Harry Bosch, the L.A. detective at the center of the Amazon series “Bosch,” has few if any real friends. But at the end of last season he’d found one true pal: A stray dog named Coltrane. The dog is back in Season 6, which premiered last month, and he is a favorite of star Titus Welliver.
It was Welliver’s idea that this feral animal could be something of a mirror to Harry. “I just thought it would be an interesting metaphor,” said Welliver. “And I really wanted it to be a cattle dog, because they kind of look feral to begin with.”
Coltrane (real name Brody) is a “sweet, sweet dog and it’s very difficult because the crew wants to play with him. But the trainers, they always bring several other dogs to the set so it turns into kind of petting zoo; it’s a wonderful gift that breaks up the day.”
One of the key visual elements of the show is Harry’s house, cantilevered over a cliff and offering an unimpeded view of the city from it’s floor-to-ceiling windows. That’s a real house, not a set built on a soundstage, Welliver said. So when you see Harry in his living room with the nighttime lights of L.A. twinkling behind him, that’s not a green screen effect.
Welliver’s career has been long and varied, including everything from “NYPD Blue” to “Deadwood” to “Sons of Anarchy” to “The Good Wife.”
He is deeply believable playing men who tolerate no foolishness. This quality might come to mind when you hear about a worst moment from his career. “Everybody’s had their cringe-y moments,” Welliver said, “but this one resonates.”
“Many, many years ago — and I can’t really say what network or what it was — I was going to test for a TV pilot. This was ‘94 or ‘95, so pretty early in my film and television career.
“I was living all the way out in Venice and the meeting was in Burbank and at that time I was on a motorcycle. So I’m riding along and all of a sudden I hit horrific traffic on the 101. ... I finally get through and I make the exit and now I’m headed to the studio on surface streets when this guy comes whipping along in a Porsche and does a really bad maneuver and almost hits me. In the process of trying to save my own life, I’m able to correct my bike and not crash — not get hit by him or hit by other cars around me.
“So I lean on my horn and I shout some expletives and the guy’s kind of cruising along. We get to a red light and I’m so furious at this point — blind road rage — that I pull up to this guy’s car, I’m on the driver’s side, and I say this expletive-laden tirade thing. The guy almost ran me over! And he’s swearing back at me and it’s a big thing. And it culminates into what I think is about to turn into a physical altercation. But I’m looking at this guy thinking: He’s in a suit, he’s in a $150,000 car — he’s not going to get out and deck me.
“But he spits at me. He basically (swears) and spits at me. And because I’m on a motorcycle I’m wearing steel toe boots, so I just kick my foot out to the side of his car and dent it. And then he peels off.
“... I’m sitting in a room with the other actors and I’m finally dialing myself down because the adrenaline was just pumping, pumping, pumping. But I have to center myself and I’m thinking, ‘Of all days for this to happen ... ‘ But I kind of pull myself together. ... I do the audition. And it goes really well.
“So I leave the room and they ask me to wait and hang out a little longer with the other actors, and then eventually they thanked us all for coming in. So as I’m getting ready to leave the executives are filing out of the room and I’m going down the stairs and this voice says, ‘Titus,’ and I turn around. And it’s the guy.
“And I say (expressionless), ‘Yes?’ And he says, ‘Do you have a minute?’ and I say, ‘Sure’ — still not acknowledging what has just transpired. And he comes down and he says, ‘Great job.’ And I said: ‘Thank you.’
“And he says, ‘No, no, really. Great job. And considering what you had been through prior to that, I have to say my hat’s off to you. You maintained your composure and you were focused and you did a great audition.’ And I said, ‘Thank you. Now you realize it’s incumbent upon you to cast me in this role so that I can afford to pay for the damage that I inflicted on your car,’ and he started to laugh and then he looked at me and said, ‘Sorry.’ And I said, ‘Accepted.’ And that was it.
“Now, the end of the story is, there were some rights issues that came up very quickly — they had to can the pilot — but I did end up getting cast.”
Was he surprised the guy didn’t torpedo his chances?
“Absolutely. And he was a person who would have absolutely affected the outcome. He had enough juice as an executive that if he had said, ‘I’m not feeling it — next,’ my chances would have gone out the window. Ironically, he was ultimately one of the strongest voices of support in the decision to cast me. I know, crazy.”
Did Welliver ever pay to fix the dent?
“No (laughs), it never came up after that and I never brought it up (laughs). My assumption was that if he had a car that expensive, he had good insurance. He was making a lot more money than I was, guaranteed (laughs).
“This happened at a time where there were a lot of road rage shootings in L.A. and I remember telling the story to my dad and he said: ‘Look, life is too short, too many people are pulling guns and shooting each other over traffic altercations and you’re on a motorcycle, completely vulnerable. For God’s sake son, get a car.’ So I did in fact end up selling the bike and getting a pickup truck.
“Thank you for having me tell this silly story, it was a pleasure. I mean, we learn from them.”