The Bridge Series-Blog: Week 5, Episodes 9 & 10

THE BRIDGE: Saturday 19 May, BBC4, 9pm

*Read last week’s blog here*

There’s an Agatha Christie novel, I forget which one, in which the killer is revealed to be the estranged husband of one of the other characters. He’s been there throughout the book, but she’s just failed to recognise him. It’s remembered as a rare swizz from the Queen of Crime and there was more than a hint of it in the two-part conclusion to The Bridge.

It’s a bit of a cheat to introduce so many key elements so late in the plot. Martin’s earlier infidelity might have been nicely teed up, but in a mystery thriller you need to feel as if you could have got there first, even if you never do. Thematically, the murderer being Martin’s cuckolded best friend makes perfect sense, drawing together as it does the A-plot, and the recurring theme of relationships and their cruelties. In modern detective drama, the investigation invariably gets personal, and Saga and Martin had done well to remain detached for so long.

Speaking of Saga, her quest to first understand and then appreciate the importance of interpersonal relationships proved to be one of the show’s most gratifying threads. The way Martin came to rely on her so completely as his own life fell apart showed how far their own relationship had come since she reported him five weeks ago – even if, once or twice, you expected her to cock her head to one side and ask, “What is this thing you humans call… ‘love’?â€? A second series has already been commissioned and it remains to be seen whether the show’s producers can continue to handle Saga so deftly: the moment she fully appreciates other people, she’s lost her hook. It’ll be “Moonlightingâ€? all over again.

The impact of Jens’s actions on the general public was never really milked as much as it might have been. Beyond some kids burning down a shoe shop, we never got a “Dark Knightâ€?-stylee sense of society being ripped apart by its own hypocrisies. It was a fascinating and compelling concept, but never exploited to its full extent. So, it probably didn’t matter too much that it all turned out to be a feint. Jens’s vendetta against Martin may have been a more traditional slice of melodrama, but it was infinitely better played. Revenge is one of the oldest and most compelling emotions, and a starchy, affluent businessman made for a very 2012 villain.

Perhaps we were all looking in the wrong direction the past five weeks. Like Jens, it made us think we were playing a completely different game. It was never really about the identity of Frida or which if any of Saga’s sleepover friends was the killer. It was about Martin and August, Mette and Jens, Frida and Anton, and all the rest. It wasn’t talking about how the government treats the homeless, but how we treat those we love. And the red trousers. It was all about the red trousers.

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