Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Bridge - Season 1 Review

God damn it, BBC4 - that was fun. Yes, I know you've aired the originals of both Borgen and The Killing but when it comes to a Danish drama (or more accurately a Danish/Swedish co-production), even I think The Bridge was light years ahead of both shows I've mentioned.

For those who haven't been following, The Bridge is a ten part series, focusing on the body of a female politician discovered in the middle of the Oresund Bridge, which connects both Copenhagen (Denmark) and Malmo (Sweden), except that half the body was of a Danish prostitute but it's enough to interest both countries police, in particular our leading detective characters of Saga Noren (Sofia Helin) from Malmo and Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) from Copenhagen.

Of course, the series takes an interesting turn with a killer named The Truth Teller begins a viral campaign by kidnapping people and torturing them online in an attempt to highlight certain social problems and while that could've just came across as gratuitous torture porn, the show was wise enough to keep toned as possible whilst having the desired effect as later episodes reveal that the killer in question is connected to one of our main characters with a not so honourable past, resulting in a trail of revenge that would even make Emily Thorne blush.

I'm not the greatest of cop show fans and while far too many of the new US ones are becoming increasingly poor, slick and over polished versions of the tiring CSI franchise, this show was something of a breath of fresh air. The Truth Teller was a genuine scary and (oddly) sympathetic villain to a large degree, the slew of recurring guest characters were fantastic to watch (especially that samurai sword wielding guy early in the series), the clues and misdirections were fun to watch but more importantly - the partnership between Saga and Martin was utterly compelling and believable from start to finish and the core element in this series success too.

Saga in particular, might be one of my favourite new characters to emerge on television as well. I loved how this show never condescended or went overboard in explaining to us that she had Aspergers. It was moments like her inability to lie (even during a crucial moment in the finale) to her colleagues, her attitudes towards men and sex that highlighted it nicely. As for Martin - I found him a wonderfully complex man, haunted by his past misdeeds and suffering the consequences for them as well with his fragile relationships with his son, August and second wife, Mette. If I had only one gripe with this series is why did BBC4 air it in double bills? It almost felt like it barely on television at all despite producing ten excellent episodes. At least we have a second series to look forward to next year.

The Bridge Series 1 is currently available to buy on DVD.

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