Bruno Reynell reviews the final season of The Bridge
This year saw the UK release of the fourth, and final, season of Swedish-Danish crime show, The Bridge. A multitude of questions left unanswered at the end of Season 3 meant huge anticipation from viewers, and writers Hans Rosenfeldt and Camilla Ahlgren have truly delivered, with eight absorbing episodes and one beautiful conclusion.
The series begins in classic, ultra-violent, Scandi-noir fashion; a woman, later revealed to be the head of Denmark’s Immigration Board, is buried to her shoulders and stoned to death. The apparent reason for her execution? A leaked video of her colleagues celebrating success in a deportation case.
The following couple of episodes are relatively quiet, as we see the detectives confounded by a lack of quality leads. However, from around episode four, they begin to ascertain the killer’s motives and the action continues to escalate right up until the season’s gripping finale.
The lyrics of the show’s theme song declare, “everything goes back to the beginning”, and this feels particularly apt in Season 4. Not only does the solving of the crimes require a flashback to a past case, but there is also much introspection on the part of several characters, whose struggle to deal with their pasts is an integral part of the season. An ouroboros, if you like.
As fantastic as the main plotline is, it is the depth of each main protagonist’s individual story arc that elevates the show to a higher level. There is no lack of demons haunting these characters: Swedish detective Saga Norén begins the series in jail after being accused of killing her mother, and her Danish counterpart Henrik Sabroe is trying to come to terms with the fact that he may never see his long-missing daughters again.
These two roles of Saga and Henrik are fascinatingly complex in Season 4, and they are portrayed superbly by Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhardt respectively. The best characters in TV make the viewer truly care about them, and in both cases here, we find ourselves hanging on their every word, and their every action. In particular, the character of Henrik has, for me, surpassed that of Martin Rohde, Saga’s partner in the first two series of The Bridge – no mean feat, considering Kim Bodnia’s much acclaimed performance in those earlier seasons.
A few recurring characters return alongside Saga and Henrik, such as Lilian, the Police Commissioner in Copenhagen, and police IT expert John. Added to these old favourites is a generous sprinkling of new characters. To name a few, we see Julia and Ida, a pair of sisters living on the streets; Jonas, Saga and Henrik’s new, very non-PC colleague; and Sofie and her son Christoffer, on the run from her abusive husband.
With such an extensive cast of characters, it seems impossible, during the early episodes, that they will all play a part come the end of the series. But they do indeed, and it is testament to the skill of writing that they are woven so effectively into the plot’s thrilling and intricate conclusion.
It’s a wonderful ending that perfectly wraps up the criminal case, and leaves us satisfied as we say goodbye to Saga and Henrik, having followed their long journeys to find their identities, as well as their inner peace.
Featured Image Credit: BBC