The new pick of the Scandi-noirs has Callum Burroughs intrigued.
At a depressing time where various high level security organisations are able to monitor your every move, where the weather appears to have been designed by mocking, sadistic children and where, for many the grey month of January is synonymous with grey days and exams, it is important to think of positives.
Evidently this scenario is perfect for the latest instalment of every young, liberal, euro-loving tv hipster’s favourite genre. Scandinavian drama.
Yes, since the arrival of The Killing and Borgen to our screens from our former Viking cousins, we have become accustomed to dark and often chilling scenes of Nordic crime and death live in our homes. It is not however all doom and gloom, as The Bridge returns for a second series on BBC 4.
The Bridge’s first series was met with interest, the next in the stellar line of Norse television and it didn’t disappoint. Despite the arguments that these excellent TV dramas should be scheduled at better times on BBC 1 or 2 to gain new audiences, the show continues on BBC 4.
The Danish/Swedish production was smooth and compelling, combining two different natural psyches in our two protagonists Martin Rhode (Kim Bodnia) and Saga Noren (Sofia Helin), the Danish and Swedish (respectively) police officers charged with investigating the confounding case of one body, with one person’s torso and another’s legs found on the Oresund bridge which connects Copenhagen and Malmo.
Striking attention to detail, inherent political symbolism and intent as well as various degrees of social commentary, The Bridge was seen as an adaptation of the apparently decided differences between Danes and Swedes. This has recently been replicated plot and all for British audiences with Sky’s The Tunnel, which features Britain and France as the key countries involved.
This second series starts, rather surprisingly with a boat, or as Saga is at pains to point out a ship due to its size and length etc, thank you Saga. As many people’s hearts were palpitating, the director thought it wise to have the ship begin to sail toward the bridge, despite calls from the harbour master to avert its course. Why didn’t it change course?! Ah: there’s no crew, cue intense music and the beginnings of another series full of mystery.
This second offering was as expected full of the same intrigue as the first episode, though we feel much stronger interest in some of the new characters, whilst sympathising with the plight of the old.
The exposition of some of the key emotional issues in daily life, love and loss are keenly explored throughout the relationships on screen and as the plot remains as gripping as ever, while the idea of having what appears to be a cell of domestically based and driven murderers is chilling, and their cause is of course one of interest, knowingly or not to everyone on the planet.
The Bridge is at pains not to take strong sides over the environmental issue, especially as Scandinavia is one of the few places with a strong ecological record over the last few decades and are constantly moving to improve their emissions and pollution statistics.
Having said this, the view given of the environmental movement and especially of activists is relatively bleak and if anything a bit dismissive.
Evidently some of the more startling aspects will begin to take shape as part of an overarching investigation that crime dramas tend to specialise in. As the series begins to flower, we’ll no doubt be treated to some of the best that Scandinavia has to offer.
Callum Burroughs, Online Music Editor