Review: The Bridge (S3 E7&8), Saturday 12th December, BBC4

Programme Name: The Bridge - TX: 12/12/2015 - Episode: The Bridge - series 3 - ep 8 (No. 8) - Picture Shows: *Please credit photographer: Carolina Romare Kjell (BJORN GRANATH), Saga Norén (SOFIA HELIN) - (C) Filmlance International AB - Photographer: Carolina Romare

(C) Filmlance International AB – Photographer: Carolina Romare

The Clown Killer is still nowhere near being caught, and has claimed two more victims in another grotesque family tableau of death. Sabroe and Saga, though, have reached such a level of domesticity that he’s cooking breakfast, while she’s borrowing his missing wife’s knickers.

Sabroe’s relationship with Saga seems to be doing him a surprising amount of good, as he’s off the drugs and no longer imagining his missing family. But as reality sets in he starts to crack up.

Two more victims are found, with their brains missing, leading back again to art collector Holst. He has his own problems, with surrogate mother Jeanette, her gambler boyfriend Marc, and the journalist Tina who has discovered that wife Asa’s pregnancy is a fake.   

At this stage the plot takes two giant leaps into implausibility. Tina reveals to her cop boyfriend John that she’s being paid to stalk Holst, and Marc steals a laptop from a car which turns out to belong to Tina’s employer. The killer recovers and destroys the laptop after a tense chase, and John gives Tina the elbow.   

Creepy Sandberg plans to get rid of his stalker Annika, while Saga is questioned about her mother’s death; again, Sofia Helin’s performance here is a masterclass in twitchy nervousness. Saga’s mother seems to have staged her suicide to look like murder, just to spite her. Saga’s asked whether she needs time off, and replies “I never need time off.”

Victim Hans is brain-dead, and his wife is asked to consider switching off his respirator; Saga’s furious at his abandonment of her, and slaps him.

At least some progress is being made with the Clown Killings. Emil Larsson, the art gallery employee who pointed to the connections with Holst, is found to be a former employee of the Anderson company where the first murder took place, and a foster child of the last two victims. It looks, then, as if we were right in our earlier suspicions that the murders must be connected to a fertility clinic or fostering agency.

In Episode 8, in a reflection of CSI’s classic Miniature Killer plot, we see that the Clown Killer is making little doll’s-house versions of his tableaux.

Foster-child Emil Larsson can be linked to several of the victims including Hans, but not to all of them. Are there multiple killers at work? When Emil is found, he’s been drugged and battered, but is alive; it seems he was not the killer, but another victim, allowed to escape for the killer’s own purposes. A link is made to Annika, Sandberg’s stalker, who was another foster-child. Evidence found in her house seems conclusive, both of her being the Clown Killer, and of her obsession with Sandberg – but has he done away with her?

Saga’s Internal Affairs investigator has good evidence that she’s killed her mother, and testimony that she is unstable; “I’m not unstable, I’m different” she says, which hardly amounts to a good defence. Neither does her confession that she invented sexual abuse charges against her parents – and she admits that her grief over Hans’s death will only get worse.

News of the Holsts’ surrogacy plot gets into the papers, leaked by Sandberg – he’s done it to discredit Freddie, but would he really have been so cruel to his ex-love Asa? Tina sees a chance to make a killing with her photos of surrogate mother Jeanette, and Jeanette and Marc flee in the confusion.

Saga arrests Alm, Annika’s violent ex-husband, and in the station he grabs a gun and wounds John’s little daughter. Alm is a dead end, but Saga’s failure to search him gives Linn an excuse to suspend her.    

Holst pursues Jeanette and Marc to their cottage, only to find Marc dead and pregnant Jeanette missing; she’s in the hands of the killer, but is it Annika, or is she already dead at the hands of Sandberg?

While we’ve finally made some progress in the Clown Killer case – and it’s been a long time coming – the central theme of these episodes continues to be Saga’s struggle to cope with a world she doesn’t quite get, and which doesn’t get her; with the death of Hans, she has no-one to help her. Sabroe struggles to be her rock, but he has his own problems. Will the two help each other, or fall apart? Solving the Clown Killer case, and possibly the disappearance of Sabroe’s family, may be the key to salvation for both of them.

Chris Jenkins  

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