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NORDIC NOIR Sofia Helin sends Saga Norén poignant message on anniversary

Sofia Helin has reached out to her former character from The Bridge on Instagram to send her a message.

Sofia’s portrayal of Saga Norén across four series of The Bridge endeared her to millions around the world, and now the 48-year-old actress has marked the 13th month anniversary of saying goodbye tot he character.

Posting on Instagram and captioning an image of Saga about to be hugged by a character, Sofia said: “You were so right as always.

“Soon it will be 13 months since we last hugged each other in the world.

“Saga, you might have enjoyed Corona-times and not having to hug people all the time. Though it must have been hard for you to find guys in bars these days.

“Anyway my friend Saga , I promise not to hug you if we ever meet again.”

Let’s hope there will be a time when the two meet again.



BBC Four to replay series one of The Bridge

Throughout this lockdown period, channels have been replaying old favourites, and BBC Four has joined in the fun.

In its 9pm, foreign-language, Saturday-night slot, the channel is to replay the first groundbreaking series of The Bridge.

Although seven years old, it first aired on BBC Four in 2015 and became an instant hit.

The story began when a body, apparently cut in half at the waist, is discovered in the middle of the Øresund Bridge, which connects Copenhagen with Malmö. Placed precisely on the border between the two countries, the investigation falls under the jurisdiction of both the Danish and Swedish police agencies. It is not one corpse but two halves of two separate women: the upper-half being that of a female Swedish politician, the lower-half being that of a Danish prostitute. Saga Norén from Sweden and Martin Rohde from Denmark lead the murder investigations.

It would propel both stars – Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia – to household name status.

BBC Four is showing four, back-to-back episodes to begin with.

The Bridge: Saturday 15th August, 9pm, BBC Four


REVIEW: The Bridge (S4 E8/8)

After four series and 38 hours of television, it all came down to this: the end of our beloved Bridge, one of the most involving and influential crime dramas of all time.

And we were into it straight away, no messing.

In the last episode, Susanne Winter – Niels Thurmod’s personal assistant – was identified by Julia and Ida to be the person whose phone they had pick-pocketed (which was used to track his murdered wife Margrethe). I honestly thought that she was going to be another red herring, but… no. The only possible way Susanne could have been involved was if her true identity had been Steph, Tommy Peterson’s ex. And, indeed she was. How do we know this? Thanks to some shrewd fingerprint work by John (who had earlier been admonished by Saga when flirted with Barbara: “You’ve become odd since you started having sex”), she was identified as the person who had driven and forced Tuxen to carry out his work.

Everything led back to Henrik’s house: Julia and Ida went to seek refuge there, Susanne rendered them unconscious thanks to her trusty taser (as soon as the taser came out, you knew she was murderer), and Saga, too, putting two and two together, as she often does, arrived just in the nick of time.

Over the past few episodes, there’s been this nagging, dread feeling at the pit of my stomach that something awful will befall either Henrik, Astrid and/or Saga. This could have been the moment. In fact, it really should have been the moment.

But, strangely, it was thanks to an intervention by Jonas that saved Saga’s bacon. It was he who had insisted she wore a bullet-proof vest in the continuing investigation, and thanks to this vest Saga was saved. It was a punch-the-air moment: Saga and Susanne engaged in an intense but brief Western-style shoot-out in the middle of the street. Saga took a hit to the chest, but then recovered in time to shoot Susanne’s car tyre as she sped away with an unconscious Julia and Ida in the boot. Susanne careered off the road and was apprehended. YES. The shoot-out was another of the many ways The Bridge subverts male stereotypes, and one of its key legacies, I think.

But what of Henrik and Astrid? And indeed Henrik and Saga? Henrik and Astrid were getting there slowly, and both acknowledging that this process of reconciliation would take time. There were touching scenes between the two, and there were also touching scenes between Henrik and Saga, finally both coming to terms with what had happened to them and agreeing that each of them had separate paths to follow: Henrik to be a dad again, and Saga, well who knew in which direction she would be going? They agreed that they would always be there for one another. It was a tear-jerker, but necessary pragmatism prevailed (which was a hell of a lot better than where this pair was a few episodes ago).

All this and there was still half an hour to go.

With David’s help, the fate of her sister Jennifer was finally resolved (although why this wasn’t done earlier I had no idea… always go to David for help). David’s toxicology reports came out on Saga’s side: it was highly likely her mother had indeed administered the drugs that tipped poor Jennifer over the edge. All the years of uncertainty and guilt… they all washed away in almost an instant.

She wept silently.

She telephoned Henrik to tell him the life-shattering news. He was busy.

