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Michael Connelly says goodbye, and hello, to ‘Bosch’

The bestselling writer sees one TV series based on his books end as two more get underway. He has a new true crime podcast and even an upcoming novel.
Author Michael Connelly, right, and Titus Welliver, who stars in the Amazon Prime series "Bosch" as the title character, will both be involved in a new spinoff series about the Los Angeles detective.
Author Michael Connelly, right, and Titus Welliver, who stars in the Amazon Prime series "Bosch" as the title character, will both be involved in a new spinoff series about the Los Angeles detective. [ GENARO MOLINA | Los Angeles Times ]
Published Jun. 8
Updated Jun. 8

The seventh and final season of Bosch, Amazon’s hit series about a tough but righteous Los Angeles police detective, drops June 25.

Harry Bosch’s creator, bestselling author Michael Connelly, won’t have time to miss him.

About midway through filming the last season, Connelly, an executive producer and writer for the series, got the good news: Amazon had greenlighted a spinoff series about Bosch’s life after leaving the LAPD (the first spinoff from an Amazon original series).

“We’re going to start filming it two days before Season 7 (of Bosch) comes out,” the author says. The show will air on Amazon’s free streaming service, IMDb.TV, and Titus Welliver will continue to star as Bosch.

That’s just one of a head-spinning number of projects Connelly is involved in. A part-time Tampa resident, he’s spent most of the last 14 months at his home in Los Angeles. But it’s been a productive time for him.

He talked to the Tampa Bay Times via Zoom about both Bosch shows, an upcoming Netflix series based on his Lincoln Lawyer books, a new true-crime podcast, a possible movie and, oh yes, his next novel. The Dark Hours, due to be published in November, will be his 36th, with more than 80 million copies of his books sold worldwide.

First let’s talk about the final season of Bosch. The fans I hear from are excited about it, and sad as well that it’s ending. How do you feel after having been very hands-on for seven seasons of a show about a character you’ve written 22 books about?

I think each year we raised the bar and tried to do something better than the year before, and we’ve done that.

It was fun to do but also bittersweet because it’s the end of this first show, and while we were making most of it we didn’t know there would be a spinoff.

It’s like writing a book. When you’re writing toward an ending, you can put in a lot of character stuff.

Harry pursues things in his own way. It’s that code he has: Everybody counts or nobody counts. We take an eight-episode deep dive into what that means to him. It’s hard to talk about without spoilers, but we find out a lot about him as he makes some choices.

I’m really happy about how things went with Jerry Edgar (played by Jamie Hector). Edgar kind of bottomed out last season. He fights his way back this season, and there’s a lot of redemption for him. When Harry needs someone to stand up for him, Edgar is there. It’s a great end to the arc of his character as well.

I could just go down the whole list and talk about all of them. We were writing toward an end with these characters.

Titus Welliver, left, stars as the title character and Jamie Hector plays Jerry Edgar in Season 7 of "Bosch."
Titus Welliver, left, stars as the title character and Jamie Hector plays Jerry Edgar in Season 7 of "Bosch." [ HOPPER STONE; SMPSP | Hopper Stone / Amazon Studios ]

Let’s talk about the beginning of the new show. Three main characters will carry over from the first series: Titus Welliver as Bosch, Madison Lintz as Bosch’s daughter, Maddie, and Mimi Rogers as his sometime nemesis, defense attorney Honey “Money” Chandler. Does the show have a title?

Not yet. We have scripts, but no title. We’re calling it Untitled Bosch Spinoff: UBS.

Amazon has been involved, and I’m pretty sure we’ll have a title soon. We’ve thrown around all kinds of stuff. The one that comes up is Bosch PI. That says what it’s about, but we’ll see if that sticks.

(In terms of producers, writers and directors), it’s basically the same machine that’s made seven seasons of Bosch.

Each season of Bosch had a plot arc drawn from one or two of your books. Will UBS be based on the books about Harry’s post-LAPD career, and which one will we see shape the first season?

It’s The Wrong Side of Goodbye (published in 2016). It’s one of my favorites, so I’m really glad we chose that. We also have some leftover stuff and characters from Season 7, a little bit of unfinished business.

We’ll jump forward 18 months. The last season (of Bosch) starts Jan. 1 of 2020. That was pre-COVID, pre-George Floyd. There were a lot of changes in the LAPD. Now we’re jumping forward 18 months, not post any of that but on the other side of that. So we’re able to bring all that into the storytelling.

So you’ll be filming pretty much in real time?

Yeah, it’ll start in July. We’ll be filming it while we’re in July, so if something dramatic happens in the world we’ll be able deal with it.

Will any of the other characters from Bosch show up in the spinoff?

We hope we’ll have like cameos and stuff. Nothing I can tell you that’s rock-solid but I’d hate to do a show and not have Crate and Barrel show up.

