Harry Bosch

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For the Dutch painter, see Hieronymus Bosch.
Harry Bosch
Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch.jpg
Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch
First appearance The Black Echo (1992)
Created by Michael Connelly
Portrayed by Titus Welliver
Full name Hieronymus Bosch
Gender Male
Occupation Detective LAPD, private investigator
Title Detective III
Spouse(s) Eleanor (divorced)
Children Maddie (daughter)
Relatives Mickey Haller (half-brother)
Nationality American

Detective Hieronymus 'Harry' Bosch (pronounced "He-ron-ee-mus" "Bosh") is a literary character created by Michael Connelly in the 1992 novel The Black Echo, and the lead character in a police procedural series now numbering twenty-one novels. The novels are more or less coincident in time frame with the year in which they were published. Harry, as he is commonly known by his associates, is a veteran police homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Bosch was named after the 15th century Dutch artist, Hieronymus Bosch.

Biography of the character[edit]


Bosch's mother was a prostitute in Hollywood and was murdered in 1961 (10/28/61) when Bosch was 11 years old. His father, whom he met later in life, was a powerful defense attorney. Bosch spent his youth in various orphanages, youth halls, and the occasional foster family. When he learned of his mother's murder, Bosch, then living at a youth hall, dived to the bottom of the pool, screamed until he ran out of air and then swam back to the surface. This event is referenced in several Bosch novels. He joined the United States Army when he was seventeen years old, after getting his foster father to sign the enlistment papers that gave his consent for his minor foster son.

In Vietnam, Bosch was a "tunnel rat" (nicknamed Hari Kari Bosch), with the 1st Infantry Division—a specialized soldier whose job it was to go into the maze of tunnels used as barracks, hospitals, and on some occasions, morgues, by the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army. While in the enemy tunnels, the Tunnel Rats would kill enemy soldiers they encountered, gather documents for analysis by military intelligence, and then plant C-4 high explosive charges that they would set to detonate after they exited the tunnels. Once, while on R&R leave in Hawaii, Bosch went AWOL but returned to his unit and served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

Bosch has a daughter named Maddie. Maddie spent most of her time with her mother and Bosch's ex-wife, Eleanor, in Hong Kong, seeing him only twice a year. Eleanor, who was a star attraction at a Macau casino, had a personal security guard, Sun Yee, who was also her boyfriend. She was killed during an attempt to rescue Maddie from Chinese thugs. Maddie then started to live with her father in Los Angeles.

LAPD career[edit]

After his return from Vietnam and an honorable discharge from the Army, Bosch joined the LAPD and rose to the rank of Detective III, a position which entails both investigative and supervisory duties and is the LAPD equivalent of Detective Sergeant.

While in the LAPD, Bosch worked in the prestigious Robbery Homicide Division (RHD) for five years, but was drummed out by an Internal Affairs Division (IAD) investigation involving Bosch's shooting of a suspect (The Dollmaker) who was later linked to nine murders. Following the IAD investigation, which was conducted by Detectives Pierce Lewis and Don Clarke, Bosch was sent to Hollywood Division and assigned to the homicide desk. Lewis and Clarke also investigated Bosch in The Black Echo. At one point, Bosch left the LAPD and worked as a private investigator for three years. He left retirement and returned to the LAPD at the conclusion of The Narrows. After his return, Bosch was assigned to RHD's Open-Unsolved Unit, a cold case squad. Bosch transferred out of Open-Unsolved and into Homicide Special during the time between Echo Park and The Overlook.