Saga was alone. Like she had always been, but now without that crushing burden.

Saga had always been alone in her life because it had been her choice. She daren’t let anyone in because whenever she did bad things happened to them and bad things happened to her. The easiest way to guard against this crushing anxiety was to create a controlled environment and not let anyone come too close. If she needed to have sex she would find someone to have sex with on her terms, but she wouldn’t let anyone in emotionally (until Henrik came along, that is). Her job, too, had always been a part of that control, and it helped to give her life order.

Now things were different.

Despite this hugely emotional revelation for Saga, there was a sense that it was all a bit rushed. In fact, throughout the series as a whole I’ve felt that all these remaining, open strands have been rushed – the scenes where Henrik found Astrid, and even the therapy scenes here right at the end. Hans Rosenfeldt and co always do a fantastic job of juggling lots of different story strands and characters, bringing them expertly together at the end. But in this series, there has been a sense that ambition has outweighed the time they gave themselves. Everything else was here – the brutal, ceremonial killings and the ‘second story’, so redolent in Rosenfeldt’s work, but he also had to squeeze in the fate of Henrik’s family, Saga’s family, Henrik and Saga, and what would happen to Saga.

I think it has been a bit too much.

Another element of Rosenfeldt’s work in The Bridge that we should have known was coming was the final twist. We’ve seen it in past series and we saw it here, too.

Saga had been called back to the prison she spent time in right at the start of the series. Although we didn’t quite know why she strode through the corridors of the jail and I honestly thought for a brief, joyful moment that in her new-found mindset of reconciliation that she was going to visit Martin. But no, she was going to meet the inmate who had tried to bludgeon her to death revealed that someone had blackmailed her into trying to kill her. Decapitate her, even (which fitted in with Susanne Winter’s modus operandi). She had seen Susanne on the news and recognised her, so she called Saga. And, what’s more, she told Saga that Susanne had spoken about a ‘they’.

This precipitated a frantic search for the other person involved. Concurrently, Henrik received a visitor at home. It was Brian/Kevin (Brevin as I like to call him). Henrik invited him in (noooo!) and when he was fixing them a drink with his back turned, Brevin rose from his wheelchair. Now, many will have been disappointed by this Keyser Söze moment (too cliched perhaps?) and even called it. So the fact that Brevin was involved was no real surprise (he’d always been a bit too odd), but we were, by this time, caught up in the action and when he was rose from his chair it was still a shock of sorts.

What followed was as tense as they come. He had tied Astrid up and intended to kill her while Henrik was watching. But, of course, Henrik was wise to his MO and refused to look at her. This enraged Brian/Kevin: he needed him to see the death of his daughter.

Just when it looked as though Astrid had reached the point of no return, a bullet pierced Brevin’s right eye. Saga had saved the day yet again – she stood at the back of the room, her gun raised, smoke still curling up from the barrel.

Punch-the-air moment number two.

They had survived. They had all survived, but to what cost we’ll never know.

And so to the end. The end we’d all been dreading; the moment where we had to say goodbye to Saga Norén. We’ve lived with this character for almost six years, and an unusual and surprisingly strong bond between audience and character has formed since she first appeared in the UK on 21st April, 2012 on BBC Four. Yes, we’ve all got our own favourite crime shows and characters who we love, cherish and care for. But I can’t remember ever feeling so invested in a character, or ever willing a character to come out of the other side intact as much as I have with Saga Norén.

And of course, I’ve often wondered why. What is it about Saga that makes me care so much about her? The answer, I think, lies with Sofia Helin. I really believe that. A very fine actress before The Bridge – and who will be again afterwards – she slipped into this once-in-a-lifetime role like a hand does to a favourite glove. Her physical and emotional transformation into Saga has been so seamless, so right. It’s very rare an actor finds a role that is not only sustainable for a very long period of time, but such a snug fit. And Helin found this symbiosis with Saga.

She also found and loved the same qualities we also found and loved in Saga. The struggle to fit in, the fear, the courage, and the vulnerability. As more and more was thrown at Saga cracks in the armour appeared. Her relationship with Martin, her decision making, her relationship with Henrik, the return of her mother, Hans’s death, her time in prison, becoming pregnant… these events and relationships came in a rush that battered her self-defence and coping mechanisms. To watch this was heartbreaking but there was a realisation that this character needed to experience these things to undergo a transformation.

Some characters go through series without a jot of development, but Saga’s arc was one of redemption, one of constant self-examination and struggle. And in the end, she got there. She bloody got there. Or at least had the courage to turn onto a road that gave her a chance to get there.

Where? The very same place we’re all searching for: a place of emotional fulfilment, and a place – physical or other – where a modicum of happiness exists.

