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Not quite a bridge too far
on 2 February 2014
In this darkest of Scandinavian noir detective thrillers, the Swedish autistic workaholic Saga joins forces once again with Danish Martin, the once easy-going philanderer now estranged from his partner Mette and traumatised by a ghastly personal tragedy. The complex crime of eco-terrorism which they are required to unravel turns out to be less gripping than the relationships between the main characters. Despite Saga's frequent resemblance to a robot, lack of empathy and wooden quoting from textbooks on how to behave, her acting towards the end is excellent in showing the dawning of emotion in her face as Martin forces her to confront the past events that have so damaged her psyche, and also as she has to deal with a final dilemma. In portraying a busy office where a disparate group of officers are thrown together, working under stress, there are also frequent touches of humour in what might otherwise be a very bleak and macabre film, with frequent scenes of speeded up grey clouds streaming frenetically over ugly grey concrete blocks.
The plot twists and the continual introduction of new, seemingly unconnected storylines for the watcher to work out while contending with subtitles made me wish I had noted key events at the end of each episode. The body count was so high, and the events at times so ludicrous, that I almost gave up watching. However, I was both rehooked and quite impressed by the final two episodes, with their pace and some real depth. The writer Hans Rosenfeldt has ensured the plot "adds up", which is often not the case in this kind of drama, plus he has left at least three loose ends to justify a third series.
Even if you have reservations, the dramatic sweep of the Øresund Bridge, never fails to impress in the opening shots. This has developed to be stronger and more "multi-layered" than Series 1.