Friday SkandiKrime: The Bridge 4 – episode 7


With only one episode left, everything is converging, and everything is leading up to that one inevitable moment that all of us have feared since it was stated that there would not – not merely would not but could not – be any more series of The Bridge after this one. Yes, admit it, the instinctive jump to the conclusion that Saga will be killed.

And now that there is only one method of execution outstanding, and Henrik is the only one left to be punished, and only one episode left, all things are pointing to the one place.

But we should bear in mind that since it began in 2014, the one thing The Bridge has never done is the inevitable. And as this enormous emotional bubble of an episode neared its end, something happened that gave me another, more horrific fear.

Episode 7 started with Cristoffer having been imprisoned by no-longer-Friendly Frank and making an ingenious escape to head for the Police and turn himself in. Saga immediately had her computer genius colleague John (interrupting his cozy little love-nest with his Danish equivalent Barbara) age Henrik’s photo of his missing elder daughter by eight years, which made her a dead ringer for Astrid.

The pieces fell into place with incredible rapidity. Frank goes off the deep end, his sense of entitlement going OTT, tries to kill Astrid, tries to kill himself but the Swedish SWAT team beat him to it.

And there was the moment, the moment that broke all of us down. After last week’s cliffhanger, Henrik is not dead, only shot in the thigh. It’s a bit of a cop-out, but it’s a cop-out that’s completely in line with the case: the killer doesn’t want to kill those responsible for Tommy’s death, but to make them live with the sorrow and grief of losing someone dear to them, which puts things squarely in the family for me.

So Saga goes to Henrik, in the face of the totality of his rejection of her last week, because she has found his daughter for him, has solved the mystery. But most of all so that Astrid and he can look at each other, can recognise each other, can be reunited against all odds and probabilities. Case closed, and an audience reduced to tears.

But that wasn’t all of the emotional bombs for this week. Henrik may have Astrid back, and something of a story about the missing years, but his daughter is still, in more ways, Frank’s rather than his, and there is an uphill road to climb. But the look of relief in Henrik’s eyes, the look in Saga’s eyes when she sees the two together, the tentative manner in which she asked if everything was alright between them now, and Henrik’s warmth when he agreed – even more so when he told Astrid that Saga was his best friend – played on us like a virtuoso.

There was yet more. Henrik wanted to interview Frank, not as a Police officer but as the father. Linn the Troll is reluctant. Henrik asks her if she has any children. Emotionlessly of voice, Linn just says, “I did.” but Maria Kulle puts something into her eyes. She’s mainly been an arsehole, a figure of contempt, but in that moment Linn became a human being, with an unimaginable pain, and her eyes were a warning not to go there, because there be horrors, and it was like falling into a deep, black place with no bottom.

And Lillian is yet a target. She’s gone out for a meal with her prosecutor friend but won’t go on with him because she’s not taking the risk of giving the idea that anyone matters to her. But someone does matter to her. There’s a delivery of a flower basket that I first feared was a bomb, and it was, but not a physical one: it’s the decapitated head of dear old Hans, stolen from his grave.

The horror reverbrates. Lillian takes time off. Jonas, who has been steadily drawing respect to himself as a detective and as someone fully aware of the caricature he cuts with his offensive remarks, is appointed temporary head of the team. He’s getting protective of Saga, and the two of them are making something of a team now, albeit with awkward angles. But there’s strong circumstantial evidence that he’s been the one leaking things to the press, thanks to Barbara.

Back at the station, there’s no evidence to justify holding Nicole or Solveig any longer. The former is picked up by Tobias, who wants things to go on. The latter bats back to her flat, where grandson Brian/Kevin is waiting, and jumps straight onto his laptop, swearing revenge on the Police, and calling them idiots for thinking it’s anything to do with the family.

So what is it? Hans’ grave was desecrated by Silas Tuxen, owner of the gay bar from episode 1 and brother of one of the KC gang killed in William’s raid, but when the Police catch up with him, using Denmark’s SWAT team (equal opportunities…), Silas is dead, together with an as-yet-unidentified male passenger.

