By Ygal Kaufman
Lost in the Amazon
As previously noted in Entertainmental, Amazon is making TV now. And pretty good TV, at that. One of their newest and most intriguing shows, however, may be the first entertainment casualty of the Ferguson/NYC/Cleveland police racism scandals that are dominating the news. This is what you might describe as an ‘Entertainmental exclusive’ inasmuch as I’m the only one claiming this is a possibility. Nobody else has drawn any attention to this, and it may indeed be entirely in my head.
Bosch is the much anticipated new series based on the novels of bestselling mystery writer, Michael Connelly. It stars Titus Welliver, who is the TV equivalent of Dick Miller, which basically means you’ll definitely recognize his face even if you don’t recognize his name, in the titular role of Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (let’s not debate the wisdom/stupidity of naming your lead character after a famous artist in a police procedural), a hard boiled LA detective chasing a serial killer. After airing (I guess it should be “webbing,” since it’s released online only) its first episode as part of Amazon’s second “Pilot Season,” back in February, Bosch was quickly snapped up for a whole season order based on strong reviews and subscriber response. The rest of the season is due in early ’15.
The problem? That lies in the clever subplot.
You see Harry Bosch is investigating a serial killer whilst simultaneously fighting a civil suit for the wrongful death of a suspect he shot dead and in whose death was then cleared of wrongdoing.
Sound poorly timed?
In the story, the case of Bosch does not in any way mirror the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner or Tamir Rice, at least not in any real sense. The guy Bosch shot was a rapist and a murderer, and he was armed. So one might think it wouldn’t be a big deal. But the pilot episode of Bosch features some extended trial scenes where a police officer is accused of wrongfully gunning down an unarmed innocent, and then getting the force to cover for him in sweeping it under the rug. Sound familiar? It may be a little too soon for audiences to see it from the police’s perspective in such a case, no matter how fictional.
It wouldn’t be the first time that real world events have scuttled scripted entertainment; most recently the film Gangster Squad, which for the record was hilariously terrible, had to cut a movie theater gun fight scene after the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting killed 12 and injured 70 more just before it’s release.
Again, I should stress that nobody is suggesting Bosch will suffer the same fate (having to make last second cuts to already filmed material) or an even worse fate (outright cancellation). Except me. I have a feeling when Amazon swings back around to their marketing campaign for Bosch, they’re going to find themselves struggling to not mention what the show is about. It would be a shame, because it’s a very strong little mystery show, and a breakout performance for the journeyman Welliver. Stay tuned for more.