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Swedish/Drama Crime Drama “The Bridge” Season 2 Is Here!

Bridge 2

Good News Swedish noir thriller fans! “The Bridge” Season 2 is now up and out from the ever-surprising MHz videos! “The Bridge” Season One was one of the best of its’ kind. A hum-dinger of a thrill ride starting with the body of a dead woman found on the Oresund Bridge, right on the demarcation line on the Bridge that marks one side as Sweden and the other as Denmark, therefore involving police of both countries.
The kicker was that it was not one woman’s body, but two. Placed together to seem one corpse. The one on the Swedish side was a high-placed Swedish/Icelandic  politico, and the other half of the body, the lower half ,was a Danish prostitute. Symbolically setting up what was to be a season long twisty mystery that bound the two countries police forces together to solve this grisly crime.
And it also introduced us to two unlikely crime-solving partners. One, the beauteous blonde young Swede Saga Noren  of the Malmo police and the other the bear-like, grizzled, middle-agaed Danish investigator Martin Rohde.
Played by the excellent Sofia Helin as Saga, The seemingly perfect Saga is not all she seems. Saga is an intense workaholic, and incredibly dogged and bright, but socially inept at everything except sex. Saga now seems to be a victim of Aspergrer’s Syndrome.
Kim Bodnia, an equally adept Danish character actor, plays Martin with a deep, earth-shaking anguish this season because of certain events that culminated on Bridge 1.He’s a family man, and we now see him separated from his good wife Mette (Puk Scarbau), and his children. He’s living in a hotel and doesn’t like it and flriting with the new female cop, Pernille, as he fights his inner demons of his tortured  recent past..
“The Bridge” 2 continues this Swedish/Danish conceit with a freighter sent crashing into one of the abutments of the Oresund Bridge, with no one on board, except six nearly dead students, who seem to be infected with the pneumonic plague, as they call it here. (Do they mean bubonic?)
The body count grows and grows and the charismatic duo of   Helin and Bodnia hold us as they go on one extreme assignment after the other.
Saga now has a live-in boy-friend, who she characteristically doesn’t get along with. And Martin reconciles, then de-reconciles with his understanding wife, who now has learned one important thing. It’s very dangerous to be married to a Danish policeman.
This hit Scandinavian TV series has been seen all over the world, and is spoken in both Swedish and Danish,with English sub- titles.Though I speak neither language, “The Bridge” is making me wish I did. Maybe I’ll take a class.
There is also a strong Lesbian sub-plot much to my(and the audience’s) surprise. But no spoilers here. I will say however that “The Bridge” does strain credulity with Martin’s constant visits, for no apparent reason, to see the mastermind/killer of Season One in prison. Played by the excellent actor Lars Simonson, he is a subtle enough performer to suggest many things. Including the deep relationship that led them both to the place (a prison) where they are now meeting face-to-face at Martin’s insistence over and over again for the entire length of the series. The Danish prison cell of the killer looked like a rather posh motel, I must say.
But the characters and the stories of Saga and her tormented counterpart Martin are enough to compel watching as the murders and catastrophes increase incrementally. They get along. They don’t get along. She’s an ice queen, but brilliant. He’s a big, warm, huggable, grizzly bear, but they do work well together,  and it is their unusual chemistry that keeps  “The Bridge” required viewing for all of you Swedish noir fans out there. I couldn’t stop watching all ten-hour long episodes.
And interestingly enough, too, most of the director/writing staff behing “The Bridge” is female, perhaps giving “The Bridge” its’ freshness and unique watchability.

“The Bridge” Mhz International Mysteries, Saving the Best for Last

BridgeChristian HilborgBridge 2I’ve been saving the best of the MHz International Mysteries for last, and it’s a humdinger, a nail-biter and as gripping as any James Bond thriller (and much more gory). It’s “The Bridge” or “Bron/Bronen”, a Swedish/Danish TV series that is now in its third season with no signs of stopping.

I’ve just finished the terr-rific first season and I can recommend it whole-heartedly for those of you who like the Steig Larson-ish take on modern Sweden, and in this case, too, modern Denmark.

It’s premise is intriguing and it is built around the gigantic Oresund bridge that now connects the Southern most tip of Sweden with Copenhagen. The Bridge is used as a symbol throughout as a bridge of understanding between the two Scandinavian countries. And also of crime-solving.

You see, a corpse of a woman has been found placed exactly on the demarcation line between the two countries during a black-out on The Bridge of the title. Since the dead woman is positioned exactly on the boundary(and she also turns out to be actually two halves of TWO dead women) both Swedish and Danish police have to be involved in this case that is truly an International Mystery. And neither likes or wants to be involved with the other! Typically, a Nordic dilemma, that is played out quite, quite entertainingly.

Sweden of course is represented by a beautiful blonde named Saga, played with great conviction and skill by Sofia Helin. Saga is almost robotic in the way that she treats crime and crime-solving and her personal life, too. “We have sex now?” she states almost mechanically when a guy approaches her in a bar. She doesn’t mince words, does Saga.

And she is known for blurting out the most intimate details of her own and her colleagues personal lives at the most inopportune moments, usually at staff meetings. It is to Sofia Helin’s credit that she makes the character of Saga continually believable and also trustworthy.

Her Danish counterpart is the much older Danish Police inspector Martin Rohde, who is always unshaven, looks like a rumpled, unmade bed, and frankly can’t stand working with Saga, whom he finds incredibly irritating. Saga feels she is always right and Martin hates to admit that she is. He is played marvelously by Danish character actor Kim Bodnia. Saga and Martin are like Beauty and the Beast. And Bodnia reminded me of the late, great James Gandolfini. But this time he’s a hard-working cop, not a criminal.

The series is in Swedish AND Danish and is constantly flipping back and forth between the two languages neither of which I speak. Danish and the Danes as a whole seem funkier and more guttural, more working class, if you will, than the high-brow Saga and the Swedes.

But they make for a VERY interesting crime=stopping couple, and in that sense “The Bridge” is quite character-driven, which I liked.

The crimes are horrific, too. The upper half of the torso of the first corpse(and there will be many of them as the series progresses) is a Swedish diplomat and politician. The lower Danish half is an unknown prostitute/drug- addict. Immediately, the dramatic dichotomy between the two countries is set up right at the get go.

One of the more ghastly murders takes places on TV sets in both countries as a gagged and bound-in-a-chair homeless man is slowing being bled to death on International TV by the murderer..

And there are other colorful characters who come and go throughout the episodes. Main among them was the  smarmy journalist Daniel Ferbe played by the charismatic Christian Hillborg(pictured above^) The murderer sets up contact with him early on, as the criminal mastermind behind all these killings is also trying to use Ferbe as a way to get his message about Swedish(and Danish) societal wrongs out via the media.

This first season was filmed and aired in 2011. I can’t wait for Series 2 and 3. Stay tuned! Love that Swedish noir! Or in this case I should say Scandinavian noir, since “The Bridge” involves both countries marvelously.

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