So too is Douglas, who you will remember being shot in the head last week. Douglas was  a private investigator, hired by Niels Thormod because he thought the Police were being too slow. Douglas’s computer shows he too was checking up on Silas…

But we’re at Niels now, and he’s still trying to get through to our two waifs, Julia and Ida.  They con him into taking them to the cinema. He brings along his assistant, Suzanne. Or is her real name Stephanie? Because there’s a distinctive skeleton key lock dangling from her bag, one that Julia instantly recognises as being the bag from which she nicked the mobile phone… The girls pull a stunt and run off into the night. Leaving Suzanne to realise the exact reason why.

The the moment for the Choir of Young Believers to start singing, but I’ve left something out deliberately. Henrik’s brought Astrid home, though when she talks of home it is Frank’s house she means. He’s made her her once-favourite meal, at which she picks dubiously. There’s a ring on the bell: Brian/Kevin some to take him to the meeting. And Kevin’s aware Henrik’s started pilling again, though the latter says he’s stopped again. But he has his daughter back. Kevin’s delighted for him. Kevin, who might be involved, now knows there is someone in Henrik’s life even more important to him than Saga.

They teased it in Frank’s house, the momentary fear that he’d shot her. That would have been cruel. But this would be even more cruel. I hope they’re not going to go there. But The Bridge has a history of going there. It’s why we think it’s so bloody amazing. And the next one is the very last one.

Friday SkandiKrime: The Bridge 4 – episode 3


I’m parceling this out carefully, holding onto each episode because I know there aren’t going to be many more, although by the time of the last episode I don’t doubt I’ll be diving in anxiously, to know.

But for the moment, the pattern holds. Pieces in motion, building up, gradual connections being revealed, red herrings being exposed, and then returned to the table. With only eight episodes now as the apparent Danish norm, less time can be spared to leave us in the miasma. Though I still have no idea what is going on, some threads are already beginning to tighten.

We begin with Daniel Bjork, the taxi driver and wife-threatener, driving across the titular bridge into Sweden, only to be stopped and robbed of three mysterious boxes by three heavily-armed and black-balaclavaed guys. Whatever has been stolen is clearly illicit, and it’s upset the boss, who is the father of the little girl in hospital terrified of clowns.

Daniel succeeds in making it clear that he didn’t shop the delivery. Offscreen, the culprit is found and onscreen Daddy shoots him. Near the end, it’s implied he’s connected to the murder of Margrethe Thormod, to which I’ll come shortly. He also takes a call from his sister (?) Sarah, who’s with the girl at the hospital, with the good news that the kid can come home. But that’s before the episode ending on Sarah being tasered and the kid’s room being invaded by… a clown.

No, not Patrik Twin, who’s dead, remember. Early on, Richard Twin has broadcast about being kidnapped by Red October to deny involvement in Patrik’s murder, except that Saga and Henrik soon get out of him that Red October don’t actually exist, he made them up to get ahead in his career. So, whilst Patrik is still dead and murdered (and the possibility, which I overlooked last week, that it was actually Richard who got electrocuted and Patrik trying to impersonate him permanently would appear to be refuted), he has to be decoupled from the Thormod case and considered the target in his own right.

Meanwhile, the suspicious Niels Thormod moves nearer to the centre of things. No, he doesn’t know any hospital clowns, but he does know more than he’s letting on about. His secretary, Suzanne, gets drawn into things, is interviewed at Copenhagen Police HQ, where Saga inadvertently lets slip that Suzanne is being considered as a  suspect.

But before we go there, let’s just tick off the last still-seemingly-extraneous strand, that of Sofie and Cristoffer and Harriet’s community. There’s been a burglary, a stolen laptop and camera, and the guy who’s lost them wants a Neighbourhood Watch patrol that Harriet refuses. Sofie finds the missing goods in Cristoffer’s chest of drawers and doesn’t believe his denials. Via Friendly – and creepy – Frank the goods are returned to the aggrieved victim, who doesn’t believe for one moment they were dumped in the forest. Odds are that Cristoffer’s clean: his new girlfriend shows him her dressing up costumes and then, when Suspicious Neighbour is ‘taking a walk’ at night, creeps up and clonks him from behind. Hmm.

I’ve come thus far without mentioning Saga or Henrik because I wanted to concentrate upon them. The case progresses. Taariq won’t help them unless they lift his deportation, so a cunning plot sees him taken off to the Delivery Centre for actual deportation, until a clearly morally divided Henrik lets him run. It’s a con: the Police have planted a tracker on him, to see where, and to whom, he runs. It backfires; the tracker is in Taariq’s gold watch, which he trades for a gun, dropping off the grid. He has some information that someone wants: this is the contact that brings in the gangster father as an implied suspect.

