Los Angeles Plays Itself in Michael Connelly’s Bosch

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LAPD robbery-homicide detective Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch has been fighting the good fight on the streets of Los Angeles for 20 years — in the pages of Michael Connelly’s bestselling mystery novels.

Now he’s coming alive, played by Titus Welliver (left), in an Amazon TV production to stream next year. And so is the LA that he inhabits.

Titus Welliver portrays Harry Bosch

LAPD robbery-homicide detective Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch has been fighting the good fight on the streets of Los Angeles for 20 years — in the pages of Michael Connelly’s bestselling mystery novels.

Now he’s coming alive, played by Titus Welliver, in an Amazon TV production to stream next year. And so is the LA that he inhabits.

LA As Character

Michael Connelly, left; Rick Jackson, right
Michael Connelly, left; Rick Jackson, right.

For the author the making of Bosch has been a dramatic personal transition; after 20 years writing in solitude, now he’s working with a team of 100 to bring his fictional character to the screen.

DnA met him at Stage 5 of Red Studios in Hollywood where production designer Chester Kaczenski and colleagues have created a replica of the LAPD’s Hollywood bureau.

The recreation is so precise, complete with chipped stairs and ancient sticky tape on doors, that former homicide detective Rick Jackson says he almost mistook the fake restrooms for real.

Not all the action happens in studio however. One of the attractions of Michael Connelly’s writing is his characterization of LA or rather, his depiction of LA as character. It turns out that when Connelly made the deal with Amazon, he made it clear, the series had to be shot in Los Angeles.

Listen up to this interview with Michael Connelly, with commentary from Rick Jackson, and find out about the locations in LA that play significant roles in his stories, including Bosch’s cliffhanging house, Echo Park, the tunnels that spill into the LA river, the newly prettified Atwater Village and Mariachi Plaza, the scene of a crime in his latest book, The Burning Room, to be published next month.

door with sticky tape
The LAPD’s Hollywood Bureau has been recreated, complete with old sticky tape on the doors.

Los Angeles Has Role in Other TV Series

As it happens Bosch is not the only series that is not just being shot in LA, but is distinctly of LA.

Another is Robert Rodriguez’ highly entertaining Matador, located largely in East LA, aired on Rodriguez’ El Rey Channel (RIP Elizabeth Peña, who played Tony Bravo’s mom in the series).

Then there’s Transparent, about a transgender parent and her perplexed family. The series was created by Jill Soloway with production design by Catherine Smith. Smith talked to DnA about the houses she chose and what they reveal about the characters.

And the LA Times reported this week that location shooting in LA has shot up, by 31% in the third quarter.

Bosch is cited as one of the contributors to the increase.

A cop/actor stands by a recreation of the Hollywood bureau's shoe shine stand.
A cop/actor stands by a recreation of the Hollywood bureau’s shoe shine stand.