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

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk