With 'Bosch,' Amazon gambles on drama series

Titus Welliver, left, and Jamie Hector are LAPD officers Harry Bosch and Jerry Edgar in "Bosch."

Story highlights

  • Author Michael Connelly says the time is right for show about homicide detective
  • Amazon is happy to have book and broadcast rights to "Bosch"

(CNN)Get ready, binge-watchers: There's a new candidate for your consideration.

"Bosch" is set to debut Friday and will be Amazon's first foray into the world of original dramas. The streaming giant has found success with the transgender comedy "Transparent," which won Golden Globes for best TV series, musical or comedy and best actor for star Jeffrey Tambor.
But "Bosch" enters into the territory more familiar to competitor Netflix, which has several dramas, including the critically acclaimed "House of Cards." The Amazon series centers on Harry Bosch, the fictional LAPD homicide detective who is the hero of Michael Connelly's series of dark crime novels.
    The series is a bit of a gamble for Amazon and Connelly, but he calls the project a "no-brainer."
    He said officials at the online retailer first approached him, saying they liked the synergy of having both the TV series and the books on the site. Amazon sells thousands of books written by Connelly. His latest, "The Burning Room," debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list in November, so Amazon believes it's playing to a built-in audience.
    Connelly has waited more than 20 years to bring "Bosch" to the screen.
    After he sold the TV and movie rights to the character in the 1990s, the project languished for years in turnaround, Hollywood's version of purgatory. Connelly finally bought back the rights and started working on his own vision of "Bosch." Then Amazon came calling, offering Connelly the creative freedom he wanted, and a partnership was formed.
    "I didn't need the money," the author said. "I had this resolve that I'm either going to do it right or or I'm not going to do it all, because Harry Bosch is too precious to me."
    Connelly said he oversaw every aspect of the series, hiring the creative team, helping write the scripts and even giving his say on the cast, which includes Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector, Amy Aquino and Lance Reddick.
    Connelly said he's "extremely happy" with the result, adding, "If you like the books, you're going to love the show."
    Connelly doled out special praise for Welliver, who fills the title role. A veteran character actor, Welliver has played supporting parts on hit shows such as "The Good Wife" and "Sons of Anarchy." Viewers might remember him best as "The Man in Black" from "Lost."
    Connelly said Welliver was the perfect actor to play the moody detective, bridging the gap between page and screen.
    "Titus can portray internal conflict just through his eyes, his look or a moment," the author said. "When you see a vein pulsing in his temple, you know this is a guy who can pick up that slack for you."
    And he said he likes the idea of Harry Bosch "joining the new wave" of streaming series. Connelly -- an admitted insomniac -- rarely goes to the movie theater or watches prime-time TV but does stream shows when he can't sleep. Among his favorites are "House of Cards" on Netflix, "Alpha Dogs" and, yes, "Transparent."
    For now, Connelly is eagerly awaiting the series' premiere, working on his next novel and hoping Amazon green-lights a second season. Whether "Bosch" is a blockbuster or a bust, Connelly said, "If the show is great or bad, it's going to be my doing, and I'm happy to make that gamble."
    The 10 episodes of "Bosch" will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime on Friday.