The Bridge opens as a body is found on the Oresund bridge, bang on the border between Sweden and Denmark. Coppers from both countries rush to the scene, ready to embark on a cultural conundrum as they attempt to work together and crack the case.
And this being a Scandi drama, it’s pretty bloomin’ bleak: limbs severed from their bodies, poisonings, bomb scares and children kidnapped…it’s a tough watch.
But it’s continually lifted by the brilliant character of Saga Noren (Sofia Helin), the Swedish detective working on the case. Which is surprising, really, considering she’s entirely devoid of empathy and painfully precise. But paired up with Kim Bodnia’s messy, dysfunctional Danish Detective Martin Rohde, we get some brilliantly awkward (and sometimes heartfelt) interactions which make this dark tale utterly watchable. And in the later seasons where Martin is left behind, Saga continues to shine, so much so The Guardian’s Andrew Collins calls the character “one of the great TV detectives of the 21st century.”
When it aired here in the UK the show gathered a mass of fans, and the show has since been adapted to fit other borders – in fact, we even reviewed one. But though they may try, none of them have yet mastered the atmosphere, cultural clashes and utter brilliance of The Bridge. Sofia Helin might pat herself on the back for that, as the show’s success undoubtedly owes a lot to her fantastic portrayal of the socially stunted Saga.
This series is an undisputed Must. And the critics think so too – The Telegraph’s Chris Harvey calls Saga “one of the most fascinating characters on TV,” whilst the Independent’s Ellen E Jones says it’s “near-perfect.” Andrew Collins of The Guardian comments that whilst other Scandi crime dramas flagged over their seasons, “The Bridge felt decidedly reinvigorated and seems built to last.” And it seems he may be right, as reviews for the fourth and final season were equally complimentary, with Sam Wollaston in the Guardian believing it drew to “a perfect, definitive – even beautiful – conclusion.”
First shown September 2011. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.