Michael Connelly Explains How Amazon Studios' 'Bosch' Stays True to the Novels

Titus Welliver stars as Harry Bosch in the 10-episode series, which premieres Friday, Feb. 13 on Amazon Prime.
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

After more than 20 years on the page, LAPD police detective Harry Bosch is making the jump to TV screens in the newest original series from Amazon Studios. 

Bosch, the first hour-long drama from Amazon, premieres Friday, Feb. 13 with all 10 episodes of the first season available through subscription streamer Amazon Prime. Titus Welliver stars at the title character, a brooding detective who is chasing the murderer of a 13-year-old boy while simultaneously standing trial for shooting a suspected killer. 

"He's not some fabricated, purely heroic guy who rides around in a Ferrari and wears Brioni suits," explains Welliver. "He's very accessible and he's flawed, which makes him extremely human. That's what people like about the character. He has a strong moral compass, but he's a character of action." 

Welliver was one of the first actors that author Michael Connelly suggested to play Harry Bosch, but scheduling meant that he was the last to audition for the role. "We all looked at each other and said, 'this is the guy,'" says executive producer Eric Overmyer (The Wire). 

Finding the right Harry was key for the series. Connelly has written more than 20 books about the character, which have collectively sold more than 50 million copies. But adapting the terse, introspective character for the screen was also one of the biggest challenges, explains Overmyer. "He keeps to himself in the books," he adds. "We had to verbalize some of the interior dialog for Harry. He's a little more verbal in the show than in the books." 

Despite the changes, Connelly says the essence of the character has been preserved. "In all the books I would, by design, get Harry Bosch on the back porch of his house where he has a view of the city, and he contemplates the city," he says. "There is a moment in the pilot where he goes out there and looks and you can kind of feel what he's thinking." 

Connelly has been trying to adapt the Harry Bosch books for the screen since the 1990s, when he sold the rights to Paramount. When those rights reverted back to him a few years ago, he approached Treme co-creator Overmyer about producing a series for TV. "When we met for the first time, we made an agreement that the show, if there's a hallmark of the books, it's accuracy," he says. "Eric comes from shows where they put a great price on accuracy, and that's really why we wanted to work with him."

Another requirement of Connelly's was that the series film in Los Angeles, which plays an important scene-setting role in his books. As a result, much of the series shows little-portrayed parts of the city, including eastside neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights and Echo Park. "We had this goal that we wouldn't go west of Hollywood," Connelly says. "We didn't hit it quite 100 percent, but we were close." 

Adds Welliver: "Los Angeles is a character, but when you're watching the series, you don't feel like it's contrived." 

That Bosch is streaming on Amazon.com — best-known for its wide selection of books — is not lost on the show's producers. "It made perfect sense for Michael's show to go to Amazon," says Overmyer. "They sold a ton of his books. You know that word synergy? Maybe it actually exists." 

Bosch is executive produced by Connelly, Overmyer and Henrik Bastin