Although there are a number of decent things to watch on Amazon Prime, it’s still true to say that most people probably think of it as the Free Next Day Delivery service with added video. I enjoyed Mozart in the Jungle, Red Oaks, and The Man in the High Castle, but for me, the overwhelming choice for Best Thing On Amazon is Bosch. I reviewed Season 1 here, and said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Which is to say, that although it might seem like just another one of those cop shows, it simply works better, as a whole, than you would assume from its array of cop show clichés.
Slight spoiler alert in what follows.
Season 1 was good, season 2 is better. There are fewer of those clichés at play, fewer of those ‘You’re off the case!’ moments. The supporting cast are given more to do. Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) is still more sympathetic than he is in the books, but I’ve forgiven this, because this more fleshed out character is a good foil for Bosch. Edgar doesn’t have the instincts, the gut feelings, that Bosch has, but he does valuable leg- and paperwork, patiently accruing the evidence needed to break the case. Meanwhile, in season 2, deputy chief Irvin Irving (Lance Reddick, who is good in everything he’s in) steps into the role of maverick on a mission, and it’s Bosch who has to talk sense.
There are roles this year for Jeri Ryan as a murder victim’s widow, and Brent Sexton, who plays a cop turned security guard on a gated community. Both of these seem like fleshed out roles, with characters who act in ways that are true to themselves.
As with the first season, this one amalgamates plot elements from three books, the main one being Trunk Music, and the other two being The Drop and The Last Coyote. And because the TV series has so much material to interweave, I think they actually do good job of reducing the level cop show cliché melodrama, drilling down to the essentials of character and plot that makes for better television.
As before, the cinematography of Los Angeles is superb, and the show looks expensive, with its own unique style that is definitely more cinematic than your run of the mill procedural. The pacing is a bit odd, however, because it’s clearly designed for streaming and binge-watching rather than conventional broadcast. That means episodes sometimes seem to just finish, and it’s not until over halfway through that you feel an urgency to get to the next episode.
One criticism: Episode 7 begins with the worst bagpipe noise I have ever heard, and I scrabbled for the remote to turn it down so my ears didn’t start to bleed.
Another criticism: I watched it over four days and ten episodes is nowhere near enough. Thirteen next time, please, Amazon? Ten is just a round number.