Written by Hannah Dunleavy


Saga continues: Episodes 1 & 2

Scandi crime drama The Bridge is back on BBC4. Hannah Dunleavy took a look at series three’s opening gambit.

Sofia Helin as Swedish detective Saga Norén.

Sofia Helin as Swedish detective Saga Norén.

With the exception of Borgen (which is, I think we can all agree, completely flawless), I’ve not always been convinced by Scandinavian dramas. Sure, I can’t take my eyes off it, but then again I’ve also failed to learn Danish or Swedish beyond Tak and the words that are just the same in English. (Old skool.)

For me, The Bridge has always been a mixed bag. It races through storylines at such a speed it’s almost impossible to feel anything for the victims: “Here’s a woman found cut in half, no wait, this thing has just exploded, oh my God, this guy’s got a suicide vest strapped onto him, OK that’s lunch everyone.”

On the other hand, its central pairing of Saga and Martin and their (necessarily) odd but touching friendship, was one of the better ones on TV. Which brings me to…

Our absent friend

Yes, that pre-credits sequence with the painted faces was freaky enough before they found a dead body, but the most unsettling thing of all is the gaping hole where Kim Bodnia’s name used to be in the credits. While Martin’s fate and Saga’s role in it hangs over the first two episodes, it doesn’t distract from the Bodnia-sized hole in the series. I know the Dane was a gruff, pudgy, weatherworn, dick-driven mess, but I really bloody liked him.

So, who’s going to step into those shoes?

OK, maybe a bad choice of words. Saga’s first new partner, Hanne, was swiftly dispatched. After stumbling twice into booby traps, the pair disturbed a booby trap (who’d have thunk it?), resulting in the loss of a leg and Morten’s snowglobe (unconfirmed).

In steps Henrik Sabroe, a confusingly domestically-situated Dane who’s on more uppers and downers than a pre-war Hollywood starlet and stores them in a massive plastic bag in his glove compartment. He’s got a touch of The Killing’s Strange about him, in that I can’t work out whether our leading lady is going to fuck him or fight him, but I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy watching either. Speaking of which…

Thure Lindhardt as Saga's new partner Henrik Saboe.

Thure Lindhardt as Saga’s new partner Henrik Saboe.

This is Saga now

Although it seems to have been all change in Saga’s world – new flat, no boyfriend, the stigma of having grassed up a colleague – she remains essentially the same, which is, I suppose, in line with her undisclosed condition.

She’s also got some family problems: her mother’s reappearance with the news that her dad is dying and evidence that her sister may not have been a victim of Munchausen’s by proxy, which kills more people on television than smoking. And now her boss (see also only friend) is in danger.

And yet…

It all started so super, Hans

What with the breakfast shagging and the successful non-erotic hugging, it seemed it couldn’t really go wrong for Hans. And then he got kidnapped. Twice. Which did rather distract from that other thing…

The killing

So, yes, there’s also a case to solve. Helle Anker’s plan to smash the patriarchy one gender-neutral school at a time is curtailed by the removal of her heart. This appears to delight Lise Friis Andersen, a blogger who’s part Katie Hopkins, part Westboro Baptist Church. And no sooner has she slagged off a pro-gay priest then he’s dead in a park, something that’s rather quickly glossed over but not before we get the chance to see Saga randomly picking up a crucifix from an altar and looking underneath it. Bravo.

Too many suspects at present to narrow it down to one name, although they almost certainly read the Daily Mail. But if you’re forcing me…

My current top suspect is

The Joker. And I’m pretty sure Hans was chloroformed by a woman.

Until next week.

Catch up on The Bridge on BBC iPlayer here.


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.