The Bridge returns, and its just as good as you keep hearing it is. Seriously, stop screwing around and just watch it already. I did, and though it scarred me, it was one hell of a ride.
Scandinavian detective thriller The Bridge has returned for a third season, one just as jam-packed with depraved serial killers, gruesome crime murders, and intelligently paced detecting, though with the introduction of a new partner for Saga (the shows protagonist), the tone does shift slightly, and quite triumphantly.
We join Saga (Sofia Helin) a year or so after the events of the second season, when her partner, Martin (Kim Bodnia) was arrested for the suspected murder of his son’s killer (um, spoilers, by the way). Now, Saga is faced with yet another bafflingly disturbed murder – a woman killed and arranged in a scene that mirrors a family setting. At the same time, she is assigned a new commanding officer, Hanne Thomsen (Kirsten Olesen), who is less than impressed with our leading lady – in part because of the whole Martin debacle, but also because of Saga’s particularly blunt and un-personable manner (it’s endearing, honest). Saga also teams up with one Henrik Sabroe (Thure Lindhardt), who replaces Martin as her partner. Unlike Hanne, Henrik takes to Saga, recognising her social difficulties, rather than being offended by them. Then, as the show goes on and the body count starts to rise, everything begins to spiral wonderfully out of control.
Newcomer Lindhardt does marvellously as well, filling the shoes of one of the show’s main characters without just replicating him, presenting his own character with a level of earnestness that is quick to thaw the hearts of both Saga and the audience. But it’s Sofia Helin, returning for a third year as the show’s protagonist, who takes the crown once more, proving again that she’s pretty much the best thing about the show. She slips easily back into the role of Saga, portraying a complex, nuanced character – one who is prickly and difficult at first glance, but under the surface host to all the turbulent emotion and fucked-up-ness that makes her so engaging. The troubled upholder of justice may be a somewhat tired stereotype, but it’s performances like Helin’s (and shows like The Bridge), that remind us why such a thing became a stereotype in the first place.
As the killer does his thing, the show runs the risk of settling into the age-old routine of who-dunnit, but there’s no way in hell that so many people would put up with subtitles if that’s all there was to this show. While Saga and Henrik try to catch the killer, all kinds of shenanigans take place, keeping everyone firmly on their toes, and creating a sense of oomph that drives the season onwards to its conclusion.
When things reach a head, they do so quite spectacularly, twisting and turning and flapping about all over the place in a triumph of writing and directing and general filmmaking. Things go from bad to worse to “oh my god, humans are the worst” in a few thrilling hours (and whoever voted Ramsay from Game of Thrones as the worst character on TV needs to watch this show). And yet, while the finale drenches you in misery and a sense of almost overwhelming hopelessness, showrunner and writer Hans Rosenfeldt has the gall to inject a small touch of happiness, making you feel things, the bastard.
Series 3 of The Bridge is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday 21st December, distributed via Arrow Films.