When you tune into Bosch, you know what to expect; LA detective Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) brooding, fuming, and taking down the bad guys no matter what. But if you look a little closer, you’ll soon realise that Bosch’s secret weapon is lurking in the background in the bulky form of a couple of shadowy figure making every scene they’re in just that little bit better.
It’s time to meet the real heroes of Bosch: Detectives Crate and Barrel.
Who are Crate and Barrel anyway?
Detective Johnson (Troy Evans), AKA “Crate”, is a homicide detective at Hollywood Division; Detective Robert Moore (Gregory Scott Cummins), AKA “Barrel”, is his partner. They’ve been around the block a few times, and probably had a few meals along the way, but what they lack in agility they more than make up for in experience. They’re solid, reliable law enforcement professionals who handle the regular crimes while Bosch is tracking down terrorists and obsessing over cold cases.
So they’re the comedy relief?
Not anymore. Yes, when the series started there was an element of comic relief going on with them. Bosch was the cool cop; they were a couple of hefty older guys who bickered and could be bought off with sports tickets. Soon though, it became clear there was more going on with them than some easy jokes. They were clearly a contrast to top cop Harry Bosch, but that didn’t mean they were bad cops – just a little more fun to be around.
Over the first few seasons, they might have been making corny gags or dropping some old school police wisdom, but they weren’t simply the butt of the joke. They would rib Bosch in the office about his dating habits, or they’d start telling a joke that wanders around a little more than it should (and then they’ll joke about that), but when it counts, they stepped up and delivered.
They’re old, not useless
They’re not exactly athletes and they’re pushing retirement age, so they’re never going to kill a couple of bad guys on a private plane then land the plane like Harry Bosch. At the start of season five it even looked like they’d reached the end of the line; during a chase after an armed robbery they crashed into another police car, the suspect escaped in the confusion, and Crate and Barrel took the blame. They ended up assigned to the kind of desk duties most cops see as a big flashing sign reading “retirement”.
Ironically, all this was a sign of their rising status in the series. Previously they’d mostly been background colour, cops who made the show better by their presence but who rarely had storylines of their own. Now they had an ongoing plot, and the threat of their retirement hung over almost all of season five. Let’s just say this’d be a much shorter article if they’d gone through with it.
They work with Bosch, not for Bosch
Bosch is an ensemble show, but while most of the cast have direct ties to Bosch – they’re his partner, or his daughter, or his boss, or his bosses’ boss – Crate and Barrel are his workmates. They’re the other cops in the precinct, investigating other cases, working alongside Bosch but rarely with him. That said, when Bosch needs an extra pair of hands, they’re always there to help out.
In season six, not only did they get their own subplot investigating a turf war between homeless panhandlers, but the duo kept getting roped into other people’s subplots. First Barrel was helping run surveillance for Bosch when he stumbled across a major break in the case, then after the death of an old police buddy he was given a tape that wasn’t exactly good news for the mayoral campaign of the former Police Chief Irving (Lance Reddick).
Then, in what could have felt like fan service if it wasn’t such a great moment, at the climax of season six when pretty much everyone is at the courthouse and the chief villain has just dropped off a bomb, who comes out of the toilet just in time to figure out a suspicious handbag is suspicious? That’s right: Barrel to the rescue yet again.
They’re always entertaining
Actors Troy Evans and Gregory Scott Cummins are old pros, and they’re clearly having a good time here. Cummins purrs his lines like he’s savouring the taste of every last one; Evans (who you might recognise from a long career largely playing military men going all the way back to Good Morning Vietnam) is a little raspier, which makes him the ideal heavy when they need to lean on a suspect. They’re easy-going characters who get along well and seem to have life all figured out. If Bosch somehow dialled down his intensity and mellowed out, they’re what he’d be like.
They make the show work
A series like Bosch walks a fine line. Harry Bosch is pretty much the best cop ever (his off-duty life, not so much), but he operates in a sunlit noir LA where gritty realism is a vital part of the backdrop. Enter Crate and Barrel; as down-the-earth cops, they help ground the series in the real world. It’s not that they make Bosch look good – he doesn’t need any help with that – but they show he lives in a world where regular crime, and regular cops, are a regular part of life.
Plus they’re just plain fun guys to have around. Bosch wouldn’t be the same without them.
Bosch season 7 premieres at SBS On Demand 10AM Saturday 26 June.
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