|Back on the case – Saga and Martin in The Bridge series 2. Pics: BBC|
BBC4: starts Saturday, 4 January, 9pm
Story: Thirteen months after the events of the first season, a coastal tanker leaves the Öresund waterway and heads straight for the Øresund Bridge.
THE FIRST series had such good leading characters in Saga and Martin, against such an atmospheric story, that it’s already been remade twice – by the Americans (set on the US-Mexican border) and Sky Atlantic (as The Tunnel).
So, the question with this follow-up is the usual one that hangs over sequels – will it match the original, or will it, in this case, be a bridge too far?
On the evidence of the opener, it does keep up the fine standard of series one. If anything, it heightens the emotional tug as the icy Swede and devastated Dane are reunited over an investigation into a crewless tanker that crashes into Øresund Bridge.
|She may not show it, but Saga is a bit of a softie for Martin|
Moving reunion for Saga and Martin
This crossing between the countries obviously has to link the two leads, and it got the mystery rolling in series one and was the setting for the emotionally shattering finale. To recap, the madman Jens had killed Martin’s son, Augustus, and Martin was only stopped from killing Jens by a wounding bullet from Saga’s pistol.
All the characters have moved on in series two. Saga has a boyfriend and reads books on ‘Relationship Skills’. Martin is in a trial separation from the wife he cheated on, Mette. He has also gone grey and is on some boring police duty following the trauma of his son’s murder.
When Martin and Saga meet again, it packs an emotional punch. Knowing how socially challenged Saga is, with her Asperger’s-like behaviour, it’s quite touching when she goes out of her way to see him personally on a flimsy pretext after 13 months of silence. As Martin says, he could have emailed over the info she requests.
The unspoken conclusion we draw is that, despite her having the emotions of an Easter Island statue, Saga obviously has some feeling for her old partner.
And Martin, around whose grief everyone treads carefully, is almost in tears to be sitting alongside the woman who treats him as bluntly as ever. In one moving scene, they are crossing the Øresund Bridge in her baby-shit green Porsche when Martin is overwhelmed to be near the scene of their disturbing confrontation with Jens. Saga’s inept response is to turn on the radio.
The plot here is an intriguing backdrop to their story, as the mystery tanker is found to have no crew but five captives chained below deck – three Swedes and two Danes. They all seem to be drugged, hampering Saga and Martin’s attempts to work out what happened.
Series two of The Bridge is mysterious and affecting
But when one of them dies, the stakes are raised. And the opener concludes with a shocking discovery about the cause of death.
Once again, the story is beautifully filmed, with the bridge and sea looking eerie and mysterious. The story is compelling and the writers have had the courage to move the characters forward, making them more affecting then ever.
- Saga is such a by-the-book personality that she always gives her full title on meeting anyone, even children. Here’s a compilation of her from series one.
Cast: Sofia Helin Saga Norén, Kim Bodnia Martin Rohde, Dag Malmberg Hans Petterson, Sarah Boberg Lillian, Lars Simonsen Jens Hansen, Puk Scharbau Mette Rohde, Rafael Pettersson John Lundqvist, Vickie Bak Laursen as Pernille, Henrik Lundström Rasmus Larsson, Tova Magnusson Victoria Nordgren, Sven Ahlström Oliver Nordgren, Camilla Bendix Gertrud Kofoed, Fredrik Hiller Marcus Stenberg