Bosch interview: Amy Aquino on Grace’s season 5 story, romance and hard choices

Amy AquinoTo say that we are excited about Bosch season 5 (premiering Friday on Amazon) would be such a huge an understatement. Every season this show keeps setting the bar higher and higher and after watching the trailer for season five and seeing Bosch undercover we haven’t been able to stop talking about it. The show is moving in a new direction once again with an exciting new case front and center and lots of meaty material for the cast to dive into.

So when we had an opportunity to talk to Amy Aquino (the actress who beautifully plays Lt. Grace Billets), we had a billion questions we wanted to ask her. She plays one of our all time favorite characters on the show, who has had some incredibly rich stories over the years. Want to know what’s coming up for Grace in season 5? Let’s dive in and find out.

CarterMatt – What was the experience like doing season 5?

Amy Aquino – It was kind of great. For Grace, it’s very much about what it means for her to be a manager and an administrator and trying to manage all of these — her a–holes, as she lovingly calls them. You really see what that’s about. In terms of police work, very little of it is about running down the street with a gun. A whole lot of what’s done is made up of the people in the background keeping it going. For Grace, as well, we have yet another example of where she has to negotiate between her friendship and her personal trust in Bosch and her responsibilities as his superior officer.

In this case [for season 5], we’ve got him going undercover and not following all of the protocol. He’s in real danger and if she allows it to go on too long, it will fall on her as well. Once again, she’s gotta tread that line.

While he’s doing these really exciting and dangerous things, Grace is dealing with the fact that she’s gotta retire a cop. There are issues with Crate and Barrel that are extraordinarily mundane but are very important to them, so she’s gotta manage that, as well. What was wonderful for me was being able to explore the relationship between her and everyone she works with. It individualizes her relationships with them and gets much deeper than we’ve ever gotten. That was a joy for me, to be able to work closely with the folks the audience have come to see and love. They fill this role within the series that’s wonderful and fun to watch; this season, you get to see who the men are beneath that. It’s much more nuanced and you get to see them in three dimensions. It’s not all jolly and it’s not all fun. It’s what they’re living with.

I adore the actors, so it was an enormous treat to spend some real, quality time with them on set.

You’ve had this great opportunity now to live as Grace within the world of this show for so long. Is there anything that has surprised you about where she is now as opposed to where she was at the start of the series?

It may just be because I’m getting more comfortable with her, but she started out very content with where she was in her career, but then she was encouraged to think bigger than that. Then, she had to live with that tremendous disappointment regarding a possibility at a promotion. Then, she had to go through what she did last year — adding insult to injury. ‘No, you’re never going to be a real captain, but we’re going to need you to do that right now in the worst possible time in the station’s history.’ Now, she’s settled with that and she understands the importance of what she’s doing. She understands that she can make some real changes where she needs to.

Personally, I also think she’s evolved. She had the madness with the detective she was supervising — which was a really bad idea. She was stunning, but it was completely inappropriate on every level. Then, she sat it out for a while and had to deal with her ex-husband — you got to see that part of her. And then, this season you get to see where she lands, which is in a much better place personally, and with somebody who is her equal and who can challenge her. Who can speak her language and knows what she’s talking about. It’s someone who can push back and really help her in what she’s doing.

What I love about this season is that she does her own little off-the-reservation thing. She does it quietly, but it happens. No more goody two-shoes over here (laughs).

It’s been a very, very interesting set of journeys for Grace this season. It’s not just about her relationship with Harry at all; it’s about her relationship with the system, to her career, to all of the officers that she commands. It’s really fascinating that way for me.

You talked a little bit in there about Grace’s romantic life. Obviously, it’s my hope that something for her can work out after what she’s been through — is that something that you’re hoping will build up over time?

I hope so. There’s a terrific scene between us where she very gently, but firmly, questions where I’m going in that way that you have when we’re in relationships and someone is saying something that you know is right, but immediately you’re like ‘you’re full of s–t. Oh sorry, look at the time. I gotta go.’ But, it clearly lands for her. When she’s calmer about, she understands the wisdom in it and realizes she’s not being her best person. She figures out how to resolve it. I think it’s a really telling scene and I loved working with the actress. I have not worked with her before. We spent some time together talking about what this relationship is about, including how they would’ve got together. It was really nice.

…I get stopped all the time by people who love the show and this character. I think she fills a really important role in the show. She’s very emotionally and personally available in a way that Bosch is not. You see that for some others in their private moments, but you can see that from her even when she’s working. You see her personality and her sense of humor. I think the audience will really like to see more of that, and see that she has a full life.

You guys have already been renewed for another season. Is it nice when you’re gearing up for the end of the season and there’s such anxiety, to just know that you’re coming back? In a way, does that relief lead to more risk-taking and flexibility on set?

I don’t think so for me, because I think everyone feels comfortable taking risks anyway. The reality is that with any individual actor, just because the show’s coming back doesn’t mean that any of us are coming back other than Titus [Welliver]. Anything can happen.

It certainly gives you a very nice feeling, and at this stage of my life for sure. It’s a great vote of confidence that Amazon is still happy with it. It validates a lot of the positive feedback that I get individually on the street from total strangers. That’s helpful, especially for a streaming show since there is no public information about how popular our show is. I was at some Amazon event and having a conversation with their chief financial officer and I said ‘with this show, nobody really knows if anybody’s even making money on it,’ and he looked at me and he said ‘well, I do’ (laughs). He’s the one person who actually does know! It’s an interesting phenomenon to do a show where nothing is public — you don’t know if it’s working. So it’s been really nice to get that early pickup and be able to plan your life — you know you don’t have to look for other work, or at least that you have work for a certain period of time.

It’s been great — I’ve done three plays in three of the years that we’ve had hiatuses, which I love to do. This year I’m not, but I’m doing a lot of other things instead. I did an episode of Grace & Frankie, which was a complete delight. It’s the yin to the Bosch yang — on that set it’s all about the women. It couldn’t be any more different. I got to spend four days with Lily Tomlin! Who can ask for anything more?

Do you think that season 5 is going to end off in a way where people are going to be screaming for a season 6?

Are they going to be screaming? I think it will be a little more subtle. It is a complete, out-of-left field oh-my-God moment. He did that? It’s pretty shocking. I don’t know if you’re going to immediately say ‘oh boy, that’s going to have to be the centerpiece.’ It’s not like coming out of [season] 3 into 4, where you knew that’s where we were going — we were going to have to find a killer. It’s not that direct at all, but it leaves a bunch of different cliffhangers, including conceivably for Grace.

In all of the storylines this season, you’ve got these big surprises. The last episode has just got big surprises — it’s like boom, boom, boom. It’s really interesting that way. Some of them are good, and some of them are ‘holy s–t.’ Hang in there.

I think this season’s going to be a real problem for people because once they start, they’re going to want to get to the end. You’re going to watch all ten episodes in a row.

Want some more Bosch news?

Then be sure to visit the link here! We have another interview with Jamie Hector that you can check out at the link here.

Let us know what you are the most excited about going into season 5 of Bosch and what you want to see for Grace in the comment section below. (Photo: Amazon)

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