'He's an empty nester now, it's just him and his dog, Coltrane,' Welliver tells Metacritic about where the 'Bosch' spin-off finds his character.
When Titus Welliver first heard about a potential Bosch spin-off, he assumed it would be a prequel series, in which audiences would meet a younger version of his character. After playing the homicide detective for seven seasons on the Amazon Prime Video series, he figured that would give people a chance to see a new side of the man whose traumatic and storied past has certainly been referenced over the years.
So, when writer and producer Michael Connelly, who first popularized Bosch in the Harry Bosch book series, explained to Welliver the concept of Bosch: Legacy, Welliver was thrilled to step back into this world.
"I always feel like the universe of Bosch is so expansive with all these characters. You've got the DC and the Marvel Universes, why not have the Bosch universe? There's enough rich material and characters to go off," Welliver tells Metacritic.
In Bosch: Legacy, the story picks up following the titular character's decision to leave the LAPD and make it on his own as a private investigator. His former enemy-turned-ally, Honey Chandler (Mimi Rogers), and his newly minted LAPD rookie daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) join him from the original series. The show debuts on Amazon Freevee May 6, and has already been renewed for a second season.
Here, Welliver speaks with Metacritic about the character's lasting appeal, how this new series is more of a family affair, and whether there's room for more of the original show's characters to surface in this continuation.
What do you still find compelling about Harry Bosch after playing him for seven years?
I have a deep affection for the character because I share that thing that the fan base of the books and the show have, which is [that] this is a guy who has a really flawless moral compass. He's an antihero and he's accessible because he's human. He's flawed and is kind of broken and haunted. But at the end of the day he's an extremely resilient and strong man who is in the service of doing right. He seeks to obtain justice for victims who can't speak for themselves anymore. That's a tremendous quality in a human being.
I also like that he's kind of edgy and that he doesn't subscribe to the societal norms of politeness and protocol. When somebody is wrong he calls him out on it. And when he gets called out, particularly by his daughter, he owns it.
How does that evolve with this new series?
He doesn't really evolve in the sense that a lot of characters tend to evolve in episodic television. He evolves in circumstances, but he's still the same guy. In Bosch: Legacy he's the same Harry, he's just in different circumstances. He's now untethered, and on his own and kind of lost to a certain degree, finding his way.
How does being a private investigator help or hinder him?
Harry needs to be in the service of someone in order to feel useful as a human being because it's what he's done his entire life. That was birthed from the loss — the murder — of his mother, whose case was left because she was part of a marginalized part of society, being a prostitute. That has been the driving force of Harry Bosch forever. He has to be in service. Suddenly, now having made this choice to leave the department, he has no master. He is a masterless samurai and is kind of freelancing in life and seeking some sense of purpose. Ultimately he obtains that, but in the process of obtaining that and pursuing that, he once again comes up against really nefarious, dangerous people.
What are his motivations in working with Whitney Vance (William Devane) this season? It appears the financial gain may also be appealing?
Well, there's that part of it. He's suspicious at first anyway because it's not like he's a private eye who's had many years of experience. So suddenly, he's thrust into this thing that represents billions and billions of dollars. He thinks it's going to be a quick job, he'll get his fee and be done with it. But as he digs deeper as with all cases, he gets sucked into the emotional aspect of it. He understands, having grown up without a father, and has this odd kinship with Vance and understands his pain.
How does rebranding the series allow for a deeper relationship between Bosch and Maddie?
The relationship has evolved in a way that they've come to a kind of understanding. We've watched Maddie grow up with Harry, and now Harry has a better understanding of being a father. But he realizes the way he was fathering her before will no longer necessarily be helpful to her. She will forever be his child, but she's a woman now. And she's a cop now. So there's a pride, and there's a terror simultaneously that occurs. He also knows she's going to be heavily stigmatized by the fact that she's his daughter. He's cast this long shadow as being this great detective with a reputation of being a closer, but he's pissed off and alienated a lot of people in the department. His daughter is going to have to navigate that.
You have to imagine he has a lot of sleepless nights. He's an empty nester now, it's just him and his dog, Coltrane. He missed many years developmentally with his daughter so he's juggling a lot of emotions at the same time.
In this extended world, aside from the series regulars, is there room for any of the characters from the original show to appear?
Oh, absolutely. We don't want to do anything that's contrived and bring those characters back in just to do it. We want to do it so when they show up, there's a joyous moment for the fans. But it has to have some substance so it doesn't feel contrived. We're very, very conscious of that.
Get to know Titus Welliver:
Welliver has been a television staple since the early 1990s, appearing on previous cop procedurals NYPD Blue (Metascore: 83) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (66) — to name a few — as well as other dramas that range from Deadwood (85), to Lost (84), The Good Wife (81) and Sons of Anarchy (75).