This review contains spoilers.
Saga’s recovering in hospital after being stabbed by Elsa (Linda Kunze) following her acquittal; as Henrik explains, her erstwhile ‘friend’ thought doing so would somehow make her stay. Henrik doesn’t think Saga should go back to work immediately, but – inevitably – she disagrees, and is soon up and about again. Long-time viewers will love the scene in which Saga ditches her iconic Porsche’s dust covers and takes it for its first post-release spin, with a smile of pure joy on her face. There are telltale signs that she’s struggling, but it isn’t until later in the episode that the repressed panic and fear comes bubbling to the surface. Helin is, as always, absolutely superb in her portrayal of Saga’s multifaceted personality.
One key difference in this series of The Bridge has been the focus on Denmark, which is set in stone in this episode by Saga’s new lodgings with her sort-of boyfriend in Copenhagen and her secondment to the Danish police. The parallels with Martin’s story in series one are amusing: Saga takes time to adjust to her new surroundings, and isn’t at all impressed by the Danish force’s approach to sharing office space. Lillian (Sarah Boberg) patiently explains that hotdesking is supposed to foster creativity; Saga tersely responds that diligence is more productive. When in Copenhagen, though…Jonas’s presence isn’t helping matters. He’s furious about having been sidelined after his homophobia started to hinder the investigation, and has switched to passive-aggressive mode to indicate his displeasure. Mikael Birkkjær has made a strong impression in just two episodes as the kind of all-too-plausible office nuisance sadly familiar to most of us, but writers Hans Rosenfeldt and Camilla Ahlgren are adept at crafting characters with room to grow believably. It remains to be seen whether Jonas will learn something from the increasingly complex case the Danish police have become embroiled in.
The investigation into the brutal stoning to death of Margrethe Thormod continues, but matters are complicated with the revelation that prime suspect Taariq Shirazi (Alexander Behrang Keshtkar) – the Iranian refugee fleeing persecution – is, as the detectives learn during his interrogation, a decent man who was, he claims, being secretly assisted by Margrethe. Her suppressed resentment at having to make what she felt to be cruel decisions as head of the Danish immigration service was assuaged in private by acts of kindness to those whose deportation she’d ordered; before her death, she was engaged in finding a new identity for the unfortunate Taariq. His encounter with two teenage girls who gave him a stolen mobile phone as thanks for rescuing them from a beating does him no favours initially when the phone reveals an incriminating link to the Thormod case, but when forensics discover two sets of small prints on the device, a whole new line of inquiry opens up.
As always with The Bridge, the complicated multi-plotting technique favoured by Rosenfeldt and Ahlgren is really starting to work its compelling magic. The house recommended to desperate mother and son Sofie and Christoffer (Lisa Linnertorp and Erik Lönngren) by her distinctly sinister colleague Frank (Anders Mossling) turns out to be in a rather forbidding village. Something tells me that this place won’t turn out to be the refuge they so desperately need. We’re lulled into a false sense of security early on by the revelation that Richard Dahlqvist’s beating was at the hands of the disgruntled boyfriend of the woman his twin Patrik (played, like his brother, by the excellent Pontus T. Pagler) picked up while pretending to be him on a night out. A detour into Patrik’s work as a children’s entertainer at a hospital is played for laughs when he inadvertently upsets a young patient with chronic coulrophobia (God, I’ll miss this show). The luckless clown makes his excuses and leaves, but it’s another of his assumed identities that proves to be his undoing when a shadowy figure – a member of the terrorist group Red October, perhaps – electrocutes him in his brother’s outdoor hot tub in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity. In previous series, this has always been the point in The Bridge’s rich narrative web at which red herrings and misdirection started to build up into a satisfying knot, ready to be pulled apart with characteristic decisiveness by our favourite duo. Our new mystery looks set to be no exception, and it’s a treat to watch.
On a more personal front, it’s a delight to see the old gang reunited as Saga collects her case file from Linn (Maria Kulle, now radiating an understated warmth towards the woman who perplexed her in series three, even as Saga hilariously commandeers her superior’s office without waiting for permission). Saga also pays a visit to the unnamed but indispensable pathologist (Gabriel Flores Jair) and – come on, it wouldn’t be The Bridge without him – John (Rafael Pettersson), the show’s unsung hero, whose IT expertise will undoubtedly save everyone’s bacon at least ten times before the series draws to a close. Saga’s relationship with Henrik, however, is starting to founder as she finds that cohabiting is as much of a chore to her as ever, despite the upside of regular sex. Henrik’s passing remark that he and his murdered wife Alice were having marital difficulties before the latter’s unsolved disappearance sparks off a new train of thought, and – to his muted displeasure – she starts to pursue the theory that Alice might have left with the girls voluntarily. The gradual revelation of Henrik’s shortcomings as a husband isn’t exactly conducive to the new couple’s domestic harmony, and Thure Lindhardt’s air of resigned sadness says more about love’s pitfalls than any number of words, as Henrik’s lopsided relationship with his complicated lover starts to unravel. I know I won’t be the only one crossing everything and hoping that his and Saga’s treasurable connection can survive this series.
Read Gem’s review of the previous episode here.