We need to talk about The Bridge (Bron | Broen). My love for Scanda crime drama is reignited with the second season of this Danish/Swedish collaboration that has spawned not only one but TWO English speaking adaptations. Though the US version was expected, I was surprised to see that the UK had one too. I don’t begrudge it – because the British version (The Tunnel – the channel tunnel between England and France) basically follows the story of the first series to a T: In the original Denmark and Sweden – divided by a bridge – sets the scene and the locations after a dead body is found between the borders . Law enforcers from both sides work together to crack the case. The original is a perfectly fantastic show in its own right, but I understand that adaptations are great exposure and recognition for Scandinavian productions on a whole; also the original is strictly Scanda. When Borgen (Danish political drama that, considering its subject matter, has no choice but to speak to a wide audience) brought in an English cast member in its third season, the language barrier and the shows attempts to accommodate was jarring. As a result the show lost some of its isolated charm. The beauty of The Bridge is there are no allowances made to please potential audiences on the outside, and why should it? If you have a general appreciation for good storytelling, beautiful production and common sense to keep up with the subtitles, then you’re winning; and how quiet it all is, almost in the vein of Swedish crime series Wallander. It’s also incredible to look at with its clean framing and vast stark landscapes I had to share the photos from both seasons: The first season is more dark in tone, personal in theme and tragic in outcome. Set mainly in the ominous, quirky streets of Copenhagen, we’re treated to cul-de-sac suburbs, wood panelled houses and cosy interiors. In Season 2, Malmö’s stark ports take centre stage. The industrial, minimal landscapes and neutral colours (arguably a style mass-produced by the country’s biggest export, IKEA) is juxtaposed against the vibrant blood splattering and dark suited killers that emerge in various scenes. The two leads, Martin and Saga are a brilliant contribution to the long-standing odd couple cop convention. Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) is fast becoming a favourite TV character of mine. She is the heroine of this series. Her social ineptitude, android-like movement and logical behaviour are the ingredients for a truly unique female character in a lead. Unlike awkward detectives such as Monk or crazy scientists ala Walter from Fringe, there are no whacky eccentricities to Saga. It’s all very scandi – nuanced and mysterious – it’s never revealed if she has Aspergers, but the inclination is that she’s probably on the spectrum. She’s a character with a host of little oddities that slowly, as the show goes on, blossom and beguile, turning into a solid mould of a complex character. She gets things done, and has little or no reaction to the conventional obstacles thrown at female protagonists. Instead the family woes and heartbreak are reserved for her flawed, male colleague – Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia).
BRON || BROEN