They call Bosch: Legacy a spinoff, but is it? Frasier was a spinoff of Cheers, but Frasier Crane was not a central character to the original show. That honor went to Sam and Diane (and later, Rebecca), with Carla being that sitcom’s Fonzie. You knew Frazier from Cheers, but his show most definitely wasn’t Cheers. One could point at Star Trek, with its endless spin-offs and reboots, but it became clear by the early 1990s that there was a lot more story to Roddenberry’s imagined universe, so… Bad example.
Bosch: Legacy is not a spinoff of Bosch. Titus Welliver’s titular character is still the main focus. The cops of Hollywood Division have been swapped out for Maddie Bosch and Honey Chandler. And Bosch’s world has gotten smaller. He’s a private detective more in the mold of Australia’s Jack Irish (and believe me, Guy Pearce’s shabby lawyer-turned-debt-collector is worth a subscription to AcornTV) than, say, Spenser. This is not a spinoff. It’s a continuation.
And if you need anymore proof, look no further than the debut episode. Honey Chandler has not left the home where she was shot. Unfortunately, the man who brokered her failed murder goes free. Yes, we now know at least one plot thread for this latest iteration of Michael Connelly’s driven detective. For Bosch, it’s still “the mission.” Those words haven’t turned up in either series, but, in introspective moments in the books, Bosch repeats that phrase in his internal monologue over and over. And his mission is cold cases. Working for Honey and some of her colleagues, as well as taking the odd case himself, is how he pays the bills in the meantime.
But the name Bosch is not gone from the LAPD. His daughter Madeliene, whom we met as a precocious teenager in the first series, is now a rookie LA cop, or trying to be. Her partners are rough on her. She trips up. No one cares that her father was a rock star homicide detective. She’s a rookie. Daddy’s rep might have gotten her into the academy, but she’s going to have to earn that badge on her own.
Meanwhile, Harry’s going to need that Honey Chandler money (No pun intended) as he may lose his home. Not through poverty or back taxes or anything like that. Harry lives on a hill in LA overlooking a canyon. And what does LA have that where you live probably doesn’t?
Earthquakes. Harry’s house does not fare well in earthquakes. And the city has red-tagged it. He may or may not have let his earthquake insurance lapse. Um… Yeah, I’m finding that out by my sewer line at the moment. Ironically, things like that come out to only a few bucks a month, but isn’t it amazing what we do to save those few bucks?
While Bosch: Legacy is not Bosch, it is a continuation rather than a true spinoff. Harry is still the eye of the storm that is LA crime. Honey and Maddie play bigger roles, as will a few new characters. But the banter of Crate and Barrell, the struggles of J. Edgar, and the tightrope Chief Irving are all gone. The station house and Amy Aquino’s motherly friendship are also gone. Maybe they’ll return, but they won’t be as central to the story as they were when Harry was Detective Bosch and not private citizen Bosch.
And perhaps that’s a good thing. Even Connelly, who’s written this character since the 1990s, had to shake things up, even come up with a new central character in recent years. On television, we follow the personalities. There’s a reason I was thrilled that Lance Reddick turned up as The Wire‘s Daniels with a much darker side, that Sonja Sohn is Burnham’s real mother on Star Trek: Discovery, that Clarke Peters turned up turned up in a Marvel series on Netflix (which apparently are now canon. Thanks, Disney!) Bosch, even in its current form, is everything we wanted from The Wire.
Now if we can just get Idris Elba to show up, even in a cameo.