Bosch Season 1 Episode 4 Review: “Fugazi”

Bosch

The first twenty five minutes or so of “Fugazi” is pretty standard Bosch fare – which makes for pretty conventional television, with the audience following around Bosch as he expresses disdain for everything, including “winning” his own court case (okay, he lost, but Ms. Flores received $1 from the jury). And with the investigation mostly on the back burner, “Fugazi” is tasked with filling those minutes with something more personal and interesting- and mostly fumbles to do so, stepping from predictable story line to awkward, familiar character beat.

Thankfully, there is some great Jerry Edgar material to help keep things afloat in the early going. Bosch has desperately needed to start filling out Bosch’s sidekick, which “Fugazi” does in broad strokes in the early going, as the two take a mini road trip down to visit Albert’s absent mother. Edgar is a man who understands his limitations and shortcomings as a human; unlike Bosch, he’s at peace with the mistakes he’s made, and realized there are moments in life we just can’t get back. Christine Waters (played by TV vet Mary Page Keller) talking about visiting her kids a year after she left is not just a condemnation of what she did to her children (which the episode lays on real thick, placing the blame of the children’s beatings right at her doorstep), but a window into the life Edgar lives off-duty, when he watches his own children from across the street, and seeks comfort in his suits and dates with women who like flamenco dancing.

Those moments buoy an episode that is dragged down by unnecessary repetition; we get that the case is personal to Bosch, so personal that he’s willing to throw his entire personal life away in pursuit of it. Julie suddenly becomes a more needy character to exacerbate this situation, and “Fugazi” begins to embody its title, for all the wrong reasons. Like Harry’s quasi-win in court: he’s so dissatisfied that he actually won, he complains and threatens an appeal. He wants the world to know he’s right, that he did nothing wrong – which I think brings out an unintended bit of his personality, considering we know he’s lying about the gun found on Flores that night. It suggests a certain arrogance, an arrogance that draws him closer to Raynard Waits than anybody else on the show, two men who think they can delude themselves into some version of the truth, in pursuit of the things they’re passionate about (for Raynard, it’s brutal murder; for Bosch, it’s capturing brutal murderers… it’s a match made in heaven, one might say).

And then the last twenty minutes hit; once Bosch and company go underwater with a news camera, it’s pretty clear things are going to go sideways. And they do, leaving one cop dead, another in surgery, and a D.A. looking at the end of his career – all for a stunt I can’t see actually being pulled off in real life, something so inauthentic it renders the meticulous police work preceding it pretty pointless. If this is how politicians can manipulate cops into being idiots, how effective will this PD ever be? In its attempt to make Los Angeles politics an underlying component of Bosch‘s world, Bosch has delivered us a mostly-invisible group of people so clearly incompetent, we actually believe Bosch when he shakes his head and brushes them off as a bunch of gridlocked idiots only getting in his way, lacking the nuance and characters the conflict requires. Instead, we get exposition via Lance Reddick; and as much as I enjoy that, it’s not the most entertaining material.

Those last twenty minutes aren’t mind-blowing – or even particularly thrilling – but they do kick start Bosch‘s pulse a bit, something the show needed as it headed towards the end of its fourth hour. With Raynard on the loose (and more importantly, Bosch‘s camera following him), Bosch‘s mystery can finally begin to break open, and the show can start to integrate its growing cast of characters into its story (though can we please, please bring some more to Julia and Grace? They’re present, but lacking in personality beyond “seasoned by the world” and “in charge”, respectively). Up to now, it’s mostly been going through the motions – let’s hope the next six episodes put this trend to bed.

[Photo via Amazon]


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