During his time in the LAPD as covered in the novels, Bosch was in Hollywood homicide and worked with Frankie Sheehan (Bosch's partner in RHD, who was later murdered in Angels Flight), Jerry Edgar (his longest serving partner) and Kizmin 'Kiz' Rider, the other members of Bosch's team in Hollywood homicide. The 2004 Limited Edition DVD that was available with The Narrows included an excerpt of a speech real-life LAPD Chief William Bratton made at the Police Academy, in which he publicly asked Harry Bosch to return from retirement (Connelly was on the stand behind listening to the speech; see Blue Neon Night: Michael Connelly's Los Angeles). In The Overlook, Connelly gave Bratton an approving endorsement (albeit without using his name) for "raising the morale of the rank and file" and for giving "Bosch his job back" (pp. 145–146 of the Vision paperback edition).

In The Closers, Bosch was once again partnered with Rider, while Edgar remained in Hollywood homicide. Bosch remained partnered with Rider until her transfer to the Chief's office after being shot during Echo Park. During The Overlook, Bosch partnered with Detective Ignacio 'Iggy' Ferras, a younger detective with whom Bosch had not yet developed a solid rapport. Not a stranger to being second-guessed, Bosch was investigated by the LAPD's IAD multiple times, and was always cleared.

Personal characteristics[edit]

Bosch lived in a house on stilts at 7203 Woodrow Wilson Drive[1] in the Hollywood Hills. The money that financed Bosch's home came from a production studio for a TV mini-series in which actor Dan Lacey portrays Bosch in a case the detective had worked that involved a serial killer; Bosch worked as a technical advisor on the mini-series. His house was later damaged during the Northridge earthquake shortly before the book The Last Coyote. After his house was condemned and demolished, he had a new one built on the same road, still facing out over the valley.

Bosch has an active love life, with usually one love interest per book. He has a daughter, who, as of 9 Dragons, is living with him. She had lived with her mother, Harry's ex-wife Eleanor Wish (a former FBI agent, ex-con and professional poker player, whom Bosch met in The Black Echo and married while on a case in Las Vegas, and who left Bosch in Angels Flight), who was killed in Hong Kong. Recent stories find Bosch linked in a close relationship with FBI agent Rachel Walling. The liaison formulated in The Narrows and heightened romantically during Echo Park, but Walling broke off the relationship at its conclusion. Walling returned in The Overlook on a strictly professional basis, and she has since resumed a relationship with reporter Jack McEvoy. Walling notes in The Scarecrow that her relationship with Bosch broke up in part because Bosch was still in love with Eleanor Wish.

Bosch is left-handed. He stands a few inches short of six feet and is described as wiry. His muscles are like nylon cords, strength concealed by economy of scale. He has a moustache and has brown hair that is by now graying (The Black Echo). Bosch's eyes are the other key aspect of his appearance; they are brown and nearly black, and were mentioned often for this reason in A Darkness More Than Night. Connelly gives a good clue as to how he visualizes Bosch when, in The Overlook, Rachel Walling tells Bosch that "You look like House" (actor Hugh Laurie).

Bosch is always finding himself in conflict with authority, whether with his lieutenant, or a Deputy Chief of Police (specifically Irvin Irving, Bosch's recurring nemesis until forced to retire at the end of The Closers, and now a city councilman), or the FBI. His confrontational side is usually attributed to his strong sense of right and wrong, coupled with little regard for his career. At the end of The Overlook, Connelly states this trait can be described in a single word: "relentless". He also uses this word in Lost Light, describing jazz, and implying reference to his own work and personality.

Bosch has a half-brother, Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles attorney who makes his first appearance in the novel The Lincoln Lawyer, although he briefly appears in a flashback in The Black Ice as a boy. Haller is the legitimate son of the attorney who fathered Bosch. In the second Mickey Haller novel, The Brass Verdict, it is revealed that Harry Bosch has known for years of the relationship, but Haller was unaware of it until the end of the book.[2]

The original Bosch was famous for his religious portrayal of earthly sins (mostly debauchery) and their violent consequences. In several of the books there are parallels suggested between the hell in the paintings and the events of Bosch's life.