To get to this point, a lot had has to happen that stirs the emotional side of things. There’s a brief, and blackly hilarious, scene where Saga, after last week’s panic attack, checks herself into therapy. Her therapist asks for the background, and Saga gives it at high speed, a wonderfully outlandish summary of series 3 and the end of series 2, not to mention the family stuff, to which the therapist offers a rather bemused suggestion that they’ve got a lot to work through.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, preparing for their pickpocket trick, Ida and Julia hit a disaster as Ida is run down by a bike, and the pair are arrested before they can get out of the hospital. Back in Copenhagen, they’re interrogated but have no information. Rather than have them sleep overnight in different cells – and Ida has definite separation anxiety about being able to see her sister – Henrik takes them to his home, feeds them, lets them stay overnight.

Saga clearly doesn’t approve, having jumped to exactly the same conclusion we all have, but Henrik firmly denies it: if they were miraculously his daughters, he would recognise them and they would recognise him. No need for DNA. Mind you, they did give false names to the hospital… He takes them to Social Services the next morning but when he gets home at night, they’re sat outside, and they can stay another night. Saga won’t, not with them there. She’s still on the case of Henrik’s daughters, whilst he’s struggling to see them as dead, causing another hallucination, of them pressing on his chest.

And he’s got something else to think of now: Saga’s pregnant.

Of course, she intends an abortion, though Henrik wants to talk about it. You can’t say she hasn’t got the right idea, given her own issues. She’s not the first person you’d think of as a perfect mother. But: Linn the Troll forces her to accept boxes of belongings from her late and unlamented mother. Saga takes them to a storage container and dumps them… but then she opens a box, finds memorabilia of her sister Jennifer and a bunch of old photos of the children, each of them with Saga’s head cut out.

I don’t know where this is going, none of this. I strongly suspect that I’m going to be bawling my eyes out at a lot of it. The story’s coming to an end and it’s not going to be in a good place. For either of Saga or Henrik, I suspect.

Friday SkandiKrime: The Bridge s04 e02


out of character

So.

As always, there seemed to be considerably more than an hour of story in this hour of television, and much happened. And already, the show is delighting in setting up an array of questions, some of which appear to be red herrings. Such as the guy who appeared out of nowhere last week to clonk Richard Twin over the bonce? Nothing to do with Red October, who deny murdering Margrethe Thormod, but rather the jealous boyfriend of the girl who slept with Patrik Twin under the mistaken impression he was Richard.

Or the mysterious, distant, gated community to which Frank takes Sofie and Cristoffer. It’s creepy as hell and the old woman with the long white hair who owns/leads it doesn’t like having her decisions questioned but it’s a place for idealism: be good people, be the best you can be.

Or is it? The problem with red herrings is that sometimes they’re not red at all, it’s down to how you look at them.

Take the open. A young girl, Ida, walks slowly through a busy area before suddenly collapsing. Whilst concerned shoppers gather round, a slightly older girl, Julia, picks pockets. The girls live on the street. They didn’t seem to have anything to do with anything, except that one of the phones they steal turns ooutto be connected directly to the Thormod case.

How many of you, like me, took one look at the girls, assessed their age, and thought, Henrik’s daughters?

Their ages are right. So is their respective hair colours and curliness/straightness when you see the little girls of Henrik’s visions, eight years younger. So, are they Henrik’s missing daughters? Or are we merely meant to think that?

Ah, Henrik. I mean, Sofia Helin gets all the plaudits for her performance as Saga, and doesn’t she just deserve them? But Thure Linhardt, especially on the evidence of this episode, is every bit as important to this series as she is. In The Bridge 3, he sometimes came over as a bit of a pretty boy, but there’s none of that here. Both actors are creating miracles of subtlety by the most minor of facial expressions.

Anyway, let’s get to the facts. Beyond a mention that Saga was lucky, last week’s cliffhanger is swept aside in the most perfunctory of manners. After a brief spell in hospital, she’s up and at them, back to work, re-admitted by Linn the Troll even if her gun practice isn’t up to her usual levels. There’s a moment, during that, when Saga raises the gun, that her eyes betray complete panic.