And that’s ultimately why I felt for Saga Norén: because she was one of us.

So when she stood on the Øresund Bridge – it all comes back to the beginning, right? – and she stared out across the straight and she tossed her police badge over the side of the bridge and into the water, she was shedding her skin because she had to.

She always answered her phone: “Saga Norén, Länskrim Malmö”.

Now it was simply, “Saga Norén”.

It was simultaneously a heart-breaking but uplifting moment.

In four series that have often been darker than a Scandinavian winter’s night, this was a hugely optimistic ending. I don’t think this has been the best of the series (it has still been miles ahead of much of the competition, such is the high standards of The Bridge), and I really now think that this was the right time to end it, despite the gut-wrenching realisation that we won’t be seeing some of these characters like Lillian (who was brilliant in this series), John and David onscreen again. It might read like heresy, but even Saga’s ticks and blunt ripostes, so fresh and incredible for the most part, were just starting to edge into the realms of pastiche – you really could start to play Saga bingo with them.

But I’m glad she survived (there was a part of me thinking she was going to throw herself off the side of that bridge), and she saw a future ahead of her even though she wasn’t sure where the road would lead.

In the end, she was brave and was unafraid and I think I love her that little bit more because of that. Dammit, I was proud of her.

So farewell Saga Norén, there has never been anyone quite like you and we will miss you. But go well, and we all hope you find what you’re looking for.

Paul Hirons


REVIEW: The Bridge (S4 E7/8)

We’re now entering the final straits of The Bridge, and this fourth and final series has tried to juggle several tricky storylines. At the start of this episode, we still got a lot to sort out, but there was a sense in episode six that things we beginning to work themselves out on all fronts and episode seven took the ball and really ran with it.

We got Tommy Petersen’s backstory, and the motive of the serial killer – he (or she) had been avenging his death by taking out those who had let him down. Which meant that Henrik – now fully off the rails – was in the firing line. Or at least one of Henrik’s loved ones was.

Which is why he survived his encounter with the killer at the end of episode six.

Saga was told that Henrik had been shot and she reacted the way we might have thought she would react – a flicker of emotion, but business as usual. Jonas had told her he had taken a bullet to the leg and that he was going to be ok – because the killer was after the people Henrik loved.

In fact, we didn’t see Henrik for the first 15 or 20 minutes even though his story was to be resolved in this episode. It was a breathless chain of events – Christoffer had been imprisoned by Frank after last week’s altercation, but had managed to escape; he drove straight to the police (hello again Linn) and told them everything. How he shot Dan, how Frank had covered it up, how Frank had turned weird, and how Frank had imprisoned him. And… Astrid. As soon as Saga heard the name Astrid, she knew she had found her and solved the riddle.

And so, with a slightly shell-shocked Henrik in tow, they went to The Village and a tense armed stand-off ensued. When Astrid finally emerged from the smoke, Henrik tenderly embraced her. You got the impression that she didn’t really know who he was, and I felt these scenes were slightly rushed – I perhaps wanted Henrik to have been present when Christoffer had turned himself in, to have had longer conversations with Saga and Linn and for us to properly see the impact of a resolution to a situation that had been haunting him for eight years. It had been built up, quite rightly so, as such a part of his character, defining even, and yet the impact of his daughter’s return was rushed, I felt. Yes, these longer, expositional conversations came later in the episode where we (eventually) found out what had happened to his wife and Anna (both dead, one from an ‘accident’ and one from an unexplained stomach condition), but I felt there could have been more dramatic impetus if Henrik had been involved from the top of the episode.

So this scene didn’t quite have the emotional punch it perhaps could or should have done, but judging by many people’s reactions on social media it hit the mark for them. One thing that did hit home for me was Saga’s reaction. She stood in the driveway watching Henrik and Astrid embrace and… it was difficult to know what she felt. Were her eyes misting over? Was she surprised, confused, jealous even?

(I also thought there might be a wider conspiracy in The Village, but in the end it seemed that Harriet and co were just benign utopians, trying to create a sanctuary for those who needed it. It was only Frank who was the rotten apple and had abused his powers of benevolence.)

Still, Saga was feeling pleased with herself, or at least as much as she would allow herself, and Henrik, too, was thankful for her help. He described Saga to Astrid as she was being observed at the hospital as her ‘best friend’.

You could argue that Saga had taken one child away from Henrik, but had returned another.

As for the rest of the episode, it really did feel like a procession of throwaway scenes featuring all your favourite Bridge peripheral characters. WIth the denouement next week, they were, essentially, saying goodbye. John said a few nice things to Saga (he had hooked up with Barbara, which was good to see.. I do like John), and David the pathologist was called away from his lab to carry out one final favour to Saga. Even Linn’s scenes felt like they were almost manufactured so that we got to see her one last time.

