Bosch’s season 7 was released by Amazon Prime this week. The final one. As current as the Covid, it provides meaning to the previous six installments and teases us on where the cultural shift in the U.S. is headed.
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The Sisyphus of Los Angeles
His fans often compare him to Raymond Chandler, but the truth is that Michael Connelly is a much more complete and profound writer. Especially in what in our opinion is his most well-rounded work, Bosch, the TV series that resulted from his collaboration with Eric Overmyer, creator of two of the best products in TV history: Treme and The Wire.
Following in the wake of these two works, in Bosch, Overmyer and Connelly are able to move beyond the novels and bring out what is most potent in the gaze of the original Angeleno detective stories.
In Bosch, social reality, this crime, never comes from a single cause. If mobsters throw a Molotov cocktail at a cheap rental house for Mexican migrants, killing three adults and a girl, the script will not dwell on the fight between mafias, nor on their relationship with global cartels. Gentrification on account of agglomerated, untouchable, legal capital will be present. And so will be its beneficiaries, funds and investors with power over lives and estates, unaccountable and untouchable.
And of course politicians, bureaucrats and their corruption. Not just the obvious, the criminal, not just the one the media may insinuate, but the one that matters, the one that goes with the office, the price of the power game, the sacrifices for the greater good.
That’s why in Bosch’s hell there’s a special corner for two characters: the police chief and the L.A. Times reporter-a character on whom Connelly quietly weighs in because he represents his own past as a crime chronicler. Both represent honest ambition, that is, the impossibility of changing from within a system that is itself the problem from which to escape.
Bosch will chase the culprits only to discover that the justice he seeks neither redresses nor avoids the repetition of the same horror with new faces. He is a Sisyphus who can only discover failure after scratching at every success. And it is that, that pungent aftertaste that remains in his mouth (A feeling I can’t let go), that impotence that goes beyond punishing the perpetrators, that makes him a moral character standing up to say that exceptions are no alternative (Everybody counts or nobody counts).
Bosch, having lost hope in justice being served, dissatisfied with his own goals, wants to get out of his role.
A post-Covid Bosch
Readers of the novels know that on paper, Bosch has long since stopped being a cop. But the novels and the series constitute two worlds that have been diverging.
At screen time, moreover, an unexpected actor appears: the Covid. Connelly and Overmyer don’t need to provide it with any more script than a figurehead. It is enough for it to be there and for us to know that it is going to become a main character. And so, the dialogue ending the season and the series already speaks to us, in reality, about the post-pandemic world.
What are you gonna do, asks Maddie
What am I going to do with my life, you mean? Yeah
Something will come up
A silence falls between the two of them as they step out onto the balcony and lean against the railing. Maddie looks outward, Bosch back toward the house.
I want to help, says Maddie
And with the end credits Creedence Clearwater Revival plays: Long as I can see the light. The lyrics say it all: it’s time to move out, pack up and hit the road.
Not just Bosch
The good fight, funny and often delirious, has mirrored and amplified for the past two seasons the most unfettered propaganda from the Democratic party in its battle against Trump and Trumpism. But the last season ended precipitously at the beginning of the epidemic… so the writers saw fit to devote the first episode of the fifth season to explaining to us what became of some of the main characters who will disappear this year.
From the trailer we can guess that the new season will be mainly about how the corporate culture absorbs BLM and racialism in the power relations within the offices, splitting interests between partners, associates and workers of the firm. But, at the moment, the most interesting aspect lies in the missing characters. And here the parallelism with Bosch is striking to say the least.
Adrian Boseman, hitherto head of the firm is going to Atlanta. He has never been there, but has read a column in the New York Times that has inspired him. He migrates to consolidate positions of real political power. And he declares: I’m starting over.
Luca Quinn also leaves the main course of the story, going to work in London on behalf of the client she serves. Here the reason is different: I get paid what I deserve, she claims-and it’s a spectacular amount. But the important thing is that she”s leaving for a city and a country she doesn’t know and where, she says, being an American is exotic.
Are these just coincidences? Expressions of desire? Or do they reflect a certain post-pandemic mood?
It is certain that nothing will ever be as it was before the pandemic. There is no possible doubt. One need only look at the startup of the Green New Deal on things as basic as housing. The screws are going to keep getting tighter. And many people, mostly workers, are going to be left stranded. The new recovery hints at ways not so different from the old recession for a good portion of US workers. So we are invited to take the initiative, to reinvent ourselves. Another way to hold ourselves accountable for what’s coming.
Not a bad idea for Adrian, who will climb the Democratic apparatus with the racialist surge, nor for Luca who will collect nearly a million euros net per year in London. It may even work for a private detective Bosch, with no mortgages on his house and accumulated savings of years. But what about for the workers? The change that suits them has little or nothing to do with the characters’ personal change. And it doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of receiving Joe Biden’s blessing.