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The Show: Seven and a half years have elapsed between the release of the fourth and fifth seasons of one of TV's foremost cop dramas on Region 1 DVD. Amazon Studios says “Bosch” is a hit, and so it’s renewed the drama series for a second season. Premiering its first season on February 13, the hour-long drama starring Titus Welliver (“Lost) achieved the biggest debut weekend among all Amazon original series, and was the most-watched title on Prime Instant Video across both movies and TV series in its first four weeks, according to Amazon. The series, based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling detective novels, “Bosch” follows Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective on the trail of a 13-year-old’s killer. In the second season, which will draw from Connelly’s books “Trunk Music” and “The Drop,”  Bosch will investigate the murder of a Hollywood producer who laundered money for the mob, while also continuing to pursue serial killer Chilton Hardy. The series is executive produced by Connelly, Eric Overmyer (“The Wire”), Henrik Bastin of Red Arrow’s Fabrik Entertainment (“The Killing”), and Pieter Jan Brugge (“Heat”).
Alongside Welliver, the cast includes Jamie Hector (“The Wire”), Amy Aquino (“Being Human”), Lance Reddick (“Fringe”), and Sarah Clarke (“24”). Factory, doing what they do best, has picked up David Milch and Steven Bochco's neglected NYPD Blue series and is finishing the job Fox never bothered to attempt. The season five opener swiftly wraps up these loose ends, with Sipowicz getting exonerated and Simone returning to the force by the second episode. The rest of the season delivers another solid batch of episodic interrogation-focused procedurals, with only a few multi-episode plotlines.
The main season-long arcs for our main characters deal with Sipowicz's reluctance to see a doctor about his increasing health problems and Simone's developing relationship with Detective Diane Russell (Kim Delaney), including Simone's uncertainty about getting married again. Both of these arcs play out gradually throughout this twenty-two episode run, eventually putting Sipowicz and Simone in satisfying new emotional places by the season finale, giving this season a far less gimmicky closer than the year before.

This falls in line with the approach the producers took with the rest of the show this season, relying less on the attention-grabbing sex and cursing that made the show's name and putting the focus on consistently compelling cases that sometimes dovetail with interesting character moments from the detective squad.In fact, this season seems to constantly return to the universal theme of parenthood, looking at what it means to be a good or bad parent and the paradigm shift that comes with being a new parent. Detective Russell realizes she is pregnant with Simone's baby, which seems to force Simone's hand toward tying the knot and allows Russell to have an additional connection with the squad's other female detective Jill Kirkendall (Andrea Thompson), who is a mother of two. Detective James Martinez (Nicholas Turturro) impregnates the squad's Principal Administrative Assistant (PAA) Gina Colon (Lourdes Benedicto) but he wants to do right by Gina so he marries her, which both sets an example for Simone and Russell to emulate and allows the producers to write Gina's character out of the series. Harm done to children by their parents is also a big topic for the show, with the Emmy Award-winning two-parter "Lost Israel" being a key example.
Sprawling out over nearly two full hours (without commercials), "Lost Israel" is arduous but rewarding viewing that stands out for going beyond the typical formula of 2 cases wrapped by the end of every hour. NYPD Blue's showrunner David Milch has said that "Lost Israel" was a very personal story that helped him confront some issues surrounding his own abuse as a kid. The two-parter also seems to have been a feat that re-energized the writing staff, because the second half of the season has much more consistency than some of the episodes in the early going. Apart from the top-notch writing, this fifth season benefits from the continued excellence of the acting ensemble. Whether they're strong-arming suspects, joking around in the squad room, or revealing their vulnerability in private moments, the co-leads never hit a false note. It's also nice to see Kim Delaney and Andrea Thompson's characters get a chance to grow their camaraderie, as these are some of the nicest moments these actresses have during the season. Gordon Clapp and Nicholas Turturro end up looking the worst this year, with their characters, Medavoy and Martinez, often stuck in stilted conversations or offbeat B-stories that are meant to add levity but don't give their characters much room to grow. It's a little puzzling that Clapp won his only Best Supporting Actor Emmy for playing Medavoy this season, since apart from a surprisingly effective interrogation by Medavoy in the late-season episode "Seminal Thinking," his character seems unfocused.

Without the ability to play Medavoy off of his love interest from prior seasons, PAA Donna Abandando (Gail O'Grady), the writers don't seem to know what to do with him. It's unsurprising that near the end of the season, they give him a Donna look-alike to pursue romantically.The writers also seem a little uncertain about what to do with Donna's PAA desk either. After writing out Gina Colon, they bring in Southern-girl-with-a-secret Naomi Reynolds (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick). After a little stretch, Naomi ends up getting ditched in favor of would-be ballerina Dolores Mayo (Lola Glaudini).
I stopped watching the show's initial run before season 6, but the internet tells me that Dolores does not stick with the squad through the rest of that next season.In addition to the regular cast, Sharon Lawrence, who plays Sipowicz's wife Sylvia, takes on a reduced recurring role. There are also a handful of noteworthy guest appearances this season by Anthony Anderson, rapper Mos Def, Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito, Terrence Howard, Justified's Walton Goggins, and Titus Welliver from Lost and The Good Wife.A rundown of episode titles and synopses can be found here on Wikipedia. I watched a few episodes from older seasons on Amazon Prime to refresh myself with the show, and the look here is comparable. Buoyed by the signature percussive music of Mike Post and Ian Dye, the audio track offers a nice sonic range that creates a good atmosphere, in addition to presenting the copious amounts of dialogue cleanly. This was probably the last season of the show I watched during its original airing, so I'm a little curious to see what's in store. On its own terms, Season 5 demonstrates that the show could transcend its signature gimmicks and still hold TV viewers' rapt attention.

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