And Hans made an appearance, too. Yes, Hans.

Lillian has been really going through the emotional mill in this series, trying her best to reintegrate into the world, albeit tentatively. Tonight she actually made it out on a date and enjoyed herself, but when she got home a flower delivery man brought a huge basket of flowers for her from an unknown admirer. Lillian, of course, was also on the list of people who had wronged Tommy, so immediately these flowers looked and felt extremely threatening. And, sure enough, beneath the flowers lay the decapitated head of Hans, stolen from his grave.

A particularly nasty and gruesome way to get at someone.

Elsewhere, Silas from the gay bar where Taariq had worked had been built up and swiftly eliminated from enquiries, and the final scenes saw Julia and Ida escape Niels and Susanne’s car after they saw that Susanne’s handbag had a keychain on they recognised from a robbery they had staged – the same bag that had contained the phone that was used to track Margrethe Thurmod with earlier in the series.

I think Susanne is another red herring. With Astrid now at Henrik’s the two were edging around each other, carefully getting used to each other and their new circumstances. You always felt that this was a lot to take in for the teen: one minute she was living in a village with Frank, the next she was reunited with a father she had all but forgotten. Now he was cooking her duck and showing her her old toys.

But now she was back in Henrik’s fold, she now becomes a potential target. And, sure enough, there was a knock at the door: it was Brian/Kevin, calling round to take Henrik to their addiction meeting. Henrik told him he couldn’t come because his daughter had been found and that she was inside.

Could this have been a mistake?

And all this in the shadow of Saga’s new-found way of thinking: instead of doing the right thing because she knows it to be the procedurally correct thing to do, she was now trying to feel what was the right thing to do and go by instinct. She had already bent the rules slightly in this episode, and I do wonder whether she will be faced yet again with another scenario that will test her morality in next week’s finale.

Paul Hirons



REVIEW: The Bridge (S4 E6/8)


In the blink of an eye we’re almost at the end of this last series of The Bridge, and previously disperate characters and places were making their own merry little dance as Saga and Henrik investigated the serial killer case. All of these characters felt important somehow, and all felt a little bit dodgy, but we didn’t know how they all meshed together and what significance they played in the overall story.

Until now.

This was the episode where it all came together; where all of those seemingly separate entities were connected. By the end of episode six, we still didn’t know who the killer was, but we knew why he (or she) was killing.

Tommy: A Shock Opera
Unusually for The Bridge, the first quarter of the episode was given over to delving into Tommy Petersen’s backstory. Even the opening credits and its familiar warblings had to wait. The informant found by a hammered Henrik at the end of episode five to have been the common link between all the victims was a bit of an unknown quantity, but after this first 15 minutes, we knew his story.

We went back to four years ago.

Tommy Petersen was an undercover informant for Henrik. He had infiltrated William Ramberg’s gang – the same William Ramberg who inadvertently murdered his daughter Leonora at the hospital – and he was carrying out one last job for them before he intended to get out for good. The ‘job’ was an armed ambush at a deserted, abandoned warehouse-cum-factory. It turned into a bloodbath and after, a nerve-shredded Tommy definitely wanted out. Henrik wouldn’t let him. In desperation to get out of his undercover secondment, he turned to his psychologist – Niels Thurmod, husband of first victim Margrethe – who refused to lie for him and classify him as mentally unfit for the job. He then met with journalist Richard – the twin brother of murdered Patrik – to tell his story, anonymously, but the journalist added a crucial detail into the piece that gave him away, both to Henrik and no doubt to William. William called for Tommy for a secret meeting, and the informant, in turn, called his best mate Moyo asking him to meet him and aid his escape once he had sneaked out of the meeting.

Except Moyo didn’t come, and William soon did away with whistleblower Tommy.

Two other things about Tommy – he was Nicole’s ex and his son was Kevin. Or Brian, to give him his birth name. We’ve all know something was up with Brian/Kevin (Brevin?) – his over-eagerness to be friends with Henrik, for one thing – so now the question was: was he the killer in order to avenge his father? Will he emerge from his wheelchair, revealing his paralysis to be a ruse?

One thing’s for certain: all of these links to Tommy mean that someone is avenging him by targeting those closest to the ones who let them down. Niels, William and Richard had all failed Tommy in some way. But so had Henrik, Moyo and even Lillian.

The team was well aware that this was now personal and their lives were at risk.

