With all the new series popping up every week, it can sometimes feels like Amazon’s Bosch gets unfairly overlooked. The series is entering into season 4 and it once again delivers the sort of consistently entertaining cop drama it has become known for among the Amazon Prime Video faithful. But that sort of reliability in this era of Peak TV sometimes has the inadvertent downside of being taken for granted.
Bosch has earned a larger space in the collective television conversation. Too often it seems like a season comes and goes on Amazon without TV heads taking much notice, even though it’s apparently one of Prime Video’s most viewed offerings. It’s also invariably entertaining and addictive, the kind of easily bingeable series that streaming services are in the market for. Sure, it’s also prime Dad fare — you could easily convince your father to bide his time until Ray Donovan made his Sunday nights memorable again with the ongoing adventures of Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (Titus Welliver) — but even if you aren’t a card-carrying member of the Socks & Sandals Club, there’s plenty to enjoy with this series and especially early on in season 4.
The new season kicks off with ‘Ask the Dust,’ a title that sounds like it would be a perfect fit for one of Bosch creator Michael Connelly’s novels. Instead it picks up soon after the season 3 finale ‘The Sea King’ ended. That episode served to shake up the status quo a little bit, mainly by putting Bosch and his usual partner J. Edgar (Jamie Hector) on the outs with one another. Edgar was also wounded in a shooting, which took him away from his police duties, opening the series up exploring the other part of police work it does so well: demonstrate how investigating homicides is often a welcome reprieve from the tumult of these cops’ messy personal lives.
Like any cop show worth its salt, Bosch works to blur the lines between the two sides of its detectives’ lives, making the big case around which the season revolves unique enough there are stakes for the characters on a personal and professional level. This time around, the season investigates the murder of a Los Angeles attorney, Howard Elias (Clark Johnson), who has made a name for himself bringing up charges against police officers. His publicized death puts the LAPD under extreme scrutiny, as cops become the most likely suspect. Bosch, inevitably, is put in charge of a task force working in cooperation with Internal Affairs to solve the case, even if it means putting someone with a badge in handcuffs.
The season’s main storyline feels more of a moment than any in the series’ history, and it puts Bosch in an interesting position to comment on current affairs, which feels like interesting new territory for the show to tread. In the episodes that were made available to critics ahead of the premiere, the show’s ripped-from-the-headlines approach to the season didn’t interfere too much from its overarching plot, wherein Bosch continues to pursue the truth behind the murder of his mother, now a decades-old cold case that occasionally takes center stage as a way to give the show and its title character some breathing room. This time, Bosch has his eyes on a new suspect, Bradley Walker (John Getz), who also happens to be the acting president of the Police Commission.
The show is very dense from a storytelling perspective. And, true to form, there’s a lot going on right from the start in season 4. The show makes a concerted effort to deliver as much of the police procedural goods as possible on an episode-to-episode basis. The first three episodes take their time as Bosch and his assigned IA overseer, Amy Snyder (Winter Ave Zoli), work the Elias murder case alongside Det. Robertson (Paul Calderon). But within those three hours the new season also finds time for Bosch’s ex-wife Eleanor (Sarah Clarke) to uncover a potential Chinese crime syndicate and for his daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) to figure out that her stepfather, Reggie (Hoon Lee), may somehow have fallen victim to them. And really, what makes Bosch worthwhile isn’t the procedural aspect or how it examines the emotional cost of being a detective, but rather the manner in which the series manages to keep what is essentially a large number of plates spinning throughout 10 episodes every season.
That high degree of difficulty is made more manageable by the degree to which Bosch turns into the dramatic skid of how cop show-y it is willing to be. That is, Bosch enjoys depicting the realism of being a cop as much as it enjoys jumping head first into the turbulent waters of detective fiction. All cop shows are tasked with mixing the two to a certain degree, which means a show like Bosch is judged for the way it delivers what is expected from the genre, and the little things that help it stand out on an individual level. In that sense, Bosch finds itself elevated by working in little grace notes, like watching J. Edgar reclaim all the office supplies stolen from his desk by his fellow detectives once he’s finally returned to work.
Bosch season 4 has taken a cue from season 3 in that it aims to make use of every minute from episode to episode. The show stays busy as though it fears what might happen if it slowed down for even a second. That head-down, always-engaged approach to storytelling has served the series well, and it continues to do so here. The first three episodes of season 4 are practically overflowing with plot — police procedural and otherwise — and the show remains solid entertainment because of it.
Bosch season 4 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.