Review by C.J. Bunce
Dragnet, Adam-12, The Rockford Files, The Closer, Major Crimes… Bosch was only the latest in a long string of L.A. cop shows. An adaptation of Michael Connelly’s character LAPD detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, the Amazon Studios series ran seven seasons from 2014 to 2021, before getting a much cheaper, slimmed down version of the story with a smaller cast of characters and a slightly narrowed set of police procedural stories. Called Bosch: Legacy and airing on Amazon’s Freevee streaming service, the first season of the sequel series presented what felt in many ways like a completely different show. It returns next week for its second season, but fans of the show will only be looking for the answers in one story arc.
(Check out our end-of-season follow-up review here).
The best character arc of the first seven seasons was by far Bosch’s daughter, Maddie, played by Madison Lintz, who went from age 15 to 22. First living with her mother, ex-FBI agent turned high stakes blackjack pro Eleanor Wish (played by Sarah Clarke), Maddie soon proved her father’s daughter, learning and emulating his style and interests more with each new season. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise that she joined the police force for the sequel series, just as her dad quit to become this century’s version of P.I. Jim Rockford. For seven seasons Connelly’s character was becoming the series heroine in her own right. Then the sequel series started and her arc went sideways as the writers seemed to lose track of why this character worked. Now a naive, green rookie who no longer seems to have any control of her life, she becomes a victim in the first season finale–the opposite of what the character deserved–just as she was finding her stride as a cop.
Tough, grizzled, ex-homicide detective Bosch has been stripped down each season. He was a misogynist and a hypocrite, a John Luther without the criminal girlfriend, making the rules for police bend his way as he criticized his girlfriend cop for making minor mistakes. He’s an adult age 60 or more who can’t get over an event of his childhood. Even his partners don’t know if they can trust him, or if he’ll turn on them at any moment. Why does anyone like this guy? In real life if you’ve had the misfortune of working with someone like Bosch, you know it’s not so entertaining. The reason for the longevity of the series is a big fan base for Titus Welliver, and maybe fans of jazz music like his character’s affinity for the genre, at least in the first seven seasons. Maybe viewers just want to know what’s happening these days inside that infamous, recognizable LAPD building they’ve been watching on their TV screens since 1951. The Closer and Major Crimes showed how it’s done for 14 seasons. Bosch: Legacy does not seem to be capable of surviving that long–at least it’s not on the right track. It already lost its best supporting characters after Amy Aquino and Lance Reddick (who died this year) didn’t return for the second series. Can it get back on track this season? It seems unlikely if it’s side-lining its heroine for the season. Even worse if it kills her off.
But let’s not forget the other series heroine. That’s Mimi Rogers as Honey “Money” Chandler, the city’s best defense attorney, who is shot as the first series wound down. In Bosch: Legacy this by-the-book, not willing to cross the line lawyer is single-minded, wanting to kill the man behind the attempt on her life. Rogers gives it her all, creating a character better than the sequel series deserves. But the character written for this series isn’t the same as the character in the first series.
In the finale for the first season of Bosch: Legacy we’re left with more of Bosch not as the driven ex-cop, not as the driven P.I. righting wrongs, but the wreck of a man father who may have lost his daughter to a career he left and probably should have pushed her away from. It’s anyone’s guess how far the new season will veer from Connelly’s characters as written for his books. They’ve already invented new characters and story arcs–which can be a good thing. Developing a lasting character with Maddie seemed the obvious direction for the series. But that might not have been obvious to the show’s writers. It’s in the show’s title, after all. Wouldn’t audiences rather watch Maddie kicking ass on the LAPD instead of stuck as the victim? It’s a lazy, hackneyed way for the writers to take the character.
Returning actors for Bosch: Legacy are Jamie Hector (Det. Jerry Edgar), Stephen A. Chang (Mo Bassi), Denise Sanchez (Officer Vasquez), David Moses (Martin Rose), Cynthia Kaye McWilliams (Det. Bennett), Scott Klace (Sgt. Mankiewicz), Gregory Scott Cummins (Det. “Crate” Moore), Troy Evans (Det. “Barrel” Johnson), Jacqueline Pinol (Det. Espinosa), Jacqueline Obradors (Christine Vega), DaJuan Johnson (Rondell Pierce), and David Marciano (Det. Conniff). Anthony Michael Hall (Halloween Kills, Community, The Dead Zone) co-stars as Special Agent Will Barron, with Patrick Brennan (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2), Rafael Cabrera (Too Old to Die Young), Bruce Davison (X–Men), Jessica Camacho (All Rise), David Denman (Mare of Easttown), and Guy Wilson (Angelyne), all joining the cast for Season 2.
Here’s the trailer for Season 2:
Will Harry sell his L.A. overlook home? Can he just let J. Edgar do his job? Why do he and Maddie wear those matching wristbands? Where’s the dog while this is going on? And what’s Harry going to do with that pen?
It’s rumored Detective Edgar is getting a new spin-off series, and another spin-off will follow the LAPD’s cold case division. But we do know Bosch: Legacy was renewed for a third season. To find out what’s in store next for Harry, Honey, and Maddie check out the first two episodes of Season 2 of Bosch: Legacy, arriving on Freevee October 20, 2023.