I loved the way these characters all became connected, but one thing nagged me – if Henrik was investigating William and his gang four years previously, and had even come into contact with Niels in his dealings with Tommy, why was none of this apparent earlier?

Saga v Henrik
Relations between these two were very frosty. Or at least from Henrik’s side. Now fully using again and slipping into old habits of picking up young women for sex, there was an edgy strut to Hammered Henrik’s usual relaxed gait – he was wired, cocky and much darker. (It was actually quite fun to watch and Thure Lindhardt played this transformation very well.)

With Hammered Henrik now ignoring Saga, our heroine didn’t quite know how to react. Lillian more or less had to bash their heads together, but they were now riding in separate cars to crime scenes and Hammered  Henrik was ignoring her in meetings.

(One such meeting was with Tobias and his partner Nicole (Tommy’s ex), who asked Saga to hold her baby while she did something else. Getting over the horror of holding a baby, she quickly realised that the child had different eye colouring to both his parents, and she didn’t hesitate to mention this. With one sentence she had exposed the truth of the babe’s parentage, and wrecked two marriages in the process. On their way back to the car after their disastrous interview with Tobias and Nicole, Jonas said to Saga with a half chuckle: “That’s why I don’t like chatting to you.”)

Saga did see an opportunity to make amends: she wanted to solve the case of Alice and the two Sabroe daughters. She thought if she could solve that case she could make everything right again, which her therapist noted with interest. It seems that Saga has always done this – compulsive behaviour to control the things she can’t control.

But, of course, Saga is a fine detective and soon enough she had found a lead: Alice had been seeing a therapist herself. And his name was Frank.

Yep. That Frank.

The Village
Which leads us all back to The Village, and Frank, who was acting creepier and creepier. He passively-aggressively demanded Sofie and Christoffer stay, and when the lad came across Astrid in the woods, speaking Danish words to a gravestone, she swore him to secrecy.


The name on the headstone was Anna.


Two things here: if Astrid is indeed one of Hammered Henrik’s missing daughters, that’s awesome and amazing and obviously we need to know what happened to them; but there was also a hard sadness because Anna was in the ground.

Everything is coming together. It really is. But with Henrik finding Moyo’s partner’s body in her apartment and the killer still in the building, the action cut away to outside of the house… and we heard shots fired. Let’s hope it was Hammered Henrik who fired them and not the killer – his daughter is out there and she’s waiting for him.

But who is the killer? Could it be another of Tommy’s ex’s, Steph, daughter of Malene? Or could it be Brevin?

Paul Hirons



Saga Norén’s Porsche 911 to be offered for auction

We’re only a few episodes away from the end of The Bridge, but for the cast and crew it’s long gone. One of the questions that many have asked Sofia Helin was whether she was able to keep any of Saga’s props, including her iconic 1977 Porshe 911S.

The car, which has appeared in the show right from the very start, does now have a future – it’s going to be auctioned in the UK in July: it’s to be offered at Bonhams Festival of Speed Sale on 13th July at Goodwood, with proceeds going to international charity WaterAid courtesy of the producers of the hit series, Filmlance, part of Endemol Shine Group, and Nimbus Films.

The Porsche has inspired a cult-like following amongst fans of The Bridge, with dozens of forums dedicated to unravelling the story behind the car and its provenance. Imported to Sweden from San Francisco in 2009, the car is finished in Jäger Grun – an olive green – and has become one of the programme’s undisputed stars.

It was introduced in the first series of the show, known as Bron/Broen in Sweden, and is driven by the show’s main protagonist, the beautiful and enigmatic homicide detective Saga Norén. Her exotic choice of car always aroused jealousy among her co-workers at the Malmö police station and fuelled rumours surrounding the mysterious Norén’s past, which, obviously, were explained in the final series. 

Sofia said: “Saga’s Porsche is not only a big part of my own acting life but has also become part of Swedish TV history. I’m so pleased the sale of this car will go to such a good cause. Through my work with WaterAid, I’ve seen first-hand the difference clean water can make to people’s health, education and livelihoods. Just £15 can provide one person with water so the money raised from the auction will have a huge impact.”

So, time to get saving…


REVIEW: The Bridge (S4 E4/8)

There was so much going on in this fourth episode of The Bridge – the best of the bunch so far – I hardly know where to start. It was full of twists and turns, evolving character arcs and development, and some real emotion.

Some feel that watching The Bridge is a difficult undertaking, not least because of the sheer amount of characters that spin in orbit around the core story. This has always been Hans Rosenfeldt’s way; first writing them as seemingly disparate entities and then, slowly but surely, connecting them and, where necessary, letting them go.

