The Bridge – BBC iPlayer – Four Seasons

There’s something enchanting about how Hans Rosenfelt’s serial crime thriller Broen/Bron burns slowly, reminiscent of a fire in the cold Scandinavian night sky, giving viewers a bleak, replete outlook of life amidst the opaque murderous underbellies of Copenhagen and Malmo- cities connected not only by the Oresund link but by a host of nefarious forces actively striving to terrorise their citizens for personal vendettas or political gain.

Sofia Helin plays misunderstood and “odd” CID officer Saga Norén, a genius who is inflicted with Aesperger syndrome and conflicted about being ethically compromised when encountering the questionable investigatory tactics of her friends Martin Rhode (portrayed by Kim Bodnia) and Henrik Sabroe (depicted by Thure Lindhardt). Her direct nature, brutal honesty and frankness are bristly to deal with for the other characters to experience and joyously cringeworthy to view.

Encountering scepticism and ignorant colleagues at every turn, Saga is tasked with hunting down a serial killer whose sordid ideals seek to expose societal flaws (season 1), a group of eco-terrorists (season 2), a maniacal, justice seeking, revenge incentivised murderer (season 3) and an unhinged loner with a dark secret (season 4); all while struggling to navigate petty departmental politics and national rivalry.

The true art of The Bridge comes in the form of its simplicity and avoidance of hyperbole driven, unrealistic storylines. The cases are complex enough to unpick, thought provoking enough to make you feel part of the investigation and satisfyingly fulfilling upon “the big reveal”. Rosenfelt has a knack for hiding clues in plain sight, capable of reeling in armchair sleuths who think they have it all figured out only to gaslight us time and time again. How he manages to do this without resorting to sensationalism or jumping the shark is part of this show’s genius. Similarly, his casting of master villains (often woven into a menagerie of dislikeable and personally flawed antagonists and protagonists) never fails to keep you second guessing.

Far from doing anything to support either city’s tourist boards, throughout all 38 episodes the way each scene is framed makes the audience feel endangered. Crime dramas rarely make me feel unsafe however, there were numerous occasions where I was grateful that I don’t have to pound the icy abyss of night searching for unpleasant people.

Knowing when to call it a day certainly helps the narrative, it felt as if the writers had a clear outline of a four season story arc and aside from the clunky transition from season 3 to season 4 (incorporating Saga’s own personal battles) the whole thing is perfectly paced. I would highly recommend adding this to your watch list; perhaps for full effect save it for a dark wintery night later in the year.

Viewed: August 2021

Rating: 9/10

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