The second season of Amazon’s first-ever drama starts Friday, and Bosch exec producers Eric Overmyer and Michael Connelly say Amazon’s been an ideal home for the L.A noir franchise, which was spawned from Connelly’s novels. The producers say Amazon came at them early, and aggressively, to bring the books to TV.
“I sat with [Amazon Studios head] Roy Price and he said, it’s a no brainer—we’re looking to do our first drama. We love the Bosch books—let us take it off the table,” says Overmyer.
Overmyer’s TV credits are as good as anyone’s; he created Treme and worked on Law & Order: Criminal Intent,St. Elsewhere and The Wire, among many other series. (In fact a pair of Wire alum, Jamie Hector [who played Marlo] and Lance Reddick [Cedric Daniels], portray cops on Bosch.) But an SVOD platform was a new one for him. “I was a little skeptical—streaming? What’s that?” he admits. “My agent said, we need to get on board with this.”
Bosch is centered around Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, a brooding L.A. detective with a unique take on police work, and on the world. Connolly says he didn’t want to do a “murder of the week” series seen on more traditional TV, in favor of a more serialized arc. “The choice were few, and one of them was Amazon,” he says.
The author notes that, before Amazon turned into a TV channel, and delivery service for diapers and shoes and whatever else you might need, it was a bookseller. Keeping the Bosch TV series and books under one banner was smart business, he says. “One quick link and [viewers] can get my books,” says Connolly. “That was really appealing to me.”
Also appealing—Amazon was adamant that he be involved in the TV project. “With Amazon, it was, hey—you created the character. We don’t want to go down this road without you coming along,” Connolly says.
Connolly’s previous TV experience includes hacker drama Level 9, which aired for a short spell on UPN in 2000. Like many authors, Connolly does not relish pitching his work, and himself, around Hollywood. Having an offer on the table from Amazon eliminated some stress. “It probably saved me an ulcer,” he says.
Overmyer likens the Amazon approach to that of another network where big-name producers tend to bring passion projects. “They acted like HBO—my favorite place to work,” he says. “They don’t give a lot of notes, and the ones they do give are good.”
Connolly is keen to bring a few other fiction franchises to TV. His semi-autobiographical Jack McEvoy series, about a reporter, could work on TV, he says. “I’d love to get something else going,” he says, “possibly with Amazon.” McEvoy’s big book was The Poet; he also appears in a Bosch novel.
Naming his franchise character for the Dutch painter stems back to the author’s college days, when a certain professor would rave about Hieronymus Bosch’s at times violent and always lurid works. “That was all very impressive to my 19-year-old mind,” Connolly says.
While the painter Bosch concocted vivid hellscapes, Bosch the detective is a master of brutal crime scenes.
Season two sees Bosch back on the job after a six-month suspension, and raring to go. “There’s more action to it [than season one],” says Overmyer. “It kind of takes a season to figure it out.”
There’s no word yet about subsequent seasons, but the Bosch braintrust, unlike the character himself, is optimistic. “I’m pretty sure there will be a season three,” says Overmyer. “Unless we tank.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.