May 31, 2020


The Lectio Divina of the Murder Monks (Brendan Patrick Purdy, 5/26/20, Law & Liberty)

It is striking that among the handful of soundless or near-soundless moments in the season are when Bosch is ruminating over a murder investigation at the Hollywood Division. Bosch approaches the Murder Book the way a monk will approach Sacred Scripture through Lectio Divina, viz. meditation, silence, and contemplation. Bosch's seemingly only interest outside the job is jazz (which he listens to at home on vinyl) and he doesn't even let jazz intrude as he silently prays the Lectio Divina on Daisy's Murder Book.

Bosch's reading of the Murder Book is interrupted; there is the "fresh" murder of Dr. Stanley Kent (a medical physicist) that sets the season's central plot into motion. As Bosch approaches the body of Kent, first by car and then by foot, the imposing block letters of the Hollywood Sign loom above. And again, the Sign is there when Bosch meets the FBI agents that are involved in the case due to the fact Kent stole radioactive material (cesium) from his work in exchange for his wife's life. The murderers are unknown and the cesium is lost. The law enforcement bureaucracies agree that the LAPD will investigate the murder of Kent, and the FBI will focus on finding the cesium before it is turned into a dirty bomb that could turn the City of Angels into a City of Ashes. This armistice between the LAPD and the Feds is not without its conflicts, for example, when a Special Agent tells Bosch to stay in his lane and not to interfere with the anti-terrorism investigation into the missing cesium. Bosch's laconic response to the agent, which exemplifies who he is qua detective: "And my lane has no lines." For Bosch, then, a murder investigation is the highest calling for a law enforcement officer, and thus there are no lines when one is pursuing justice for the murdered. [...]

Twice in the season, Edgar refers to Bosch as a monk, both times the latter responds with jokes. Being jovial is rare for Bosch and he only seems to make them when someone close to him such as Edgar or Maddie say something that hits home. Otherwise, he remains in monkish silence; he turns the other cheek, for example, when Bosch is told that he doesn't understand what it is like in the foster care system, even though he is a product of it himself. But Edgar is right about Bosch being a monastic. Other than Bosch's touching and centering relationship with Maddie, all Bosch has is what he calls "my murders." Both his waking and sleeping moments are haunted by the victims whose murders have not been solved. Bosch is Gatsby reaching for that green light, but even if he solves one murder and grasps the light, there will be another; and so Bosch and the other detectives beat on, against the current, to give some sort of justice to those that have been murdered under the unwavering gaze of the Hollywood Sign.

Posted by at May 31, 2020 8:21 AM