As we prepare to binge-watch the second season of Bosch (which begins streaming March 11), we spoke with best-selling author Michael Connelly about taking his hard-boiled detective from blockbuster books to acclaimed television series as well as his role in the streaming series. Take a peek at some of the things he had to say:
Q: The brooding, prone-to-lashing-out detective is a mainstay of novels and television—why do audiences continue to be drawn to this archetype?
A: I think we are looking to connect with someone whose job is one we have no earthly idea what it’s like to do. Ninety-nine percent of us do not solve murders for a living, but we know it’s a high stakes avocation with amazing stressors. As a writer, I call it finding that empathic strike zone, where people are subconsciously nodding their heads. Bosch is a brooding guy, a grinder. But he also has issues with day-to-day bureaucracy—how it gets in the way of what he’s trying to do. Everyone can connect with that.
Q: Before the Bosch pilot episode launched, were you nervous about taking the character from the page to the screen?
A: I had surrounded myself with producers and people who had been in Hollywood a long time, and I knew I had legions of fans that followed Harry Bosch in the books. I thought, if we make it right, they will come and they will love it. We didn’t worry too much. We just thought, let’s get this as much like the books as possible—and the least like existing cop shows. And then they will come.
Q: How extensive is your role in writing for the show, and as the original writer, how does it feel to combine several storylines from different books?
A: I’m involved in writing for the series full time. For me, the reinvention of the books is what’s fun—it would be boring for me to recreate the exact same book for television. Also, the books are all from Harry’s point of view. But you can’t have a show that has Titus Welliver [who plays Bosch] in every scene—for one thing that would be exhausting for him. The reinvention part is breaking other characters out of the books and giving them their own scenes. And I have to make updates—for example, some of the books Season 2 is based on were written before cell phones and Internet-based police work.
Q: Many viewers will be inspired to read the Bosch books after seeing the show. How does the character in the novels feel different from the one in the streaming series?
A: The novels are a drastic change from the TV show because you are dropped inside Bosch’s head—you know exactly what he’s thinking. In the show, you never know what he’s thinking. You can guess at it, but you don’t hear it. So there’s a deeper intimacy in the books. Then again, what could be more intimate than seeing the character come alive on TV? So they offer different kinds of intimacy.
This interview originally appeared on The Story, a growing collection of author interviews, behind-the-scenes info, and updates on "what's new" in the Kindle community. Sign up here to receive The Story monthly newsletter.