sat 25/05/2024

The Bridge, Series 3, BBC Four | reviews, news & interviews

The Bridge, Series 3, BBC Four

The Bridge, Series 3, BBC Four

Saga Norén looks for a new Danish partner and a scourge of the LGBT community

'The Bridge': Sofia Helin as Saga Norén BBC/ZDF/Carolina Romare

The Saga saga has come round for a third turn of the wheel. Much water has flowed under The Bridge since series two. Without wishing to provoke a visit from the spoiler Stasi, it is safe to reveal that Martin is no longer in the picture. He is currently enjoying Her Danish Majesty’s hospitality, and over the water in Malmö Saga is partnerless.

Indeed in the Copenhagen police force, her reputation is no longer just as an oddball with no sense of humour, communication skills or empathy. She’s the one who ratted on her closest colleague.

So series three is all about palling Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) up with another detective from Denmark. This is proving difficult so far. In the first episode the job is taken by a no-bullshit cop called Hanne (played by Kirsten Olesen; some may recognise her as the dying artist from The Legacy whose will triggers so much family strife). It looks as if Hanne and Saga, who don’t get along at all, are going to join the shortish list of female buddy cops. "You and I are just working together," says Hanne in response to Saga's stilted attempt at small talk. But some posts, a bit like the Defence against the Dark Arts job at Hogwarts, are difficult to fill, and by the second episode the role has been taken by Henrik (Thure Lindhardt), a young man with an enigmatic home life who looks as if he may be a match for her. He even hits on Saga, but then he hits on half of Copenhagen with the full knowledge of his beautiful bedmate. 

The heart of the drama is always Saga's jagged, off-centre worldview

As for Saga’s new case, she needs a partner from Copenhagen because a body turns up in Malmo but the victim is Danish. This being The Bridge, the murder scene has a baroque quality. A middle-aged woman is found propped up at a table in a warehouse, surrounded by mannikins all with emojis painted on their faces. It’s an outlandish mock-up of a happy nuclear family.

The victim runs – ran – a gender-neutral primary school, which not everyone is ready for, particularly in Denmark. Political correctness is such a deeply Swedish thing that even Danes – by anyone’s lights, far more on-message than the rest of us – roll their eyes. Saga has learned the language by rote, deploying the gender-neutral pronoun “hen”, which hasn't made it to Denmark.

When a Danish pastor who marries homosexuals in his church is garrotted in episode two, it is clear that the killer is on a moral crusade to clear up a contemporary infestation. A spectacularly bigoted Christian vlogger (Sonja Richter, pictured) is an early suspect. Others on the run include the first victim’s paranoid son (Asbjørn Krogh Nissen) and an ex-jailbird (Boris Glibusic) with revenge on his mind – and by the thrilling end of episode two, he has a lot more to avenge.

But the heart of the drama is always Saga's jagged, off-centre worldview, which in this series is complicated by the hands-across-the-water marriage of her boss Hans (Dag Malmberg) to Martin’s superior Lillian (Sarah Boberg). There's also the discombobulating arrival on her doorstep of her mother, whom she hasn’t seen for 20 years, with family news she’d rather bury. Helin’s eye-popping, jerky physicality and robotic speech patterns continue to be dependably weird, and the plot in which she’s embroiled is as gripping if eccentric as its predecessors. Hats off to head writer Hans Rosenfeldt for putting LGBT issues at the heart of a popular crime drama. 


Political correctness is such a deeply Swedish thing that even the Danes giggle about it


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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