The Bridge: Series 2, Episode 1 Review

The Scandinavian drama returns with a ship full of secrets

The Bridge

© BBC/ZDF/Carolina Romare

The first episode from series two of ‘The Bridge’ can simply be described as cracking television. The Scandinavian crime drama manages to play its audience brilliantly and within the first few minutes, I was already hooked.

The series starts thirteen months after the end of the first. Within the opening shots of the episode, we are hit with a solid dose of drama as a ship steadily heads towards a busy and bustling public bridge. This bridge is in fact the Oresund Bridge and formed the basis of the first series, connecting Sweden and Denmark and thus connecting the police forces from both areas. As the ship steadily approaches the bridge, every effort is made to stop the collision. But alas, efforts are ineffectual, and a collision occurs. From this, an untold amount of drama unfolds, as aboard this ship is a cargo of abductees, shackled to the ships sides. Gradually, the episode unfolds and the plot develops as we are thrown headfirst into an extensive investigation.

The scenery for most of the episode is grey, which really adds to our anticipation and the feel of the programme. Furthermore, the way in which the episode is filmed is also really exciting. It’s sort of fly on the wall but more edgy than that. There are some beautifully lined up shots where we get a glimpse of the gritty scenery, and then there are the shots in the police department, which are almost as if the camera has been hidden and is just managing to follow the action.

What is so brilliant about the episode and, hopefully, what will be so great about the series, is the way it plays out and unfolds, a bit like a puzzle. Indeed, most crime dramas follow this format, but what’s so great about The Bridge, is that it’s hugely and beautifully layered. It’s subtle, so when two layers are paired together it’s exciting rather than two storylines simply crashing together, head on. At first, the varied characters and action look and feel as though they are never going to be connected. It’s very subtle and effective, and ultimately very well written. Indeed, to work as a drama on so many TV screens across so many parts of the world, it had to be well written.

The characterisation is also fantastic. Having not viewed the first series, I was unfamiliar with the cast, but quickly became fascinated by them all. Saga, the lead investigator, played by Sofia Helin was hugely powerful, cold and independent, which leads you to question how she is going to cope now she’s moved in with her boyfriend and therefore having to share her space. Saga works with Martin, played by Kim Bodnia (and this relationship brings with it a lot of throwback to the first series). Their partnership has obviously evolved and is based around what has happened to them both during their previous investigations. This unlikely pairing is really interesting and I’m excited to watch it develop over the course of the series.

The episode reaches its climax at the end, with the revelation that a pneumonic plague has broken out in the local area and that all those who have come into contact with the abductees must be kept quarantined in hospital…which includes most of the characters we have been introduced too during the episode. It’s all very exciting and fast paced… the puzzle is beginning to form and the pieces are starting to fall into place.