the bridge 2The Bridge has caused a stir in TV land (in the way The Killing did) and series 2 sees this Scandinavian series go from strength to strength. Saga and Martin are on the trail of some nasty eco-terrorists, and the plot is sufficiently twisted and misleading to keep the viewer unsure whodunnit it all until the very end (or in fact, ’til there’s only one contender left!)

Sexual misconduct proves to be a motivating force behind many of the characters’ actions, but so does idealism, greed, and loneliness. While the main story is well-paced and suspenseful, it’s the in-between moments, as Saga grapples with having a live-in partner, and Martin tries to come to terms with the abominable consequences of season one and get his life back together, that really hold the emotional weight. Trying to preserve their friendship under the enormous pressures of the case and their dysfunctional personal lives is compelling viewing in itself. Saga’s Aspergers is still never openly discussed, and people around her either make allowances for her, or don’t. Martin seems to have put his womanising behind him, but the collateral damage is profound.

The unrelenting winter landscape and hauntingly prophetic theme music are the perfect backdrop to this brilliantly acted and scripted series. The weather is an involuntary character, but one who has an undeniable impact on everything about The Bridge. I could feel the bleakness seeping into my bones from the other side of screen.

It seems that Martin does not return to centre stage in series 3 (if at all). It will be sad, strange, and interesting not to have him there. I wonder who the writers will use as the bridge between Saga, the rest of her world, and us?

 

First thing I have to say is, that The Bridge has the most exceptional theme song.

Hollow Talk by The Choir of Young Believers is a moody, delicate, depressing song. Perfect for a series, which is all of the above.

The Bridge snuck up on me. I had it in the bookcase for a fair while, and for some reason, thought it was over ten years old. I realised, when I finally loaded it into my computer to watch, that in fact, it was only fairly new and being touted as the new The Killing.

Here’s some of the wiki synopsis: What appears to be the body of a female Swedish politician is discovered in the middle of the Øresund Bridge, which connects Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmö in Sweden. The body, cut in half at the waist, has been placed precisely on the border between the countries, thus falling under the jurisdiction of both the Danish and Swedish police agencies. After further examination, it turns out that the body is that of two separate corpses, with one half belonging to a Danish prostitute. Saga Norén, from the Swedish side, and Martin Rohde, from the Danish, lead the investigation to catch the murderer … And so it goes.

Sonia Helin plays the socially awkward, dogged and forthright Swedish detective Saga Noren. Her counterpoint is Kim Bodnia as Martin Rodhe. Rodhe is a family man with an easy manner and a wandering eye. While on the case, the pair develop an uneasy friendship which develops into something deeper as the story takes a very personal turn.

The acting and the suspense are as good as any of the best Scandinavian television series. I found the mood to be even bleaker than The Killing, as the story is played out through the chill of a Swedish/Danish winter. I don’t recall  seeing the sun shine once. Coupled with the outstanding theme music, The Bridge, had me hooked before a word is ever spoken.

Interestingly though, Saga is a little harder to connect with than our beloved Sarah Lund from The Killing. I felt sympathy for Saga, and admired her dedication and police instincts. She truly interested me, but I couldn’t see myself in her shoes. This is an observation rather than a criticism. With Lund, I felt totally connected, with Saga, I was fascinated. The character of Martin Rodhe is portrayed as loving and charming on one hand, and selfish and vain, on the other. Having Saga playing against him, and seeing their fledgling friendship develop, is his saving grace. Otherwise, I might have been inclined to throw my remote control at him.

The Bridge creates a believable dynamic between its lead detectives, who are caught in a suspenseful and twisted tale of revenge. I can see why Clive James thought he might die from despair when series two finished! Hooray for Nordic Noir!

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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