Friday, 13 April 2012

The Bridge series 1 PREVIEW

Saga (Sofia Helin) and Martin (Kim Bodnia) and the Bridge. Pics: BBC
Rating: ★★★★½

BBC4, starts Saturday, 21 April, 9pm 

Story: The body of a woman is found on Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark. An uneasy pairing of detectives from each country, Saga Norén (Sweden) and Martin Rohde (Denmark), must join forces to stop the killer.

Once again it looks as though Nordic TV noir is giving British television honchos a lesson in making drama that is ambitious, multi-storied and suspenseful with this new 10-part Swedish/Danish co-production.

It begins hauntingly on Oresund Bridge, which links the two countries, when the body of a woman is found laid across a line marking the border between them. BBC4 is starting the series with a double bill that introduces cleverly woven storylines centring on a very disfunctional pairing of a female cop from Sweden and a male one from Denmark.

From the opening moments it is captivating and mysterious, with the city nightscapes filmed stunningly to give both international settings an eerie, alienating quality.

Detective Rohde at the scene of the grisly crime
Saga wears leather trousers and drives a Porsche
Oresund Bridge is an impressive modern structure, but when its night-time lights go out for almost a minute we know something bad is about to happen. When they come on again, the body of a woman, a leading politician from Malmo, is discovered.

The two detectives, Saga Norén and Martin Rohde, meet and decide it's a Swedish case. He returns home, but when Saga's team try to move the body they make a shocking and grisly discovery that means the Swedes and Danes have to work together. It's as though the murderer has planned it this way.

Saga is, as one of her colleagues puts it mildly, 'a bit odd'. Blonde, wearing leather trousers and driving a Porsche, she is more like Star Trek's Spock than a Nordic detective. Lacking tact, self-awareness (she constantly strips down to her bra in the office to change her top) or diplomacy, she operates purely on logic.

Who is the moustachioed man?
'She's a bit odd' – Saga
And what a team she makes with Martin. She talks to her Danish colleague as though he were a child. When he says he can't sit in her office because he has just had a vasectomy – though he has just sat in his car to drive over to her – she tells him he makes her uncomfortable. 'Pretend the seat is your car.'

How did the killer dim the bridge's lights? How many victims will there be? And in another storyline, who is the moustachioed man offering a hiding place in the country to a battered wife and her son? The killer? There is a potent mystery to unravel here.

Episode one finishes with a pulsating scene in which an obnoxious journalist is trapped in a boobytrapped car while bomb-disposal experts try to free him.

Finally, the killer delivers a message to Saga and Martin. 'We've got interesting times ahead of us…'

You can say that again.