The Bridge Season 1 begins with the lights on the Øresund Bridge going out; a lone car stops and, 45 seconds later, it’s off again.
A body is found slap bang in the middle of the divide between Sweden and Denmark. To complicate matters further, the body is in two halves and they’re each not from the same person. The top half is Kerstin Ekwall, the Chairman of Malmö City Council in Sweden, while the lower half belongs to a Danish prostitute.
As the first episode steadily comes together, we find Danish family man, Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia, who reminds me a bit of George Galloway) and Swedish single woman, Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) end up assigned to the case and are instantly at loggerheads when they close the road going over the bridge and a woman, Charlotte Söringer (Ellen Hillingsø) really needs to get through because her husband is in an ambulance and is due a heart swap operation imminently. Without it, he’ll die, but wouldn’t it technically contamine the crime scene?
Elsewhere in the first episode, there’s a journalist, Daniel Ferbé (Christian Hillborg), who becomes involuntarily in contact with the killer and finds himself trapped in his black 4×4 with a bomb about to go off – a scene in which the tension is unmatched compared to a great deal of recent drama I have seen, when his own main car was used to dump the two body halves on the bridge. So, why should he have to suffer when someone else used his vehicle? Either way, Saga wants to ask him about one of the deceased as the second tick down. Is there any chance she can get him to calm down and help in his dying seconds? You’d like to think so, but her methods are cold and she is an emotionless person, compared to Martin’s personality being very warm and inviting.
In fact, watching Martin and Saga try and work together, when they clearly don’t get on, is like watching David Cameron and Nick Clegg trying to form a coalition government. Saga is very aloof and doesn’t want to invite Martin in to her world and her thought process. She also practically *lives* in her office, with a ready supply of changes of tops in her drawer. As the two attempt to get on, they talk about the minituae of their lives and there’s some very engaging writing here as the two leads spark off each other.
Elsewhere, when it’s announced to the Swedish team that Martin and Saga will work together, one worker says, “Does he know that she’s…. a bit odd?”, to which the one announcing replies, “If not, he’ll soon find out.”
And when the police do hear from the bomber, the message is recorded using a distorted voice, threatening “interesting times” ahead. He wants to point out five problems with the world, starting with the curious words, “Unequal before the law”. But what does it mean? And what will be the next ones?
I love the interplay between the two leads and also the way in which the writers bring in new characters who seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, but as the episodes progress, you eventually realise the reason for their inclusion. In addition to Charlotte and her husband, there’s Stefan Lindberg (Magnus Krepper, sporting a very ’70s haircut and ‘tache) looking for his sister, Sonja (Maria Sundbom) and young emo Anja Björk (Fanny Ketter) searching for any family member who’ll give a damn about her.
Presented in the original 16:9 ratio, the picture perfectly captures the grim and grey-looking Danish and Swedish suburbs, almost feeling a part of the 1970s just like Stefan Lindberg’s dress sense.
The sound is in Dolby ProLogic and is fine for what it does, getting across the dialogue (even though I need the subtitles to understand it), plus plenty of atmosphere.
Sadly, there are no extras on this release, so technically the overall score loses points for that, but overall this is another quality drama well worth seeing.
The menu features links to the five episodes on each of the two discs, with the theme playing in the background and subtle animation of clouds on the background against the image of the bridge itself.
And yes, there’s two discs in the package. The packshot says three, but there’s only two.
Naturally, there are subtitles in English, which are burnt into the print, so if you are Danish/Swedish and have bought this, you’ll find you can’t switch them off. Chapters are thin on the ground with just 6 per 60-minute episode.
Running time: 10 * 60 minutes
Released: May 21st 2012
Cat no: FCD617
Chapters: 6 per episode
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Pro Logic
Languages: Danish, Swedish
Disc Format: 2*BD50
Directors: Henrik Georgsson, Charlotte Sieling and Lisa Siwe
Producers: Gunnar Carlsson, Bo Ehrhardt and Anders Landström
Series writing credits: Camilla Ahlgren, Måns Mårlind, Hans Rosenfeldt, Nikolaj Scherfig and Björn Stein
Music: Patrik Andrén, Uno Helmersson and Johan Söderqvist
Saga Norén: Sofia Helin
Martin Rohde: Kim Bodnia
Daniel Ferbé: Christian Hillborg
Stefan Lindberg: Magnus Krepper
Sonja Lindberg: Maria Sundbom
Mette Rohde: Puk Scharbau
August Rohde: Emil Birk Hartmann
Åke: Kristian Lima de Faria
Charlotte Söringer: Ellen Hillingsø
Göran Söringer: Dietrich Hollinderbäumer
Anja Björk: Fanny Ketter
John: Rafael Pettersson
Gry: Anette Lindbäck
Navid: Said Legue
Anne: Kristina Brändén
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.