Besides the Connelly series, Harry Bosch has made cameos in several other authors' books. Bosch has appeared in books by Paula Woods, Joe Gores, and Robert Crais.[3] Likewise, during an October 16, 2008 book-signing in San Mateo, California, to promote The Brass Verdict, Michael Connelly informed the audience that Bosch also appeared in a cameo without identification in Connelly's novel Chasing the Dime.

Personal firearms[edit]

Bosch carried a Smith & Wesson Model 5906 9mm semiautomatic pistol as his duty weapon for many years. The S&W Model 5906 is authorized by the LAPD for duty carry by its officers. It was a popular weapon in the LAPD prior to the North Hollywood shootout. He kept a Heckler & Koch P7 9mm semiautomatic pistol at his house, in the front closet wrapped in an oil wrap, as a back-up weapon. When he retired from the police department, he carried a Glock 27 .40 Caliber semiautomatic subcompact pistol. When he returned to active duty with the LAPD, he started to carry a Kimber Ultra Carry II .45 ACP Caliber semiautomatic pistol. Many officers in the LAPD started carrying .45 caliber pistols after the North Hollywood Shootout bank robbery incident. The LAPD authorized the heavier caliber pistol ammunition for its officers in response to officers facing heavily armed bandits in the North Hollywood shootout. In "The Burning Room", Bosch starts carrying a Glock 30, .45 ACP caliber, semiautomatic pistol. He still kept the Kimber .45 as his second pistol but uses the Glock as his duty weapon. He had an additional handgun, a Smith & Wesson .44-caliber revolver, in The Black Ice. It was given to him by the father of a murdered girl. It was kept at home but he took it with him on his trip to Mexico to have a gun which he could check at the border crossing so as to show he had not carried it into Mexico. That done, he hid his carry gun, the 9mm S&W pistol, under the spare tire of his Chevy Caprice. The cop at the border station observed that the left-handed Harry was checking in a right-handed revolver.

Novel series[edit]

Novel Partner and associates Romantic Interest Occupational Status Rank
#01 The Black Echo (1992) Det. Jerry 'Jed' Edgar; FBI Special Agent Eleanor Wish Eleanor Wish LAPD Hollywood Division Detective III
#02 The Black Ice (1993) Det. Jerry 'Jed' Edgar; Officer Carlos Aguila of the Mexican State Judicial Police Dr. Theresa Corazon, Sylvia Moore LAPD Hollywood Division Detective III
#03 The Concrete Blonde (1994) Det. Jerry 'Jed' Edgar; RHD Det. Frankie Sheehan Sylvia Moore LAPD Hollywood Division Detective III
#04 The Last Coyote (1995) Carmen Hinojos, LAPD psychologist Jasmine "Jazz" Corian ----- On Involuntary Stress Leave from LAPD Hollywood Division
#05 Trunk Music (1997) Det. Jerry 'Jed' Edgar; Det. Kizmin 'Kiz' Rider; FBI Special Agent Roy Lindell Eleanor Wish LAPD Hollywood Division Detective III
#06 Angels Flight (1999) Det. Jerry 'Jed' Edgar; Det. Kizmin 'Kiz' Rider; IAD Det. John Chastain; FBI Special Agent Roy Lindell Eleanor Wish LAPD Hollywood Division Detective III
#07 A Darkness More Than Night (2001) Fmr. FBI Special Agent Terry McCaleb ----- LAPD Hollywood Division Detective III
#08 City of Bones (2002) Det. Jerry 'Jed' Edgar Julia Brasher † LAPD Hollywood Division Detective III
#09 Lost Light (2003) FBI Special Agent Roy Lindell; Retired LAPD Detective Lawton 'Law' Cross Eleanor Wish LAPD retired Private Investigator
#10 The Narrows (2004) FBI Special Agent Rachel Walling; a sequel from her case with now deceased FBI Special Agent Terry McCaleb in The Poet (1996)[4] Rachel Walling LAPD retired Private Investigator
#11 The Closers (2005) Det. Kizmin 'Kiz' Rider Vicki Landreth LAPD RHD Open-Unsolved Unit Detective III
#12 Echo Park (2006) Det. Kizmin 'Kiz' Rider; FBI Special Agent Rachel Walling Rachel Walling LAPD RHD Open-Unsolved Unit Detective III
#13 The Overlook (2007) Det. Ignacio 'Iggy' Ferras; FBI Special Agent Rachel Walling Rachel Walling LAPD RHD Homicide Special Section Detective III
#14 9 Dragons (2009) Det. Ignacio 'Iggy' Ferras; Det. David Chu; Lawyer Michael 'Mickey' Haller ----- LAPD RHD Homicide Special Section Detective III
#15 The Drop (2011) Det. David Chu Dr. Hannah Stone LAPD RHD Open-Unsolved Unit Detective III
#16 The Black Box (2012) Det. David Chu Dr. Hannah Stone LAPD RHD Open-Unsolved Unit Detective III (working on Deferred Retirement Option Plan)
#17 The Burning Room (2014) Det. Lucia Soto LAPD RHD Open-Unsolved Unit Detective III (working on Deferred Retirement Option Plan)
#18 The Crossing (2015) Lawyer Michael 'Mickey' Haller; Det. Lucia Soto LAPD retired Criminal Defense Investigator
#19 The Wrong Side of Goodbye Det. Bella Lourdes LAPD retired/Reserve Officer San Fernando PD Private Investigator