Take Taariq for instance. The illegal immigrant connected with Margrethe Thormod’s murder had been a key character for three episodes – he was a suspect, then someone who helped the police and then, lastly, someone who was used secretly by the police for tracking purposes. Taariq’s story came to an abrupt end tonight when he shot himself in a stand-off with police.

(An interesting sideline to this scene: Taariq, who was trying to escape to Sweden, asked Saga and Henrik if he would be able to gain asylum. Henrik was all up for telling a porkie in order to diffuse the situation (Taariq was holding a gun to a police woman’s head at the time). Saga, meanwhile, faced a dilemma she has faced several times over the course of The Bridge – bend the truth or tell the truth. As ever she chose the unfiltered, unvarnished truth – that Taariq would not be granted asylum – and he shot himself.)

(Oh, and a bit later we also found out how Saga had come to drive her iconic car – she had won it in a bet at the Stockholm police academy. Like Han Solo did with the Millennium Falcon. He didn’t win it in a bet in Stockholm, but you know what I mean.)

Even though Taariq was now out of the picture, he had led us to another character – Morgan Sonner: A confident suburbanite whose car Taariq recognised outside The Cave on the night Thermod had been seen last. Henrik and Saga investigated him, and his car – he maintained that he was out of the country on that fateful night, but CCTV footage suggested otherwise – and his wife, Malene, a PR executive for a healthcare group, one that Thermode had been a member of.

There was a link between the two.

I still think that these two are red herrings, but there is something fishy about them both: Morgan with his prowling around at The Cave and the inference that he had been unfaithful with his brother’s wife, and Malene with her steely gaze.

Still, these two were the focus of Saga, Henrik and Jonas’s investigation (Jonas was much more involved this week). It was only towards the end of the episode that they became involved in the death of the little girl in the hospital, Leonora, that their attention shifted a little. At the end of episode three, we saw her accosted by The Clown – this week we saw what happened. He had injected her with something, and she had become gravely ill. The Clown had sent a video to her arms dealer father, William, saying that the injection was poison, and only paying a ransom would produce an antidote (although, I found myself thinking: this is a hospital, surely they could find out what was going on with the child and provide an antidote themselves). In the end, William paid the ransom, retrieved the antidote and injected his daughter with what he thought was a life-saving shot. It was, in fact, poison: The Clown had made William kill his own daughter.

Pretty dark.

Now then, three-quarters of the way through you could be forgiven for thinking ‘what the hell is going on’ because everything was going on. And you wouldn’t have been alone – Saga and the team were scratching their heads too, and their suspect board was becoming extremely crowded. And there were no links between any of them or the cases either. There was Margrethe Thermod, a politician, Patrik, a clown at the hospital, and then Leonora, a child at the hospital. Perhaps there were superficial links, but links that could be joined together. Until Saga had a Eureka! moment – stoning, electrocution and poisoning… all methods of execution in the death penalty. Was the killer carrying out a warped modus operandi based around the concept of execution and protest at the death penalty? If this was the case, there were four methods left to go, including death by firing squad.

Which made me immediately think of Creepy Frank and Christoffer in The Village. The neighbours had still been kicking up a stink about Sofie and Christoffer, and Harriet – the stern matriarch – had rebuked them for doing so. (This was an interesting metaphor for the plight of migrants, I felt – established members of a community reacting badly and suspiciously to newcomers.) Fair play to Harriet, I thought. But then she also told Frank it was time for him to show them what Sofie and Christoffer’s true purpose for being in the village was. Frank then began to – what felt like – radicalise Christoffer, offering to be the father figure in his life and teaching him how to shoot with a shotgun.

With death by firing squad next on the list, or at least on the list, I did wonder whether Frank was going to get Christoffer to do something awful in the near future.

But of course, The Bridge being The Bridge, there was plenty more to digest: Saga was making headway with her therapist, slowly but surely, admitting that she hadn’t felt good when she went through the stash of her sister’s old stuff and saw that she had been erased from her life; Saga and Henrik’s relationship continued to falter, especially after Julia and Ida had done a runner and had perhaps stolen some of Henrik’s personal effects (I don’t think they did a runner, I think they were kidnapped) and some intense baby chat ensued; and, elsewhere, back at The Village, Christoffer and Astrid’s relationship became a physical one. I’m intrigued by Astrid – she likes to dress up and become other characters to carry out deeds, as we saw last week when she assumed a nasty made-up character and clobbered The Village’s main accuser over the head. And there was Lillian – dear Lillian – who was going out on a date, her first after Lars, and found the whole thing a bit too much.

