Having now been six years since The Bridge first launched on SBS, it is easy to forget just how much of an impact the show has had globally. While The Killing and Borgen certainly opened up our eyes to the sophistication of compelling Nordic Noir TV dramas, The Bridge upped the ante in creating an event out of watching crime drama.
It started with an elaborate conceit that transcended its gimmickry, with Swedish police detective Saga Norén teamed up with Danish detective Martin Rohde to solve the mystery of who left a body in the middle of the Øresund, a bridge linking their two countries together. And on the bridge: a corpse comprised of two-halves. One half a Swedish victim placed on the Danish side of the bridge, and the other half a Danish victim placed on the Swedish side.
It was a novel idea for a crime drama and an idea that sparked the imagination of TV producers the world over. In addition to the show airing in 174 different countries, the series was also adapted into multiple foreign versions. The idea of a drama bringing together countries that share a border to solve a murder-mystery that equally impacts both actually translated nicely to a number of other territories. The US quickly launched its own version set on a border between El Paso in Texas and its neighbouring Mexican city Juárez. Soon after, The Tunnel, a remake set in the Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France together began. There was also a Russian remake bringing together Russian and Estonian detectives.
Reviews were strong when the series began:
"Beautifully shot in a permanent crepuscular gloom, this was more than a detective story, it was a complex tale of two cultures. And it suggested that it will take more than a bridge to overcome the gulf between them."
- Benjamin Secher, The Guardian (2012)
And the reviews continued to speak enthusiastically of the show up to its end this year:
"No, the end is perfect, definitive and beautiful. It avoids schmaltz and death, and features the three stars who have been there from the very beginning. One is human, the creation of [Writer Hans] Rosenfeldt; the others are works of engineering, mechanical and structural."
- Sam Wollaston, The Guardian (2018)
It's time to discover, or rediscover, what has made The Bridge such compelling television over the past six years, TV that has brought nations together at a time where border politics have proven so fragile across the world.
A woman is found murdered in the middle of the Øresund Bridge - right on the border between Sweden and Denmark. What looks at first to be one murder, however, turns out to be two. The body has been cut off at the waist and joined together - half of it belongs to a Swedish politician and the other half to a Danish prostitute. A team of inspectors from Sweden and Denmark join together in a desperate search for the killer.
Season 2 of The Bridge sees world-weary Danish inspector Martin Rhode team up once again with young, smart, yet emotionally disconnected Swedish inspector Saga Norén 13 months after the events of the first season. In episode one, a coastal tanker leaves the Öresund waterway and is headed straight for the Øresund Bridge. When the Coast Guard board the ship they discover there is no crew, and three Swedish and two Danish youths are chained below deck.
Saga Norén is still working at Malmö County Police, but she misses her only friend Martin Rohde who is serving a ten year prison sentence. Saga, however, is convinced that she did the only right thing by reporting him, and that she cannot be associated with a convicted murderer. The story starts with when a famous Danish gender activist and owner of Copenhagen’s first gender-neutral children's nursery is found murdered on a building site in Malmö. Saga is forced to work with a new Danish colleague, who has difficulties in accepting Saga for who she is.
Set two years after Season 3, this fourth and final season starts with the discovery of a woman who was brutally murdered on Pepparholm Island at the base of the bridge. Henrik seeks out an imprisoned Saga, and he wants her to help him with the new case, but Saga points to the fact that she isn't a police officer anymore and can't help him. The same goes for Henrik’s missing children, and he is close to giving up the search.