And she’s back to business, assigned to the Thormod case and immediately hitting the ground like the Saga of old. Her old clothes – the white t-shirts, the leather trousers, the long green coat, the Porsche – are re-adopted like a uniform, and she and Henrik immediately reform their partnership. Which seriously puts the nose out of joint for Jonas, who is still assigned to the case, but who is now relegated to doing no more than be let behind to grow disgruntled. And whilst he’s still an unreconstructed bugger, the glory of the show is that he has every right to be pissed off: he is being treated badly.

Saga’s temporarily staying with Henrik. After an exhausting screw, she can’t sleep, so she gets out the file for Alice Sabroe and her missing daughters and, being Saga and, more importantly, a woman, starts to get some information out of Alice’s old female friends, who’ll tell her what they didn’t tell Henrik: that Alice was unhappy, he was too much the policeman, she talked to someone (male) at work…

There are developments. Taariq the deportee saves the two girls from being attacked outside the restaurant where he washes dishes. They give him a mobile as thanks. He’s shopped by the bastard of the restaurant owner (anything to get out of paying a week’s minimum wage). He explains that Margrethe disagreed with the decision to deport him, offered to help smuggle him away, but she was interrupted by an urgent, worrying call. From the phone that the girls gave him, which has a tracking app on it, for Thormod’s phone.

Now that’s one implausible coincidence and I have to fault the show for that, even as the overall quality mandates me to forgive it. It leads to a hunt for thegirls, who decide to relocate to Malmo.

Meanwhile, Saga and Henrik question Niels Thormod about this new development, but he knows nothing. Except that, after they leave, he phones someone to assure them the Police know nothing, and the plan will proceed. And at the end he collects a secret delivery of police photos of his dead wife…

Oh, and Patrik and Richard Twins? Patrik is a hospital clown, entertaining sick children, except he bursts into the room of one girl who’s terrified of clowns. Accident, of course. Except that he knew to avoid her. At night, he savours the outside heated jacuzzi until distracted by a mysterious, darkened trespasser, who refuses to leave. He has a flashing red dot on him. But when Patrik grabs the rails to get out of the jacuzzi, they are electrified…

That’s the second murder. Everyone assumes it was planned for Richard, who is distraught. Mistaken identity. The Swedish Police place him in protective custody, under guard in a hotel. But when Henrik and Saga go to question hiiim, the guard’s gone. And so’s Richard.

Ah, Saga. Saga is back, as she always was. Except that she’s not right. Spilled paperclips give her a flashback of last series’ killer gouging his arm with a paperclip to open a vein. She’s going off into short fugues. And on the Bridge, behind the wheel, she has a sustained panic attack. Something’s not right. Something’s very much not right. Somewhere in all this tangle, of angles and leads and red herrings and lives that seem to interconnect, there is an answer. Like Henrik, hearing what Alice thought about their marriage, I think we are very much not going to like it.

Friday SkandiKrime: The Bridge s4 episode 1


It’s back, at long last, and for the last. The Bridge, or Bron-Broen, has been so successful in Denmark and Sweden that it’s been granted an unprecedented fourth series and, to parallel that popularity, it’s been given an uplift from BBC4 to BBC2, and it’s own time on Friday night, away from the Saturday Eurocrime slot. It’s also been rationed back to one episode per week which, given the cliffhanger at the end of episode 1, is a hellish trick to play on an adoring public, but then again we get eight weeks to play out this story one final time.

Much has been made in advance of the ‘ultra-violent’ start of the series: a woman is buried up to her shoulders underneath the (in)famous Oresund Bridge, and stoned to death. No, it’s not a pleasant thought, and it does buy into the ‘violent crimes against women’ topic, but it’s far from the way it’s been pre-sold, as you might expect. What we see is the buried woman, in a van’s headlights. Then, from a distance, we see a man making a throwing motion and her head jerk. Cut to her bleeding from a split eyebrow, repeat throwing from the same distance after intercutting a hand picking up a stone, and pan left so we see no more. The rest of it is forensics.

There are two more blows to women’s heads, both from behind, later in the episode, neither of which are especially graphic.

