Michael Connelly talks TV, and books

His new novel about Harry Bosch is “Desert Star,” and three TV series based on his writing are in production.
Madison Lintz, left, plays Maddie Bosch and Titus Welliver plays her father, Harry Bosch, in "Bosch: Legacy."
Madison Lintz, left, plays Maddie Bosch and Titus Welliver plays her father, Harry Bosch, in "Bosch: Legacy." [ TYLER GOLDEN | Tyler Golden/IMDb TV ]
Published Nov. 11, 2022

With his 27th novel, “Desert Star,” hitting shelves last week, Michael Connelly talked to the Tampa Bay Times via Zoom about the book, about the two hit streaming series based on his books and about a new network series based on a short story he wrote. Connelly, whose books have sold more than 80 million copies, lives in Los Angeles and Tampa.

The interview has been edited for length.

Is production underway for “Avalon,” the upcoming ABC series based on one of your short stories?

No, it’s for a network. It’s a whole different schedule and sensibility. We took about 15 days and shot the pilot, and now it’s being tested on audiences, stuff that Netflix and Amazon never did.

Then it won’t go back into production until January. It’s geared for September ‘23.

The star of “Avalon,” Neve Campbell, also plays a main role in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” doesn’t she?

Yeah, she’s doing double duty. We’re shooting the second season of “The Lincoln Lawyer” now. We just started (Nov. 1).

She’s really good. As good as she is in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” she’s really good as a detective in “Avalon.”

(The character) comes out of my portfolio of characters, male or female, that are resilient and relentless. She’s assigned to a post on an island that’s basically a tourist destination, the kind of assignment for people who have crossed the powers that be politically.

They call it freeway therapy, where they give you a job where you’re stuck in traffic an hour each way. This is freeway therapy extrapolated to the nth degree because you have to take a boat to go to work.

How did the first season of “The Lincoln Lawyer” on Netflix go?

It was a pretty big hit. They said that 30 million accounts watched the whole show, all 10 episodes, in the first 28 days after it was released.

That’s accounts. They tell you accounts are shared, so you can probably double that — 60 million people.

It was their biggest debut in a few years. They told us, we won’t make a decision (about a second season) until we have 28 days of data, but like a week after it came out they said, let’s do a second season.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo seems to really resonate with viewers as Mickey Haller, the title character.

We got lucky. There are a lot of corollaries to Titus (Welliver, who has played Harry Bosch in two series).

Manuel’s had the lead in Mexican movies and shows, but he wanted to break into the market up here. He actually came to the writing room to spend time with us. He wants to do all he can do. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

Which of your books is this season of “The Lincoln Lawyer” based on?

The main book this season is “The Fifth Witness.” It needed updating. It really came out of the mortgage and housing crash of 2010-11. We changed to a theme about gentrification. (Mickey’s) client is a chef, not a schoolteacher.

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What’s the production schedule for the second season of “Bosch Legacy”? (The show is on Amazon Freevee.)

We’re moving along on that. We start shooting the ninth of 10 episodes on (Nov. 7). There’s a slight overlap (with “The Lincoln Lawyer”).

It’s mainly based on “The Crossing.” Titus and I just wrote the ninth episode. It’s the second year in a row Titus and I have written an episode together.

The emotional through line of this season is Maddie. We ended last season with a huge cliffhanger, and we take care of that pretty quickly, but there’s still trauma to deal with, and her making her way.

Are there drop dates for “The Lincoln Lawyer” or “Bosch: Legacy”?

Not yet. Sometime in 2023.

Let’s talk about “Desert Star.”

I’m still a book writer. Always remember that.

This one was pretty emotional. It’s dealing with some stuff Harry should be dealing with, mortality, regrets.

Someone told me the deepest regrets are for things you didn’t do. There’s something he left on the table, and he gets to go back to it.

It’s more a Bosch book, but it’s Ballard too — she’s trying to solve a mystery about Harry.

He ends up in Florida in this one, in Key West. I went there right before the pandemic. Hadn’t been there in years, possibly since my honeymoon. But I knew I wanted to set something there.

What’s the next book?

It’s set up in “Desert Star.” It’s a Mickey Haller book, with a big part in it for Harry Bosch (Haller’s half brother).

When you write this story, you can say, “But Connelly is bringing Bosch back! There’s more Harry Bosch.”

I start my books in December. I always love this time before you write and you’re thinking about it. A really cool time.