Harry lands in some unfamiliar spots in Bosch season 5.
As I reflect on Bosch season 5, I cannot help but think about all of the new challenges Harry faces on and off the job during this installment of the Amazon Prime original series.
Harry encounters many new experiences while still “holding fast” to his quest for justice and his creed “Everybody counts or nobody counts”. Our favorite detective also finds himself having to rely on others in ways that are unfamiliar.
— Bosch (@BoschAmazon) May 16, 2019
The Bosch series is known for intermingling multiple cases and characters throughout a single season. Some cases are closed, others remain open. Some questions are answered, others are not. In the midst of all the different aspects of the story, I feel a common thread of change for Harry. Let the evidence speak for itself.
Exhibit A: Who “colors outside the lines” now?
CIU ivestigator Ed Sung reminds us that Harry Bosch “colors outside the lines” on occasion. At the close of season 5, however, Harry finds himself instead surrounded by others doing the same, perhaps worse.
Despite his good intentions, Harry Bosch has a history of making a few of his own rules during his investigations, one in particular that can be deemed criminal.
- Harry gets involved romantically with Julia Brasher, a rookie patrol officer in season 1. He becomes entangled in her “rookie” mistakes and has to navigate the muddy waters of choosing whether to defend, mentor, or hold her accountable.
- In season 2, Bosch agrees to run a secret parallel investigation into George Irving’s murder at the behest of George’s father, Deputy Chief Irving.
- Season 3 reveals a decision Harry makes that creates a significant wedge between him and partner Jerry Edgar. Harry chooses not to intervene when he sees the Tafero brothers break into unconvicted murderer Ed Gunn‘s apartment, a break-in that ultimately leads to Gunn’s own murder.
- Harry breaks protocol when he gives video footage of the Black Guardian torture incident directly to Honey Chandler in season 4.
Now in season 5, Harry is on the other side of the table watching people in his inner circle crossing some lines.
- His attorney Honey Chandler initiates a story in the Los Angeles Times that brings Harry’s reputation as a detective into question. She manipulates the media to make a case for Harry to have standing in the Borders hearing. The photo in the article blows Harry’s cover in the pharmacy murder investigation. Truth be told, we could see Harry doing the same thing, but this time it was not his decision. He is watching someone else gamble.
- Harry learns that Maddie gives a confidential memo to Honey Chandler, information that ultimately works in his favor during the hearing. Harry appreciates his daughter taking a risk for him but realizes the unsanctioned act could have had serious consequences for her.
- All season long, former colleague and embittered ex-girlfriend Christina Henry is trying to prove that Harry planted evidence to convict Preston Borders. Harry enlists the representation of Honey Chandler to prove otherwise, only to find out that the evidence was indeed planted after all. Chief Irving planted the pendant all those years ago. Then Irving destroys a search warrant photo to try to hide it. Harry confronts Irving saying there is a line he will not cross.
It is very interesting seeing Harry reflect on other people close to him taking risks, breaking rules, and crossing lines that he may or may not be willing to cross himself. It elicits much conversation and thought about the age old question of whether the ends justifies the means.
Exhibit B: Maddie is now a young woman
Harry has had limited experience raising Maddie in his home. Just as he may be getting used to having a teenager, Maddie reaches a new season in her life. She is a college student, a young woman finding her own way.
Both Harry and Maddie have had to grow up all too fast with both of them losing their mothers at such a tender age. They are very similar, which does not always make things easier. Both are brooding, persevering, and passionate about justice. While they can relate so well to one another, it can be tough to see yourself in someone else.
While the father daughter bond grows stronger, so does Maddie’s need for independence. Harry watches his daughter navigate dating relationships and the emotional aspects of working in law enforcement. All the while, he desperately wants to protect her while still giving her room to grow.
Exhibit C: Harry goes undercover
We have not seen Harry go deep undercover before on Bosch. It is both compelling and nerve-wracking. Clearly, it is a new experience for Harry as he tries to maintain the compliant nature of a weary drug addict while keeping his wits about him. Harry has to manage the fine line of investigating the pill mill without revealing his mission.
Things change quickly for Harry when the undercover mission takes flight to the desert instead of remaining locally in Los Angeles. Does he proceed or call it quits? It’s Harry Bosch, so of course he doesn’t quit!
As detective Harry has access to high level means of communication. Posing as a drug addict who is then swept away to the desert without notice, Harry has no means of communication. Or does he? Leave it to Harry to find a way to reach out to J. Edgar with nothing but pen and paper all way getting Elizabeth out of the desert at the same time!
— Bosch (@BoschAmazon) May 6, 2019
Exhibit D: Harry is the client.
Harry asks Honey Chandler to represent him when the Borders conviction is reopened. He is not quite prepared, though, for being on the passenger side, or even in the back seat on occasion.
Honey takes the lead in discussions with DDA Kennedy and even has to ask Harry to leave the room. Then, of course, there is the introduction of Hector Bonner, Honey’s investigator. Bosch’s entire career revolves around investigating, so it is awkward for him seeing someone else step into that role on his behalf. He eventually comes to appreciate Bonner’s work, but also takes the opportunity to point out some investigative activities cannot be performed without a badge.
Exhibit D: Harry gets a dog!
One of the most exciting changes for Harry in season 5 is the adoption of Coltrane, the stray dog he meets in the desert. It is so rewarding to see Harry allow Coltrane to become a part of his life, a trusted friend. Harry protects Coltrane and Coltrane protects Harry.
It is like two wounded souls coming together to heal. Titus Welliver talks about how Coltrane “saves” Harry in our interview with him on the Everybody Counts Podcast. Coltrane is so much more than a pet or sidekick. Harry opens his heart to the dog and all the vulnerability that comes with that.
Now that is a change we can all celebrate!
— Michael Connelly (@Connellybooks) May 3, 2019
Bosch season 5 is packed with stellar performances and profound storytelling. While the changes Harry encounters this season are a big part of that, they are indeed just a part of the big picture. I could write full essays about the journeys of Jerry, Grace, Maddie, and more in season 5. Who knows, maybe I will!
You can revisit each episode of Bosch season 5 on the Everybody Counts Podcast with episode discussion, cast interviews and more. Keep your eyes peeled for the “Boschies” ballot to vote on outstanding moments and peformance in season 5.
Bosch season 6 is in the works, too! #HoldFast