I've read every single "Harry Bosch" novel by Michael Connelly, and I've met him several times at book signings back when he and I both lived in Los Angeles, and he would always stop by the Mysterious Bookstore on the west side. Connelly used to be a crime reporter with the L.A. Times, and it shows in his novels, which are chock full of police procedural details.
A year ago, when Amazon unveiled its second slate of potential TV shows for viewer responses, I eagerly watched the "Bosch" pilot starring Titus Welliver (the Man in Black in "Lost") in the title role. I wouldn't have thought of Welliver as Bosch, but the trailer clips that I saw sold me almost instantly.
The pilot episode introduced the central mystery: a boy's skeleton gets unearthed on top of a hill, and there are multiple signs of repeated physical trauma. Who killed him, when, and why? It also starts the B-story, a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the widow of a man whom Bosch killed on duty. Bosch believed the man, a suspect in a string of murders, was drawing a weapon. The lawsuit is being pursued by a lawyer known as Honey "Money" Chandler, who has made a living suing the LAPD.
I gave the pilot 5 stars and wrote a short but very positive review, and I was glad when it was picked up for a full season of 10 episodes. It must have helped subconsciously that were a few connections to "24" with Amy Price-Francis (a terrorist in season 7) playing Money Chandler, and Annie Wersching (Agent Renee Walker in seasons 7 and 8) playing a rookie police officer. Not to mention Lance Reddick, whose striking looks and distinctive voice play well in just about anything he shows up in (including, I should add, Keanu Reeves' revenge flick John Wick, which I watched over the weekend).
A year later, the full season was made available in late February. The pilot episode had been reworked a little, with Mimi Rogers replacing Price-Francis; and with the case starting in the middle of the trial, as opposed to pre-trial motions in the earlier version.
If you've read the books and liked them, you'll probably like the series. If you've never read the books but end up liking the series, then I think you'll like the books. It's a pretty good translation of the books on to screen. I say books, because it draws from three novels: "City of Bones," "Echo Park," and "The Concrete Blonde."
Of course, one of the complications for me as a viewer was the fact that I had read all three source novels, so I had a pretty good idea where things were going. Connelly (who's one of the executive producers) was obviously aware of this, given that this is a show on Amazon, which started as a giant online bookstore. There are some significant deviations from the books, so while some general outline of the plot is predictable if you've read the books, you won't know everything that's coming down the pike.
The casting is really good. Reddick plays Deputy Chief Irvin Irving, a longtime frenemy of Bosch's. I'm pretty sure that Irving is a white guy in the novels, because there's one book in which that is a plot point, but Reddick absolutely nails the hardass character, and that one plot point isn't relevant to the storyline here (and no doubt can be done away with when the producers get around to mining that particular novel).
Welliver perfectly captures Bosch's avenging angel attitude. There are times when Bosch does some stupid things, like going into places without backup. Often when that happens in movies or TV shows, it's due to lazy writing to manufacture tension. Here, it's one of Bosch's character flaws, and sometimes it comes back to bite him in the butt.
If I were to nitpick something, it would be that in a city with as large of an Asian population as Los Angeles has, there sure don't seem to be very many in the L.A. depicted on the show. It's mostly a black and white cast, which means that even more incongruous than the lack of Asians is the relative absence of Latinos. Otherwise, think of it as a long mini-series. Two or three episodes a night works out perfectly.