The Bridge Series-Blog: Week 2, Episodes 3 & 4

THE BRIDGE: Saturday 28th April, BBC4, 9pm

So a million people tuned in to watch the first double-helping of The Bridge last weekend, which is over ten times the amount of viewers who’ve been enjoying the channel’s old favourite Mad Men since it resumed elsewhere last month. Of course, the irony is that Sky spent roughly a million times more money on their publicity drive. Then again, Nordic-noir ™ sells itself these days, which is more than can be said for the Scandinavian countries in question. The TV companies behind these shows must be making a killing (as it were..) but their colleagues in the tourism department are probably tearing their hair out. Sweden and Denmark look like a bleak, industrial version of a Thatcherite Winterfell.

The people aren’t much better either. Martin aside – who’s “sexy in his way” according to a colleague – there are weirdos everywhere. And I’m not talking about the homeless people or Saga, who despite what the writers say, might as well be wearing a t-shirt with the word ‘Asperger’s’ written on it. No folks, I’m talking about Stefan, a man who looks like a malevolent Starsky & Hutch villain, and one of this week’s many new characters, the strange samurai-sword wielding oddball who lives in an empty – and very secure – flat. Every time one of these fruit loops crosses our path, it’s impossible not to wonder whether they might be the killer. Thankfully it probably won’t be that simple.

Stefan could have been the Truth Teller, but that theory went out the window when his sister showed up. The strange man with the terrible memory was also in the frame for a bit, but it now seems that he might be working on the killer’s behalf. Besides, he’s a bit toooo crazy. One of his many issues is a terrible memory. I’m pretty sure that’s important. From his ninja ramblings, it looks like we’ll be finding out next week. As for his androgynous house mate? She’ll end up on the streets or being one of TT’s pawns.

Another thing that has become apparent at this early stage (although it may well pass) are a few similarities between The Bridge and Se7en (maybe this should’ve been called 5ive?). “This guy’s methodical, exacting, and worst of all, patient..” explained Morgan Freeman in that film and our guy certainly fits the same description. Incidentally, we can now be pretty certain that the killer is a man and he certainly gave Saga and Martin a beating towards the end of episode four. He also held a gun to Martin’s head but decided not to pull the trigger, alá Kevin Spacey in David Fincher’s dark thriller. One thing that Jon Doe never did was make a whole nation watch someone die a slow death. The power of that message and the powerlessness of the police was something to behold.

If the Truth Teller is looking for a bombshell murder to finish his cyclical sequence off, then I reckon that odious journalist Daniel Ferbe is a great shout. Not only does he represent a lot what’s wrong with society (“I’ve slagged off so many people!” he screamed last week) but he also seems to be developing and treasuring his connection to the killer in a rather perverse way. Now we think about it, he’s another weirdo. They’re everywhere. He does like Indiana Jones though, so maybe he’s not completely lost.

One character who is developing nicely is the recently bereaved Charlotte Soringer (who doesn’t look unlike Kim Cattrall). She started out as an embodiment of the Truth Teller’s mantra that ‘We’re not equal before the law’ ..or in her case, medical care. But she ended this episode by regaining some control and getting revenge on Goran and his daughter, who clearly knew about her dad’s affair.

Yet Martin Rohde is the real star. He’s a decent father and husband, a nice guy, a good cop, a tough cop when he needs to be and occasionally Saga’s carer. They are an obvious odd-couple, but on top of that, they also represent some of the crude cultural stereotypes which exist in Scandinavia. Apparently the Swedes see the Danish as loud and crass, while the Danes think their neighbours are boring and straight-laced. As within Britain, these pigeon-holes don’t stand up to much examination, but there’s no doubt that someone was trying to say something with these heavily-drawn characters. The plot thickens..