One of the most successful of this decade’s Nordic noir offerings, The Bridge has set the standard for absorbing and, at times, repellent crime dramas. Inventive murders, complex detectives and twists that completely redefine the series are all hallmarks of the Swedish/Danish co-production, which as well as being screened around the world has been adapted into multiple localised versions.
Season one’s crime scene was literally on a bridge
And not just any bridge, but the eight kilometre Øresund Bridge, which connects Danish capital Copenhagen and Swedish city Malmö. When a corpse was found in the dead (sorry!) centre of the bridge, detectives from both cities’ police departments had to work the case together. It’s almost as if the killer had the spin-off TV adaptation in mind…
Representing Denmark was Martin Rohde
Jovial, charismatic and incredibly fertile, Detective Martin Rhode (Kim Bodnia) might have come across as laidback, but he was every bit as committed to solving the case as his more obsessive partner…
Swedish detective Saga Norén
Her single-minded fixation on work and flouting of societal norms are just two of the characteristics that make Saga (Sofia Helin) compelling. She uses men for sex rather than pursue a romantic relationship, views things in terms of black and white and is unflinchingly honest.
Saga is not really a people person
More bodies were to come… including a victim who was close to home for Martin
As the hunt for the killer unfolded, the body count rose. Not only was the original severed corpse revealed to be halves of two different bodies, but the murderer, Jens Hansen (Lars Simonsen), committed further murders with the aim of bringing attention to what he perceived as social problems. Or so he claimed. His final victim was August Rohde (Emil Birk Hartmann, above), Martin’s eldest child, making it clear he was actually out for revenge against former best friend Martin.
Amazingly, a second crime requiring inter-departmental co-operation followed not long after
Saga recruited a bereaved Martin to assist her when a ship crashed into the titular bridge – yep, the same one – containing five people (a convenient mix of Swedes and Danes) in chains. The incident, which resulted in the deaths of all five, was just one of a series of elaborately staged killings committed by an eco-terrorist group with a penchant for animal masks.
Season two ended with a shock twist
While the investigation continued, Martin visited Jens in prison, hoping for some sign of remorse from the man who killed his son. When Jens was later found dead, it was a suspected suicide, but Saga thought Martin was responsible and he was arrested, presumably following a tip-off from her.
If you haven't seen season three of The Bridge, stop reading (spoilers for season three continue below) and watch the entire season at SBS On Demand:
For season three’s international case, Saga got a new partner… who didn’t last long
And another, who was coming to terms with a family tragedy
Assigned to assist Saga in investigating a series of murders in which the victims were posed to mirror specific artworks was Danish detective Henrik Sabroe (Thure Lindhardt), whose wife and two daughters had been missing for six years.
Saga’s own dark past caught up with her
When Saga’s estranged mother turned up, suggesting that Saga’s emotional detachment was the reason for her sister killing herself, it made an already fraught relationship even more difficult. Suspicion fell on Saga when her mother was discovered dead and, once again, an apparent suicide was thought to actually be murder – this time with Saga as the perpetrator. Season three ended with a distraught Saga contemplating suicide herself.
Season four of The Bridge starts Thursday 1 March at 10:25pm on SBS. The entire fourth season (as well as the third) is now streaming at SBS On Demand: