Mesmerised by the Scandinavian Saga of 'The Bridge'

A series in which Swedes and Danes work solving gruesome crimes at opposite ends of the bridge connecting them, it also boasts a towering central performance

Share

It’s not often we talk about the nation’s number one pastime, but it’s not just because I am launching a television channel (on 31 March if you are within the M25: Freeview 8, Sky 117, Virgin 159) that I thought we should discuss the goggle box.

Not just any old thing, mind; for that there already is a brilliant show named Gogglebox. No, this is specific. It’s not even a plug for a show really, although I love it; more to recommend a stunning performance that proved the only distraction from the moving-home-hell last week in the pouring rain.

You will know I have a thing for the Saturday night foreign drama slot on BBC Four: Inspector Montalbano – young or older – The Killing, Spiral, the magnificent Borgen, and now, the outstanding season two of The Bridge (recently adapted here as The Tunnel, starring that girl off the Harry Potter films all grown up).

The Bridge is the series in which Swedes and Danes work together to solve gruesome crimes at opposite ends of the giant Oresund bridge connecting them. It is as layered as a lasagne, with everyone’s back story being infinitely more fascinating than – say – the long “jumped the shark” Silent Witness.

The towering, mesmerising performance I’m talking about is Sofia Helin’s as Saga, the quite brilliant but entirely emotionally unintelligent, socially inept and personally detached detective.

Last Saturday’s watch-through-your-fingers Saga gems included dragging a shooting victim out of hospital for a re-enactment that led to a relapse; needing lessons from her work partner Martin in what to say to her boyfriend Jakob’s visiting mother; solving the mystery of the blood in Martin’s son’s pee by knowing mysteriously that it was Munchausen’s syndrome; staying at a hotel for “personal space”, and then, when returning to the apartment after his mother arrives, insisting on sex with Jakob, despite mum being nearby in the open plan flat. It is riveting writing and acting. She asks her junior colleague why he said he was “working on it”? “So, you are telling me you are doing your job?” She warns a young child that she does not know her well enough to decide whether she likes her. She fails to ask Martin how his sick son is, and then fails to understand why he wants to hug her for helping save the boy’s life. Saga then tells Jakob’s mother it’s good she lives so far away.

But the stunning moment is when she tears up unexpectedly, upset that no one could believe she could tear up at all; a heart-stopping moment of acting.

Wouldn’t it be liberating to ask your family, friends and colleagues those blunt, direct questions most of us refrain from asking for fear of causing offence? What questions? How about: why, Mr Plumber, do you say you are at my property when I am at my property and you are not there at all? Are you hiding under the stairs, or just plain LYING? There, I feel better now. Watch The Bridge. You will feel better too.

Stefano Hatfield is editorial director of London Live

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

 

In Sickness and in Health: 'I'm really happy to be alive and to see Rebecca'

Rebecca Armstrong
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine