Entertainment Books Michael Connelly: inside the dark mind of the crime writer who created Harry Bosch

Michael Connelly: inside the dark mind of the crime writer who created Harry Bosch

Bosch television series
LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch may be fictional, but his origin story isn't. Photo: SBS
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Successful crime writer Michael Connelly had the perfect launch pad for his career – reporting crime for the Los Angeles Times.

Murders featured prominently in his work and his stories (which can still be found online) reported the deaths of a “church-going couple”, a “hard working catering truck owner”, “a rookie police officer” and a spouse who murdered her two-timing husband.

By night, as a budding author, he would mine what he had seen in his day job to create the troubled and flawed Harry Bosch – one of the most popular fictional detectives of all time.

At his interview for a job at the LA Times, he was asked his opinion on the lead story of the day: thieves tunnelling underneath a Bank of America branch and drilling upward into the bank vault.

That story became the plot outline for his first novel, The Black Echo.

But although the crimes he reported were fertile territory, Connelly was more interested in creating a believable detective – and he had a clear picture of Bosch in his mind as he wrote.

“I write the way I read and I like to create an image when I read in a book that I get into,” Connelly tells The New Daily from Los Angeles.

“I really like to create a head that’s not based on anybody.

“A lot of [Bosch] came from my reporting. A tradition back then, among LAPD detectives, is that they had a moustache. Everyone of them had a moustache so I gave him a moustache.”

The third series of the Amazon series, Bosch launched on SBS on Thursday, 28 September.

Connelly admits that Titus Welliver, the star of the series, looks nothing like the Bosch in his head.

“I think he’s pretty different. He looks like him on the inside. I think that Titus has the ability to project that there’s stuff going on inside, that he’s carrying some baggage, some internal wounds. It pretty much comes through the eyes.”

Connelly wanted Welliver on the basis of his other work – but he couldn’t make casting because he was filming in Hong Kong.

“We couldn’t find the right actor to play Harry Bosch. We auditioned, interviewed, talked to dozens of actors and we were very particular and we were willing to push back and delay the show if we didn’t get the guy.

“Then finally, he wrapped the movie and came in to see us and got the job on the spot.”

Bosch was the first drama made by Amazon (famous for selling books), but they offered a chance to serialise stories whereas the big networks wanted a crime wrapped up every week.

“It was in fairness to the character, Bosch. I wanted to serialise the storytelling because, when you do that, you are digging deeper into character.”

The pilot had to find favour with the audience before proceeding to series.

“I knew I could drive people from the books to the show, so I was like if you make a great show we’ll get the approval from the public that we need and that’s what happened,” Connelly says.

“We put it out there and we got 100,000 reviews, 98,000 of them were five stars.“

A fourth series is currently being filmed.

Bosch is back for Season Three, kicking off with a double episode that premiered on 28 September on SBS

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