Like I said, there was a lot to process, but with the killer’s MO now determined (kind of) I’m expecting the last half of this series to quicken the pace. As for these wounded people, all caught up in this clever, layered, insanely nasty crime, who knows? They’re all teetering on the edge.

Paul Hirons


REVIEW: The Bridge (S4 E3/8)

Last week’s episode of The Bridge was, really, all about Saga. Her heroic return to police work and her subsequent mini-meltdown thrust her back into our consciousness with a jolt, but here, in episode three it was all about Henrik.

Which was good to see, because – yes – Saga is our key character and one that we love and root for dearly, but Henrik has always felt like a slightly peripheral character, often designed to act as a counterpoint to Saga. But here, in this episode, there was real character development and a type of development that didn’t bode well for he and Saga’s relationship.

It’s just a hunch so far, but you felt that there were cracks beginning to show.

But we’ll come to Saga and Henrik later.

As ever, there was a lot going on in this episode.

Dan the nasty cab driver – the last person to see Margrethe Thormod alive and Sofie’s abusive ex-husband – was hijacked by a group of armed men on the way to Malmö from Denmark. Now, at the end of the last episode, we saw Patrik – poor, electrocuted Patrik – working in a hospital as a clown to entertain the sick kids. He was told to leave a private room by a father who said that his daughter was scared of clowns. This father – William – turned out to be Dan’s boss, and he took out the person who betrayed him and carried out the hijacking with a bullet (or three). Make no mistake: William is an arms dealer and a very bad man.

Who just happens to have a sick daughter in the hospital.

Elsewhere, Richard was eliminated from enquiries after it was revealed it was that he who was behind Red October – a fictional activist group, created for publicity. And, in The Village (as we’ll call it for now), there was a burglary, which sent some of the locals into a bit of a mild panic. Christoffer was revealed to be the person who did the stealing, but he and Astrid’s friendship showed signs of developing. I got a real feeling something is going to kick off here in The Village, but it wasn’t in this episode.

The most intriguing thread throughout this instalment was family.

After teenage urchins Julia and Ida were picked up by the cops, Henrik took a shine to them and ended up taking them home with him to look after them. This did not impress Saga and she was immediately uncomfortable (she had started seeing a therapist, and, as you would imagine, was very straightforward in listing all the awful things that had happened to her), but Henrik was really enjoying having two kids – living kids – back in his home. He joked with them, fed them spaghetti and all those latent parenting skills spilled out. You got the impression that as Saga watched on she didn’t feel at home with Henrik anymore, that he had changed, and became someone she didn’t recognise.

(And Henrik answered a question we might have been asking: were Julia and Ida his missing children. No, he answered Saga, they weren’t.)

Their relationship was further complicated when Saga dropped the bombshell – in her usual, matter-of-fact way – that she was pregnant. When Henrik expressed surprise – they had been using contraception – Saga replied, bluntly, “I’ve only sex with myself and you for the past two years.”

She intended to terminate the pregnancy, while Henrik wasn’t quite so clear-cut. Another wedge between these two, perhaps.

In terms of the investigation, there was also movement. They let Taariq go (Henrik pretended to let him escape custody and his impending deportation) but they had bugged his watch and tracked him. Whenever any police force undertake a secret bugging plan like this in any crime drama it always goes wrong and, sure, enough Taariq pawned his watch to buy a gun. They had lost him, and now he was on his way to meet Morgan Sonner. Whoever he is.

Finally, there was action at the hospital – another clown made an appearance, tasered Sarah’s mother outside her room and burst in, scaring the living bejesus out of the sick girl and looking like he was going to abduct her. So… are the murders all connected to William, Sarah’s dodgy arms-dealing dad? Saga and co had been working on the assumption that Patrik – a clown at the hospital – was a case of mistaken identity. What if Patrik was the intended victim? And, if so, why?

Questions, questions, questions. And, really Hans Rosenfeldt, damn you – an evil clown just before bedtime? We know that you like your scary tableaux and imagery, but this was one step too far, surely.

Paul Hirons




The Bridge to get an Asian version

Is The Bridge the most franchised crime drama in television history?

It has already inspired remakes in here in UK, France, US, Mexico, Germany, and Russia. And now there’s going to be an Asian version.

According to TBI Vision:

The adaptation will air on Viu in late 2018 and is set to become ESG’s first scripted content project in Asia for an OTT service.

It is expected to shoot in July and begin airing in Malaysia and Singapore later this year.

It follows the story of a body that is found on the border of two countries, forcing an investigator from each country to work together to solve the case. The border will be between Malaysia and Singapore in the latest adaptation.

Where will this end?

