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The Bridge – BBC4 Saturday evenings: must see Scandinavian noir thriller


Saga and Martin



The Bridge – BBC4 Saturday evenings


Not a review – an update. The promise of episodes 1 and 2 more than fulfilled. If all I watched were programmes with the stark, austere, dark visual and emotional tone that defines this Scandinavian (Danish/Swedish) noir thriller I don’t know how I’d feel. As it is the refreshing lack of manufactured glamour is like a breath of fresh air – a visual cleansing of the palate.

As the key characters in this intricately plotted piece begin to emerge they are funny, quirky and intriguing: none more so than the two central protagonists – cops Martin from Denmark and Saga from Sweden. Martin’s earthy, instinctual dedicated cop with a healthy disrespect for authority contrasts beautifully with the conformist but equally committed analytic, socially disabled, emotionally solipsistic Saga who appears to have to re-learn personal communication each day anew. The struggle these differences create in working together with shared attitudes and objectives is a nicely judged dramatic thread emerging from their joint investigation into the escalating serial killings of the Truth Terrorist. What adds spice to this relationship is the reversal of stereotypes: it is the guy who is emotional and intuitive; the woman who is detached and analytic.

The black humour of Saga’s random pick-up-guy-for-sex, instead of enjoying a relaxed post-coital smoke, watching horrified as she matter-of-factly pored over pictures of bifurcated female corpses on a lap top (sic) in bed was a gem. Like the legendary News of The World smut reporters in the days when they actual went to places instead of sitting hacking at keyboards, Saga’s exploited male sex object made his excuses and left. Like a rat up a drainpipe.

Interesting sub-plots intersect in ways that look more than capable of sustaining our interest for another 6 episodes and hint at surprising connections yet to emerge.

I am sure an extra level of fun can be derived for those who know Sweden and Denmark and their national characteristics as it is clear there is a comedy of manners and mores going on here which the outsider can only guess at: as if one were French and the other Belgian perhaps.

Easily the best crime drama since The Killing. Don’t miss.


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