Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch, the veteran LAPD homicide detective with the unbending code of ethics and strict sense of justice, is going to have to put a lot more shine on that shoe leather. He's going to be on the beat for quite a while.
"Bosch," Amazon Prime's series starring Titus Welliver as the no-nonsense investigator featured in a series of acclaimed novels by Michael Connelly, has received a green light for a second season, barely a month after its premiere.
The renewal marks a milestone — "Bosch" becomes the first dramatic series to be renewed on Amazon Prime, which, along with digital on-demand video services like Hulu Plus and Netflix, is wading into the highly competitive and crowded world of original programming.
"We're very excited — 'Bosch' is our biggest show of the year," said Roy Price, vice president of Amazon Studios. "This was an easy decision. We got a lot of positive feedback from viewers, and we feel very good about where the show is going creatively."
Although executives declined to release specific viewership figures, they said that "Bosch" broke records with the biggest debut weekend of any original series from Amazon. The series was also in its first four weeks the top-watched title — movie or TV series — on Prime Instant Video, the free service to Amazon members.
Connelly was particularly pleased about the opportunity to expand the "Bosch" project. Although the bestselling novels have a devoted international following, springing Bosch from the page to the screen has been elusive. The author sold the character rights to Paramount Studios in the mid-1990s, but efforts to produce a Bosch-based franchise fell short. Connelly got the rights back in 2012
"Naturally, I'm thrilled," Connelly said after receiving the news. "The first season was very productive, but it was a learning process. We're looking forward to making strides in the second season."
The 10-episode first season, which drew on the Bosch novels "City of Bones," "Echo Park" and "The Concrete Blonde," focused on Bosch's investigation of the murder of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial on charges that Bosch killed a suspected murderer in cold blood.
The second season, which could start streaming in early 2016, will draw primarily from Connelly's novel "Trunk Music." The season will also include elements of "The Last Coyote" and "The Drop."
One of the most satisfying factors about the series' success, Connelly said, is that readers have embraced Welliver as the melancholy detective. The author and others had been concerned about whether the millions of fans who have devoured the Bosch thrillers would accept Welliver, who bears no resemblance physically to the literary version.
"Titus owns the role now," he said. "He captures everything that was near and dear to me about Bosch. I've owned him for 25 years, but now he belongs to Titus."
Welliver, who has appeared in a variety of projects, including "Lost," "Sons of Anarchy," "The Good Wife," "Deadwood" and "Argo," said he was extremely pleased that "Bosch" would return. It's his first leading man role.
"I feel like I've hit the lottery," Welliver said. "It's funny to be in places where people are yelling out to me, 'Hey, Bosch!' Harry is in a constant state of change, so we have a lot more ground to cover."
Though Welliver has worked steadily in film and TV, his off-camera life has not been as smooth. The actor has experienced great loss through the years due to the deaths of several close family members, including three siblings, his stepmother and his first wife, the latter of whom died three years ago following a battle with breast cancer.
Moving forward has armed him with a reservoir of strength, as a man and an artist.
"Having sustained the kind of Faulknerian amount of tragedy, it's about what I do with it," he said. "You face it, and it becomes an integral part of who you are."
Connelly said it was what was behind Welliver's eyes that convinced him that he was the actor who could embody Bosch. He first noticed the actor a few years ago when watching an episode of Fox's short-lived series "Touch," in which Welliver played a man haunted by post-traumatic stress disorder.
Said Connelly: "I thought right on the spot that he'd make a great Bosch. He's got that sense of the haunted and the undaunted."
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