A grim, bleak crime thriller with a washed out photographic palette to match, the original series of THE BRIDGE was hyped as the first ever creative television collaboration between between Denmark and Sweden, combining the talents of the Danish producers of TV successes THE KILLING and BORGEN, and the Swedish team responsible for WALLENDER. It’s no surprise, then, that the plot took place in both countries, with the Oresund Bridge that connects them playing a vital role. As a result, police officers from both countries became involved in the case, led by blonde Asperger’s sufferer Saga Noren (Sofia Helin) on the Swedish side, while laid-back, scruffier, recently vasectomised Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) heading up the Danish team. These two characters, in a classic ‘Odd Couple’ pairing, provided the driving force that got us through ten episodes of an increasingly complex plot that involved murder, media manipulation and a lot more that you should really discover for yourself if you haven’t already seen it. The show was a huge success, made major stars out of Helin and Bodnia, and was remade for countries where people have trouble reading subtitles.
THE BRIDGE SEASON TWO kicks off with a reminder of the climax of the first story, then abruptly cuts to ‘One year and one month later’. There are echoes of Fulci’s ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS as an unmanned sailing vessel runs aground against one of the supports of the Oresund Bridge. Down in the cargo hold are five trussed-up young people in extremely poor health. A couple of them are Danish, which gives investigating officer Saga Noren (Sofia Helin again) the opportunity to call in her old Danish partner Martin (Kim Bodnia again, looking slimmer and greyer) to help. Martin is still suffering from the events of the first series but sees working with Saga again as a form of therapy. Soon, however, events take a complex turn that I’m not going to reveal here as it would spoil the fun.
As with Season One, the unrelenting grimness of THE BRIDGE may be a bit much for some, with the colourlessness of the setting making everything feel even bleaker. The term ‘Nordic Noir’ has been coined to describe the new Scandinavian wave of televised crime fiction, but if anything, where THE BRIDGE is concerned, ‘Nordic Bleached’ might be a more appropriate term. Once again it looks as if the whole thing was shot in winter, and even the interior design of people’s houses and workplaces feel like a showcase for Ikea minimalism but with all the colour washed out.
If for some reason you find yourself with Season Two in your hands before you’ve seen the first series, it’s not all that difficult to catch up. But Arrow have released a very nice box set of both series together for the uninitiated. There are no extras, but Arrow’s Blu-ray offers a very nice transfer.
Arrow Films released THE BRIDGE Season Two on DVD & Blu-ray on 3rd February 2014. The double-pack of both series came out on both formats then as well.