The victim is Magrethe Thormod, Director of Immigration in Norway. The detectives are Henrik Sabroe and his new partner, Jonas Maudrup, played by Mikael Birkkjær, who we remember from The Killing 2 and Borgen. Jonas seems to be a decent detective, so far, though he’s not exactly enlightened. Motive, given the rather outre modus operandi, seems likely to be connected to the recent order for deportation of Tariq Sharzi, a gay muslim. There’s nothing simple about this. Homosexuality in Tariq’s home country is punished by stoning to death (a-ha!), but he’s disappeared underground and Margrethe’s staff have been videoed cracking open the bubbly over their victory in sending a man to his death so it’s a bit of a bubbling cauldron, this one. Henrik and Thure start tracing Margrethe’s whereabouts before her abrupt disappearance.

Wait a minute, I can hear you saying, Saga? Saga Noren? Saga the most central and vital character, without whom The Bridge cannot possibly be? What the hell about her?

Well, the frame worked. As she predicted, Saga was convicted of killing her mother and has spent the past two years in prison. Henrik visits her a couple of times a month (Linn the Troll tried to visit too but it never worked out), and they have sex (imagine that being allowed in a British prison, The Sun and the Mail would implode out of sheer fury). He tries to get her to look at the Thormod case but she refuses because she is not police. That’s been taken away from her. It was a very big part of her and Saga has never known how to not be it.

But there’s a retrial coming up, new evidence, her late mother’s psychologist reporting that she’d spoken of wanting to hurt Saga. It’s implied Henrik found this. He’s cautiously hopeful. Linn the Troll says she’s cautiously hopeful but with lowered expectations (I bet she does! I bet she does!)

Henrik’s also got something missing. Lilian may have found his missing wife’s remains, but his two children are still out there. It’s eight years now, though. He’d thought Saga might be able to help, but we already know why she didn’t get the chance. Maybe now, he says to his support group, he should stop, accept they they two are very probably dead. But what is he if he’s not their father?

He’s off the drugs, he no longer sees them around the house, he has the Thormod case. And the moment he puts the file into the box the two little girls reappear.

But this is The Bridge, and it wouldn’t be The Bridge without other things going on that, for now, we only know will be connected, we just have no idea how. There’s a pair of twins (and disappointingly it’s just camera-trickery though it looks like actual twin actors), one of whom is a famous TV reporter, the other of whom pretends to be his brother when it can get him laid by beautiful blondes coming on to him in bars. But TV brother is contacted by Red October, a Swedish radical left group who could have ties to the Thormod case (which is why Henrik was at Swedish Police HQ talking with Linn the Troll). They want a meeting. He has Bar Brother back him up. They don’t show. He drops Bar Brother off at home. Someone clonks Bar Brother over the head.

Someone else is getting clonked behind the head, only not so seriously. This is Sofie, a nervous, not unattractive woman in her early-Forties, panicking that seventeen year old son Cristoffer’s photo has appeared on the school website for a couple of hours. This is a fuck-up of major proportions (and may not have been an accident). You see, Sofie is divorced, from Dan, the taxi-driver who was the last to see Margrethe alive, and he’s a violent misogynist, and yes, a couple of hours is enough for him to locate her and terrorise her and find the son who hates him – because his mother has turned him against him, naturally, nothing to do with him being a bastard – forcing Sofia and Cristoffer to have to flee. Yet again.

The kindly school administrator who was responsible for accidentally allowing Cris’s photo to appear online and be tracked is going to assist the unlucky pair to rehome. He’s got the perfect place for them. And they’re the perfect tenants. Especially Cristoffer, who’s malleable…

And there’s Saga. She’s having difficulty with a new inmate, Lucinda Arvec, a cop-killer who’s got her eye on Saga. Saga secures herself 24 blessed hours in solitary by choosing to fight Lucinda’s provocation rather than call a guard, only it’s cut short. Her conviction is overturned, she’s free to go. This upsets the one inmate who’s been trying to befriend Saga all along. Saga walks away. Until someone clonks her over the back of the head. This is a serious clonking, with blood, and collapse. It’s not Lucinda though, it’s the would-be friend. saying ‘I’m Sorry’.

But Saga’s still on the floor of the prisoner corridor, blood pooling under her blonde locks…

Ok. If I could find a sub-titled episode 2, I would be watching that right now instead of blogging. And, speaking of sub-titles, this was a seriously awkward episode to watch because the version I was able to access had them seriously mis-aligned: I was reading the dialogue a full twenty seconds ahead of the actual words being spoken, and you try watching something as complex as The Bridge with your brain operating in two different timezones without getting a massive headache.

But it’s back. For seven more weeks. And this will be the last.