You’ve done two podcasts about true crime in your Murder Book series. Tell us about your new podcast for Audible, The Wonderland Murders and the Secret History of Hollywood, which drops July 1, the 40th anniversary of the 1981 murders of four people in a Laurel Canyon house.

It’s a case that’s very iconic in L.A., but no full answers were ever had. It’s been interesting going back and reaching out to the original investigators, the original witnesses.

The story has been told so many times; there was even a Val Kilmer movie (Wonderland, 2003).

But it’s never been told in full. What we found out was that standard parts of the story were not true or were not told completely. It’s definitely got my journalistic juices flowing as I report and record the podcast.

Our main character is this witness that was Liberace’s lover (Scott Thorson). He wrote a book about that time, and it became an HBO movie (Behind the Candelabra, 2013).

You’re also involved with another TV series, this one a Netflix series based on your novels about L.A. defense attorney Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half-brother. How’s The Lincoln Lawyer going?

Great. We’re well into that. I’m really happy with it. The first season is based on the second Haller book, The Brass Verdict.

There are 10 episodes, and we’re about halfway through filming. We’ve done six episodes. I’ve seen cuts of the first three episodes, and I really love them.

When will we see it?

I don’t know, but I hope sooner rather than later.

Harry and Mickey appear together in a number of your books. Will that happen on screen?

They’ll never get to meet because they’re at competing studios. It’s interesting that I work for Amazon and I work for Netflix. It’s not pulling me apart, but these characters aren’t ever going to meet.

Tell me about The Dark Hours.

30 minutes into this and now we hit the books. That’s how I see my life right now.

I remember you telling me in another interview that you didn’t plan to be as hands-on with The Lincoln Lawyer as you’ve been with Bosch.

I’m not as hands-on as I am on Bosch. I do happen to be writing a script for it right now.

How do you keep all of these different projects straight?

It’s all about scheduling, and they all require a certain level of creativity. That’s what I’m finding difficult. You can’t just turn it on and off.

For a good part of this year I’d spend a good part of the morning on Zoom in the Bosch writers room, then in the afternoon I’d be in the Lincoln Lawyer writers room, and in between I’d be working on a novel or a podcast. That’s the difficult part, changing projects and maintaining creativity.

Sometimes it’s just not there, and you don’t have a lot of time to wait for it to bubble to the surface.

Can you keep all the different plots and characters sorted?

I can keep plots in mind. In the writers room on both TV shows we have assistants in the room, and they’re probably tired of me asking them what they think are stupid questions, like who is that character or what’s their first name, little basic stuff I apparently don’t have the capacity to keep as I move from one thing to another. But it’s there; it always comes back.

Back to The Dark Hours. Is this a Renée Ballard book?

I’m not done with that either. I’m very close. A couple weeks.

It’s Ballard and Bosch, but mostly Ballard. Bosch doesn’t even come into it until about 60 pages in.

I had this idea that Ballard would need his guidance and mentorship, but he would never leave his house. The only time she sees him is when she goes to his house. But I couldn’t do it. I ended up having him leave and get out on the streets and get in on some of the action.

Does Harry stay home because of the pandemic?

This one starts on Jan. 1 of this year, so it’s on the cusp or the eve of big-time vaccinations happening. The LAPD would have not been vaccinated by that date, so it’s about Ballard waiting to get it. I wrote in that Ballard had (the coronavirus), back in November.

I actually have a scene where (Harry) gets vaccinated. It’s in there now; who knows if it will stay?

Will Ballard ever show up on the Bosch TV spinoff?

I made that offer to Amazon and that’s like a “we’ll see.” The offer was we could drop her in toward the end of the season to establish her and then see what happens

He kind of needs an insider. The first season he doesn’t need that. We’re really trying to establish he’s in a different world, so he’s not going to be doing the Rockford thing and calling the lieutenant every time he needs a license plate run.

Amazon has always wanted to be accurate to the books, and she’s become a big part of Bosch’s circle.

Will you get back to Tampa sometime soon?

I think it’s got to happen, but I’ve been so busy. Basically June is the end of my busy-ness, so maybe that’s when I get back to Florida.

Do you ever feel nostalgic about the days when you just wrote books?

I hope that’s what I’m going to return to in a year. I turn 65 in July, so that’s when I’ll turn toward just writing books, at a leisurely pace.

There are so many good people involved in these (TV) projects. That’s what I’ve learned, is that you can trust the people to take care of your projects. So many good people in the TV world, so many good writers and producers and directors.

Anything else you’re doing I haven’t asked about?

Well, I wrote a script based on Fair Warning (one of two novels he published in 2020). I turned that in and now I’m kind of waiting. I’ll do a rewrite based on producer’s notes.

I have a lot of irons in the fire, but it’ll be a while before anything comes out.

Watch

The seventh and last season of Bosch drops June 25 on Amazon Prime Video.