REVIEW: The Bridge (S4 E2/8)

Last week’s opener of series four of The Bridge had a bit of everything: a brutal murder full of socio-political context, Saga in prison, Henrik and new partner Jonas undertaking all the procedural work and a new raft of peripheral characters that will all soon make sense.

It was terrific stuff.

Saga’s stint in prison was, I thought, a very necessary diversion – she needed to be in a place that stripped away everything, and somewhere that precipitated a reboot. As intriguing and interesting as that little mini-story was, and it was, I was glad that it only lasted an episode. I needed to see Saga back to what she does best.

And we last saw Saga, of course, laying on her stomach, in a pool of her own blood. Thankfully, she survived the attack and was back on the job (thanks to Henrik, who had pushed Lillian to get her on the case). The sequence in which she pulled on her boots, her leather trousers and her long, heavy overcoat, and strode out to her Porsche – to full hero music – almost felt as if her stint in prison led up to that moment. As she sped off towards the police station, a slight smile creased her lips. Yes, a smile. Saga was back – she knew it and we knew it.

And, when Linn gave her her badge and her belongings, welcoming her back with that slightly stern, very-much-maternal way Linn has become famous for, she was thrilled. How do we know Saga was thrilled? She sprawled the case files on Linn’s desk getting to work straight away. Linn had to tell her to get her own desk.

We were told that this series’ overriding theme was to be identity, and in this episode, identity was writ large.

Passports, police badges and, later on, the tale of the twin brothers. This series, especially in this episode, is obviously examining its characters’ identity – what it means to be someone, what they need to be someone, and what happens when they are someone.

The opening scene saw two young teenage girls – Ida and Julia, – homeless scavengers – scam a crowd of people, feigning a seizure and stealing some belongings from the concerned people who had stopped to help. In this particular scam, they had managed to take a mobile and a wallet, and you just knew, as the camera lingered on the phone, that it would become significant. And indeed it did. The girls were rescued from an aggressive buyer of stolen goods by none other than Taariq – the man who last saw Margrethe Thormod alive, and the man who she had deported. The girls gave the mobile phone to Taariq to say thank you for helping them, but when Taariq was eventually picked up by Saga and Henrik they found that the phone had a GPS tracking device, locked onto Thormod’s phone.

Taariq was in big trouble.

I also have a sneaking suspicion about these two teenage thieves, but let’s park that for a while.

Hernik and Saga seemed to be getting into the swing of things again. Henrik asked Saga if she wanted to stay with him while she was in Copenhagen. She said no. “Why not stay with me?” Henrik asked. “Because you live there,” she answered in the way only Saga could answer. Saga’s intervention on the case had rubbed Jonas the wrong way, especially as he was now stuck behind a desk – I wonder if Jonas will do something to sabotage the investigation later on down the line.

There was a lot going on in the episode, but it was all so beautifully constructed and intertwined, seamless even.  The benefit of all these new peripheral characters is that you pay attention more, you want to know who they are and how they fit into the story.  As I mentioned last week that these peripheral characters’ storylines felt tighter in this series (so far), and their role in the whole story seemed a lot more focused. The benefit of having eight episodes instead of 10.

And, we said hello again to The Pathologist (revealed in our interview with actor Gabriel Flores Jair to called David), and John Lundqvist, who had been seconded to Copenhagen to help with the case… there had been another murder. This time it was Patrik, the twin brother of investigative journalist, Richard. Poor Patrick had been electrocuted while drinking a beer in the hot tub. What a way to go.

And yet there was more intrigue. Sofie and Christoffer had been taken to a remote village by Frank. There, they had met the village matriarch, Harriet, and you got the sense something big was going to happen here. Harriet was creepy and stern, although she insisted she wanted nothing in return for housing Sofie and her son except for them to be ‘good people’, whatever that may mean. And, while Christoffer was wandering around his new ‘hood, he met a young teenage girl called Astrid.

Every time I see a teenage girl in this series, I immediately think of Henrik and his daughters. We’ll see.

Saga, of course, apart from investigating Margrethe Thormod’s murder (look out for her husband, who’s up to something), having frenzied, intermittent and ultimately emotionless sex with Henrik, was also looking into the case of Henrik’s missing wife Alice and children. She was working on the assumption that she had left voluntarily – Henrik admitted they had been having problems – and talking to a female colleague of Alice’s, who revealed she was close to a male colleague. A tiny bit of progress.

But there was something else going on with Saga – she was having disturbing flashbacks involving a gruesome self-harmer in what looked like prison, zoning out in her car at traffic lights and succumbing to a terrifying panic attack at the wheel of her car.

She may have got her identity back, but you sense there’s a lot more to process for Saga to fully feel the benefit of a reboot.

Paul Hirons