I am, it has to be said, having difficulty coming up with the words to describe the original Scandinavian version of The Bridge after completing the 10 episodes of Season One available on Hulu and Hulu Plus.
Complete and utter brilliance and very, very European is about the best I can do after watching this mesmerizing show. I’d watched the first two episodes a couple of years ago, but for a variety of reasons hadn’t continued. That was a mistake.
Staring Sofia Helin and Kim Bodina as Swedish detective Saga Noren and Danish investigator Martin Rohde respectively, The Bridge opens with the discovery of a body in the middle of the Oresund Bridge that connects Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen with Malmo in southern Sweden. As such the two jurisdictions, and the detectives, are forced to work in conjunction when the situation turns out to be a little more involved than first anticipated.
While we get to know the various idiosyncrasies of the two detectives, particularly of Noren who displays certain characteristics of Asperger syndrome, The Bridge also offers two other seemingly unconnected storylines. These are of social worker Stefan Lindberg and of property developer Goran Soringer and his wife Charlotte. Unlike a standard mystery where there are levels of complexity to be broken down, or multiple suspects to decipher, here the stories of Lindberg and Soringer are folded into the main plot in a style that is beautifully crafted. I don’t want to say more as to spoil the show, but creator and writer Hans Rosenfeldt is quite brilliant as he adds in plot strands that initially take on great significance and then slowly recede, but with crucial echoes remaining throughout the show.
Helin is superb as Noren, presenting a nuanced performance with an excellent delivery of both the physical portrayal and the dialogue. Actors, and acting teachers, often talk about using the body as a physical instrument in conveying the material and Helin just shines in this regard. Bodina too comes across well as the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Rohde, contrasting well with the by-the-book Noren.
The Bridge is Not Rated and viewers should note that there is some casual nudity and one sex scene although it fits correctly within the context of the characters involved.
This is a series well worth your time, with each of the 10 episodes 60 minutes in length. The first four episodes are currently on the free Hulu service and a new episode is made available each Tuesday; or like me you can subscribe to Hulu Plus and watch the entire series in one sitting rather than wait the next six weeks.
– Wallace Poulter