The Bridge With No End

Christopher Fowler
Unknown I rarely watch TV except in box-set binges, although I made a huge effort to watch 'The Killing', which I thought was fairly boring and overly drawn-out. I'm not very good with TV cop shows, and always forget who's who. However, I fell in love with 'The Bridge'. I know there are half a dozen different versions in the works now, including the already-screened, inferior Franco-Anglo version 'The Tunnel', but the original is the best. I first saw Kim Dodnia in 'Nightwatch' (the original, not the lousy Hollywood remake) and his acting blew me away. He reappeared in 'Bleeder' and the 'Pusher' trilogy, and was extraordinarily powerful. But it's the autistic cop Saga, (Sofia Helin) who's the source of fascination here. Basically the pair hop over the bridge between Sweden and Denmark every few minutes to investigation somewhat unlikely conspiracies, racing from one colour-desaturated treelessly bleak office block to the next minimalist house, always too late to save lives. But the points of interest are pretty unique ones. First, the series (two so far, with a third in the offing) are proper serials without full closure, but remain satisfying episode by episode, unlike, say, 'Lost'. Although they deal with present-day
issues they involve satisfyingly old-school detective work, and the outcomes are strongly affected by the personalities of the cast. Saga looks at people as if they're aliens and is even scarier when she rolls her eyes about, trying to empathise. Unable to lie, to the point where she drives away anyone who gets close, she ranges between being a nightmarishly awful non-human and someone you want to hug. Martin (Dodnia) tends to act with his mouth and chin, and is cast against type as a gentle foil to Saga. Best of all, the climaxes to both series have been utterly electrifying, hinging as they do on Saga's inability to behave like other people. The Season 2 ending had twists that left me close to tears, and at only 10 hours a series they're manageable in length. For those who watched Season 2, did anyone spot the single line of dialogue that creates the get-out clause that allows for a third series? Clue: It was a question. Mind you, the murder rate in Sweden is higher than Mexico's. And I'm really getting fed up with Martin's boss's green scarf. Apart from that, box-set the pair and be enthralled.
Posted in
The Bridge


C Falconer (not verified) Thu, 20/02/2014 - 14:03

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Did you hear the Front Row interview with both actors? Apparently in the programme the Danes speak Danish and the Swedes Swedish as southern Swedes and Danes can understand each other, whereas the northern Swedes are less likely to. The programme also has subtitles in the opposite language in each country.

agatha hamilton (not verified) Thu, 20/02/2014 - 20:21

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Was it:
Martin: Are you sure it was me?

Matt (not verified) Fri, 21/02/2014 - 10:12

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Well I missed that question, where was that?

I think I have said this before, I agree that Saga is amazing. I love the character and the way the actor gets it down so you really feel for her and hate her at the same time.

Both seasons so far have been watchable and better than some such serials, I am not sure I really liked the ending of season two as criminals who die never really pay for their crime in a way that I feel is correct.

Keith Page (not verified) Fri, 21/02/2014 - 10:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Makes you wonder how this woman ever got to be a police officer in the first place.There is, however a tradition of unlikely tv cops.Would an Inspector Morse really have existed? Surely Jack Frost would have retired years ago [but of course we don't mind that too much because we might never have had Arthur and John..]

C Falconer (not verified) Fri, 21/02/2014 - 12:03

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

My theory of why she went into the police is that her boss (can't remember his name, but was having marriage problems [not that that qualifies it much!]) was involved in either the parent's case, or her sister's suicide and has mentored her ever since. Their relationship seems to reflect many years and an understanding of where she is coming from on his part.

Mim (not verified) Fri, 21/02/2014 - 13:00

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I really enjoyed The Bridge. I do hope the programme does return.