.   I've enjoyed every season so far, but I enjoyed this fourth one the most (come to think of it, I said the same last year about the third).  Herewith some highlights with minimal spoilers:

This season has Bosch enmeshed in two major, unrelated cases (well, in a sense three, in that one of the cases is connected to the murder of his mother - a call-girl - many decades ago).  There are at least two shocking surprises, one at the very beginning, the other in the middle of an early-to-mid episode. All of this is played out in the vivid LA cinematography to which we and our eyes have become accustomed in this series.

Even the view of his apartment is stunning, as always.  It's a pleasure to see Bosch in it, whatever the demons that plague him and the darkness that more than impinges on his life.   He continues to struggle to have a relationship with his daughter, endeavoring to walk the fine line between being an understanding father and stepping between her and the evil that's all around.   He continues to struggle to have an effective relationship with his colleagues in the Homicide Division of the LAPD.

That last part is one reason I liked this season the best.  The nuances of the major detectives in the unit, most of whom we've seen before, are more clearly, or at least more satisfyingly, drawn.  In previous years, jealousy, arrogance, competitiveness, disrespect real and imagined, shutting people out, deserved or not, ran rampant in the squad.  Season 4 smartly builds on the premise that everyone knows each other at least a little better.  This permits the friction to slip at least a little into the background, which frees the characters to be more compelling, smoother and sharper, rather than the scratchy record we've heard many times before.

The top levels of police and city government are also done well.  This is an LA not just beset by crime, but streets on the verge of erupting and airports that service international espionage.  We've seen this before, but never in a mix quite like this.

Bosch started as a worthy member of the neo-crime syndicate of TV series and movies like LA Confidential.  In its fourth season, it's begun to transcend that.  Slickly but deeply written, with an ear as always for the latest apps.  Brilliantly acted, again, by everyone, but especially Titus Welliver in the title role, with a character who's not only memorable but who, when you consider myriad the facets of his life and persona, is not like any other we've seen on the screen.

See also  Bosch: First Half: Highly Recommended ... Bosch: Second Half as Fine as the First ...  Bosch Season 2: Dragnet with Uber ... Bosch 3: Best Season So Far

                   another kind of police story 

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