Television Review: The Bridge (Episodes 3 & 4)

Television Review: The Bridge (Episodes 1 & 2)
Television Review: The Bridge (Episodes 5 & 6)
Television Review: The Bridge (Episodes 7 & 8)

I had not intended to review each episode of this Scandinavian crime drama but it’s too good for that. The scenes keep replaying in my head and review-shaped sentences appear unbidden. Since resistance is futile, I give in.

Our killer with a conscience has been ticking off the items on his to-do list of social problems. In the first two episodes it was unequal justice for the rich and poor, and the scandal of homelessness in a wealthy society. Truth Terrorist, aka TT on the internet, addressed the former by murdering a Danish prostitute and a Swedish politician, then joined their bodies together on the Oresund Bridge linking Malmo and Copenhagen. For the latter, he handed out poisoned wine in both cities, killing 10 people in the process. But, as Martin’s son pointed out, everyone is talking about them now.

TT’s third point is that the rich don’t care about the poor – specifically, how much is a man’s life worth? To that end, he kidnaps a homeless man, Bjorn, and bleeds him to death in front of an internet camera. If  four wealthy property investors from both countries stump up 20 million krona, he will stop the bleeding, probably not expecting them to pay. Unfortunately for Bjorn, one of the four is the newly-widowed Charlotte. If you thought she was a cold piece of work from the way she rode roughshod over medical ethics to get her husband a new heart, you won’t be disappointed. Charlotte talks her fellow plutocrats into refusing the offer “on principle.” Then, discovering that Goran was having an affair, and her step-daughter, Maja, knew about it, agrees to pay the whole amount herself. Just to reduce Maja’s inheritance. Lovely woman. But it’s too late for Bjorn, whose heart stops, though technically TT did stop the bleeding and carry out his part of the bargain.

Unfortunate for Saga and Martin as well, but more so for Martin. They encounter him leaving the abandoned factory and he beats them both up, kicking Martin in the balls when he continues the pursuit. Opening up his vasectomy stitches in the process. I wish they wouldn’t show stuff like that on television – it’s excruciating to watch and you can’t help feeling the pain.

The relationship between Saga and Martin is evolving. I’d been concerned that Saga would not develop as a character because of her autism. What the script very cleverly does is to allow Martin to get under her skin a bit, tweaking the areas of her dogmatic certainty and perhaps making her think. She gets quite upset trying to reconcile the imperative suggested by Martin to protect her colleagues – “Let’s be clear. I am a colleague” – with a strict application of police procedure. Hence her plaintive, “I’ve double-checked. They prioritize the same way.” Martin also demonstrates the importance of small gestures like buying a colleague flowers on their birthday. The other people she works with probably don’t make the attempt.

I find Saga fascinating. I love her honesty and that wide-eyed look she gets when people persist in being so totally incomprehensible. Explaining to the plutocrats why they should pay the 20 million krona, for example. “You stockpile your money and take no social responsibility.” Spot on, and exactly why she’s internalized “I’m not cut out for management,” when Martin gently probes her feelings about a possible promotion arising from the case. She doesn’t have a political bone in her body.

But she is an excellent detective, and disturbingly like the profiler’s picture of TT. When her boss, Hans, says what a great detective she is, Saga comes out with this. “Extremely focused. Single. Successful. Clearly defined targets. Good at planning.” “Exactly,” Hans replies, but Saga is in fact talking about TT.

Martin, meanwhile, is recovering back home in Copenhagen, only to find that Mette is pregnant again. Pre-vasectomy. Their delight is touching, even if they are still pretending there’s still a decision to be made. Then Saga calls in the middle of the night to point out that if TT didn’t kill him at the factory, then it probably means he needs Martin for something else. Quiet contentment at the thought of a new baby is instantaneously replaced by fear for his family and himself. Now it’s personal.

The subplots are bubbling away nicely. Stefan is still looking a bit suspicious, lurking about the hospital after visiting his sister, Sonja. And he gets a call from Soren, drug addict and wife-beater, whose wife, Veronika, he’s just found a safe house in the country for. The jury’s out on Stefan. He’s tall enough to be TT, and he worked at the Men’s Hostel where Bjorn used to live.

Daniel Ferbe, the scumbag tabloid reporter through whom TT’s messages are relayed, is developing as a man with a vestigial social conscience. One of his discarded headlines is “They’re Killing Bjorn,” over pictures of the four plutocrats.

August is looking to be someone TT can manipulate, given his geekery and sympathy with the killer’s social aims. Thus getting to Martin who, if Saga is correct, TT has a use for.

There are a three new characters who are obviously going to become more involved. Henning, a corrupt Danish cop who witnessed a racist beating, is about testify against his fellow conspirators. Anja is a teenage girl, running away from home and two of the most selfish, stupid, and immature parents any child could have the misfortune to be born to. She’s taken in by Lasse, or Samurai Guy, as I like to think of him. His apartment is practically bare of furniture, except for a bed. Even the computer is on the floor. He’s very odd, given to memory lapses when he can’t remember what Anja is doing there, and he’s obviously highly medicated. Quite likable in Anja’s eyes. But once you start putting things together…Coming back from a walk, Anja bumps into a tall man in black leaving the apartment building. He looks very much like TT. Then Lasse tells her that “No One” just left and did she see him? He’s the “Master.” Furthermore, Lasse has an important mission next day, and he tells her the apartment will be all hers after that. Then you see what was in the package he received earlier – a razor-sharp samurai sword.

So I think we have an inkling of what will happen next week, though I haven’t a clue as to what social problem the mayhem will illuminate.

Over a thousand words when I hadn’t intended to write any, and all of them enjoyable. I like The Bridge.

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