I’ve been enjoying the excellent 3rd series of The Bridge, though I do miss Martin, who is now banged up in prison. However, original though the series is, it is not quite a cliché-free zone. Here’s one I spotted: someone lets themselves into their car and you know, just know, that a sinister figure is going to rise up behind them and strangle them. Plausible perhaps at night, but in broad daylight would someone really not notice that there was a person crouching in the back seat of their car?
2. This is from my great friend Sue (suehepworth.com). In the US Law and Order the police show up to interview a witness at their place of work. Do they give the police their full attention? No: directors don’t like talking heads, so the witness goes on loading their van, polishing glasses or whatever. If they are at home, they will be folding the laundry.
3. Someone – probably a woman – is running through woods. There is wobbly, hand-held camera-work and a soundtrack of crashing through undergrowth and gasping for breath. Cut! The next scene will be the police being called out to a body.
4. Someone’s alone in the house and the door bell rings. They answer the door. Their face lights up: ‘oh, it’s you!’ Cut! The next time we see them they are dead.
For my money this is easily the best thing on TV at the moment. We are just over half way through the ten episodes and it is gripping viewing.. It is intricately plotted and full of surprises. It never lets up. It’s got everything: drama, suspense, humour, pathos. It’s beautifully filmed, has a scintillating script, and great performances from Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia. The characters are what make it. It was a brilliant idea, making the lead female character, Saga, suffer from Aspergers. It might not have come off, but it does, and the ramifications of that are cleverly woven into the plot. Saga is a good detective, rigorous to the point of obsession,and coolly rational, but she has no idea how to handle people, a serious failing which is leading a problem with one of her team that threatens the investigation. Teaming her with Martin, who is far more swayed by emotion and liable to go off the rails in a different way, works perfectly.
Also airing has been Hinterland, first seen on BBC Wales in Welsh, and currently partly in English and partly in Welsh with subtitles. The BBC have been inviting comparisons with Nordic Noir. I am not sure that it does it any favours to set the bar so high. I have only watched the first episode so far, but my initial impression was that it couldn’t hold a candle to The Bridge or The Killing. The idea wasn’t very original: abuse in a children’s home leads to an act of revenge (this isn’t really giving anything away) and nor were the characters. The lead detective is a maverick loner with a mystery in his past, but I couldn’t summon up that much interest in what it was. And I was never agog to find out what would happen next as I am with The Bridge. Maybe I’ll give it another go. But I’ll definitely have a date with The Bridge this Saturday night: no doubt about that.