Jamie Hector has done something really cool. It started on The Wire, where he played one of the more iconic television criminals you’ll ever see, the cunning and ruthless Baltimore drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield. Even if that’s all he ever did, it would be a triumph. But then, with that already on his resume, he shifted gears and flipped to the other side of the law on Bosch, playing Harry Bosch’s longtime partner on the force, Detective Jerry Edgar. And he’s given both of the characters a kind of quiet depth, making them real people, not just a crook or a cop that you’d see on a number of other television shows. That’s cool.
The final season of Bosch takes Jerry Edgar on a ride, too, all stemming from things that went down the season before. Edgar, who shares a Haitian background with Hector, gunned down a notorious Haitian war criminal who had slithered away to America and escaped all consequences of his actions. When the new season opens, Edgar is under investigation for the shooting and grappling with it all on a personal level. It gets heavy in moments. As it should.
Hector was kind enough to take some time to answer some of our questions about all of it: about playing characters on opposite sides of the law, and about building an arc on a show where another character’s name is the title, and, at the end, about whether he thinks his character from Bosch enjoyed watching The Wire. It was a good chat. As you’ll see.
Things got pretty dark for your character at the end of last season.
Oh yeah, it got dark, and as it should. Jerry Edgar, he just took a life. How do you deal with that? How do you just walk away from that as if it’s not going to affect you? And it’s affecting him. Now he’s dealing with the consequences of that internally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. You see all of those things get tackled and laid upon Jerry Edgar because he made a choice. In the final season, we’re going to find out if that decision that he made was righteous or not.
It was nice to see your character get that bigger arc and more depth. You’re on a show playing the partner of the character whose name is in the title, so obviously a lot of the stuff circles back to Bosch and how it relates to Bosch. Did you know going into it that they were going to go about giving you a lot more depth?
No, I didn’t know going in, but I always go into a job with respect for the work. Though one person may be the lead and the hero, which they should be, whoever that person is, everybody else stands on their own because everyone is their own individual person. So I got to pay homage to seeing things the way Jerry Edgar sees things. Even if it’s a little thing. Even if it’s eating cereal and the decision is oat milk, it’s just his decision and the way that he sees the world and how he approaches it.
You’re working with a bunch of the people that you worked with on The Wire already, except this time you’re doing it from the other side of the law. You played an iconic criminal in a great show and now you’re playing a cop on this one. Do you go about preparing for the two roles differently, or do they come from the same place?
No, absolutely. It’s always preparation. I believe 90 percent of character development is research and it’s the approach towards two different characters. I enjoy that process. One, with Jerry Edgar, I had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with detectives, the consultants on Bosch, and friends. Also detectives, Tim Marcia and Mitzi Roberts. And in New York, before I got to LA, I spent time with another detective, Todd Butler. We really had a chance to really just explore the different ways that detectives see the world. Then we went to a simulator. Then we practiced how to shoot. Then we trained in shooting. Then we traveled throughout all of California, all of LA just visiting different neighborhoods and communities.
The brothers that I shadowed for Marlo, they saw things a little differently. I didn’t go and train how to use a gun, I just figured it out as a character. We shot at bottles. It’s always the approach. It’s always been research. It’s always just making sure that we also have fun.
How would you describe the relationship between Jerry and Bosch, and how do you think it’s changed over the seven seasons? Bosch is older, but he’s not really a mentor. Especially in the new season, Jerry has to push back on him a lot.
Well, I describe their relationship like partners, but more like brothers. I describe the relationship with tension. Tension is good to me, only because I feel like when you’re always trying to make somebody better, if you do it at 100 percent and the other person tends to do it at 100 percent, there’s going to be some kind of tension because you guys are always trying to sharpen each other’s sword.
Jerry Edgar requires full transparency, good, bad, and different, from a partner. When Harry wants to get something done, he’s like, “I got to get it done. I don’t have time to really sit down and, and think about it and mull it over for too long. There’s a victim out there, we got to go and help and solve this case.” With that, they may have their tension, but I feel like the only reason we can work together is because we respect each other’s work ethic and we respect each other as a human.
There’s a really interesting thing in the first episode of the new season where you two are in the car and Bosch is blaming himself for the turn you took with taking the life. And he’s saying, “It’s my fault. It’s on me. You wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t me.” And you and your character pushed back and said, “I make my own mistakes.”
Listen, Haiti was the first black Republic to basically gain its independence. Jerry Edgar’s uncle is murdered by an individual that’s standing in his face, that’s going to get away again and again and again. It’s just something that I think is more, not influence from his partner, but more of what’s really affecting him down to his bone marrow. It’s just like, I can’t see this man having killed my uncle, having murdered so many people in Haiti … and I’ve got to take a sidebar here and just thank you to Eric [Overmyer] and Michael [Connelly] for just even highlighting Haiti and putting it on a map and allowing the world to see, to maybe want to even dive into this country.
But Jerry Edgar is there looking at a man that committed atrocities and is a war criminal, and now he’s in this country and he’s about to walk away scot-free. He’s just destructive, and now they’re going to fly him off to Florida somewhere and have him do the same thing, carte blanche, and he just doesn’t have to answer to anyone. I think it’s more of that than it is being influenced by anything that my partner may have done. I see more of the positives that he does than the negatives. The way that he works, how he operates, how he investigates. So I think it’s more the fact that Jerry sees he’s about to lose a big fish.
We talked a little bit about how you’ve played these two very different characters in two high-profile shows. Is there any role or type of character specifically that you haven’t gotten a chance to do that you’d love to get a crack at?
You know I’m about social change and activism and philanthropy and making sure that equity is a big place in life in general. I would love to transfer it to that community leader that transforms the way people think, i.e. Malcolm X. He was done already, but there’s so many untold stories of heroes that exist that have pushed the envelope and affected change in a huge way, but no one knows about them. I’m always interested in seeing that person on-screen, allowing the world to be transformed by the way that that person operated in life.
That’s really good. And it makes my last question sound really silly, but bear with me. In the first episode of the new season, one of the characters is described as being a female Stringer Bell, and your character gets the reference and says he binged The Wire. So my question is, knowing everything you know about Jerry Edgar and all the work you’ve put into the character… do you think Jerry Edgar enjoyed The Wire?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Without a doubt. Why? I guess that would be the next question. Why did he enjoy The Wire? Because it’s great TV and it speaks the truth. Jerry Edgar’s raising Black boys in an education system that The Wire tackled in season four, which had the bullseye on the backs of young Black babies in the education system. Just to see that, Jerry would be informed. If you really take a look into Jerry’s life, he’s, in some ways, an analyst. He loves diving into computers and figuring things out. If he can basically help his boys through this journey, this X factor of why they might be treated this way or being in the system, and it’s not just about his boys, it would also be about other kids also, that’s enough information right here to make you sit back and try to figure out how to solve the problem.
We’re tackling only one season, which is season four on The Wire. We’re not even talking about the media, which is season five. All of these complex and dynamic characters that existed on that show that made it its own world… it’s just brilliant to me. So I think Jerry Edgar would love, love, love The Wire. Absolutely.