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By Dami Ajayi

Two weeks, and I am three seasons deep

I have been bingeing on Bosch, the police procedural, on Amazon Prime. Two weeks, and I am three seasons deep. No one warned me that marriage meant more TV. But that does not even account for this latest visual indulgence. That Saturday morning, I found this show on my own, sneezing like a siren, joints aching like a voodoo doll; I succumbed to a show that reminded me of my past.

I always had a thing for crime. My favourite genre of films is a hard-boiled detective ethically testing the borders of morality over cape-wearing superheroes. Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese? Those two are my favourite auteurs. Even better if narcotics are involved. I love flamboyant, morally botched characters, but I root for law enforcement officers, especially if they are good at their job and bad at life.

I have been ploughing slowly through a hardback of Cinema Speculation. Reading Tarantino on what films mean to him and how they shaped him has been exhilarating. It is a love letter to cinema, but more importantly, it is his tribute to his film-making heroes. I am not sure how this led me to Bosch, but I suspect that there is a link somewhere.

I read Micheal Connelly’s novels as a teenager. I found them chunky back then; I preferred the novella-sized James Hadley Chase and their catchy titles. Perhaps the appeal of Chase was also that the Private Investigator had more wriggle room and was not mired by paperwork or office bureaucracy. But, still, I indulged when there was no other book in sight. I enjoyed Trunk Music, my introduction to Harry Bosch.

It all began to come back to me watching the pilot episode. Titus Welliver is perfectly cast as Harry Bosch, the moody detective with a troubled past and present. He always seems to be in trouble, or how else do we have a plot? What works is that he approaches with stoicism and self-righteousness that comes on screen as understated activism. Here is a man whose mother, a sex worker, was murdered when he was twelve. This event threw him into the mill grinder of foster care. Abused and troubled, his superpower is his keen observation, an inability to let things go that often solve murders. With thirty-three murders solved in ten years, this record makes him a supercop; his lieutenant cuts him slack. His younger partner, Jerry Edgar (played beautifully by Jamie Hector), reveres him. Maddie, his teenage daughter, is fascinated by his work.

It does not help my fate that Bosch is a jazz aficionado, the vinyl-loving kind that slips in solid insights between police work. The theme song, Caught A Ghost’s Can’t Let It Go, features a charming sax solo. I don’t see myself in Harry Bosch, but he is a guy that I may know, a guy I identify with. A partnered cop, a soloist in his mission. He may be a fantastic cop solving contemporaneous murders, but his mother’s unsolved murder hangs on his head, an albatross of sorts.

It is a fascinating take on the anti-hero protagonist, a major triumph for television. I understand Connelly adapted several of his books into each season. Bosch ties together a string of seemingly unrelated crimes as the season unspools. Police are not cast in sanctimonious glory. There are bad cops, in service and retired, thrown across the ranks, and there are good cops, guys like Bosch and his LAPD Hollywood precinct, middle-grade guys but also lifers in the sense that they do not want to rise to the upper echelon of politics. They are good guys who sanitise our societies. They are glamourised to a certain degree, but dignity is also assigned to the tedious but necessary paperwork.

I am going into Season Four. I will reserve my parting shot on Nigerian Police and Nollywood for another day.

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