LA Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (Titus Welliver) is in serious trouble. Which isn’t exactly anything new for him, but as the latest season of Bosch begins, he’s under siege on two fronts. Thanks to an opening flash-forward, we know he ends up working undercover (and on a knife’s edge), but that’s not the worst of it. For four seasons he’s been fighting crime by pushing the law and his personal relationships to breaking point, and now it’s finally caught up with him.
With new DA Roselyn Hines (Judith Moreland) running things after the events of last season, a new unit has been set up to investigate old cases, and they have one of Bosch’s earliest arrests in their sights. Twenty years ago Dominique Skyler was raped and murdered, and Bosch put the man who did it behind bars – only now evidence has come to light that suggests maybe Bosch got the wrong man. Worse, he may have falsified evidence to make his case.
On any other police drama there’d be no question of our hero’s innocence. For one thing, the investigator in the DA’s office leading the charge to dig up his past is Christina Henry (Bianca Kajlich). She’s a disgruntled ex who blames Bosch for sidelining her career in the police force and is just a little too eager to jump on a deathbed confession from another criminal as an excuse to reopen the case. Clearly there’s nothing more to this than a personal grudge?
Maybe, maybe not. The one thing that’s consistent about Bosch is that he’s more than willing to walk right up to the line when it comes to bringing criminals to justice. Even now that he’s under investigation, Bosch is 100% convinced he got the right man for the crime. Is it possible that this kind of certainty is something that might have led him to falsify evidence, especially at the very start of his career?
The good news for Bosch is, he has someone working on the inside. His daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) is spending her summer working at the DA’s office, and the apple definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree. She’s the first one to tip Bosch off about the investigation into his past, and she remains a staunch defender of him to co-worker and investigator Tom Galligan (Mason Dye)… even when their relationship turns personal.
And it’s a sign of how successful Bosch’s slow-burn approach to character is that Maddie, who started out as little more than a plot device to give Bosch a home life, has become a fully-developed character who can hold her own against her dad, not to mention become an increasingly useful part of his defence, as her work at the DA’s office gives her the inside track on the dirt they’re digging up.
The other side of Bosch’s defence is Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers), a no-nonsense civil rights lawyer he crossed paths with last season. He approaches her to take on his defence (if he even gets one, which isn’t a sure thing with this kind of investigation), and somewhat surprisingly, considering their past, she says yes. He’s going to need her; the more the DA digs the more they find, and when fresh DNA evidence surfaces it starts to look like Bosch might be in serious trouble.
It’s not like Bosch is sitting on his hands while all this is going on. He’s also busy investigating a pharmacy murder that leads him towards the drug ring he’s infiltrating in the opening flash-forward, so there’s plenty of traditional crime fighting going on. But in many ways the investigation of Bosch’s past is the real driving force in this season because it cuts to the heart of who Bosch is: is he a cop who stays on the right side of the law, or is he a vigilante with a badge?
It’s a testament to how effective Bosch’s character-based story-telling has been over the last four seasons that this question has real weight to it. The result could legitimately go either way and feel truthful to the story the series has been telling. We know Harry Bosch may bend the law, but it’s never been out of the question that he might break it to do what he thinks is the right thing.
In the complicated world he lives in, sometimes that’s okay – and sometimes that’s the kind of thing that can put your whole career on the line.
Season 5 of Bosch commences on Thursday, 5 September at 10:30pm on SBS or watch the entire new season at SBS On Demand now (season 4 is also available as a box set).
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