Additional appearances[edit]

The Mickey Haller series[edit]

Short stories[edit]

  • "Christmas Even" (in Murder...And All That Jazz, 2004)
  • "Cielo Azul" (in Dangerous Women, 2005)
  • "Angle of Investigation" (in Plots with Guns, 2005)
  • "Suicide Run" (in Hollywood and Crime, 2007)
  • "One Dollar Jackpot" (in Dead Man's Hand, 2007)
  • "Father's Day" (in the Blue Religion, 2008)
  • "Blue and Black" (in Hook, Line & Sinister, 2010)
  • "Blood Washes Off" (in the Rich and the Dead, 2011)
  • "Switchblade" (epublished in January 2014)
  • "Red Eye" (in FaceOff, 2014)

Short story collections[edit]

  • Angle of Investigation (2011), includes "Christmas Even", "Father's Day", and the eponymous "Angle of Investigation"[5]
  • Suicide Run (2011), includes "Suicide Run", "Cielo Azul", and "One Dollar Jackpot"[6]

Television series[edit]

In February 2015, Amazon Prime showed the series Bosch, based on the novels. The ten-episode series starred Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch, with Annie Wersching and Jamie Hector co-starring as Officer Julia Brasher and Det. Jerry Edgar respectively. Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment produced and Jim McKay directed. The series followed Bosch "as he pursues the killer of a 12-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court on accusations that he murdered a suspected serial killer in cold blood."[7]

According to Connelly, a number of changes were made "to the world of Harry Bosch ... in making the shift from page to screen". In the series, Harry "is 47 years old and a veteran of the first Gulf War in 1991, where he was part of a Special Forces team that cleared tunnels. He has now been a police officer for twenty years with a one-year exception when he re-upped with the Army after 9/11, as many LAPD officers did. He came back to the force after serving in Afghanistan and again encountering tunnel warfare."[8]

A "13 day shoot" on the pilot episode of the series began in Los Angeles on 4 November 2013, while Connelly kept a daily "set journal".[9] The pilot was released on Amazon Prime in February 2014, and the full series was shown in February 2015.[10][11] On March 18, 2015, Bosch was renewed for a second season,[12] which takes inspiration from Connelly's novels Trunk Music, The Drop, and The Last Coyote.[13] The second season premiered on March 11, 2016. Amazon renewed Bosch for a third season soon after the second season was released. The third season will air in 2017.[14]


External links[edit]