The Bridge (Bron/Broen)
With her leather outfits, black boots and 1977 Porsche 911, Sofia Helin returns as Swedish homicide detective Saga Norén. Her place on “the spectrum” means poor social skills, but she is also capable of abrupt episodes of lateral thought, insightful enough to change the course of homicide investigations.
|Sofia Helin, The Bridge|
Thanks to one of the most audacious setups in any police procedural series, Season One started with the Danish and Swedish police collaborating over a body found on the bridge linking Sweden and Denmark. It’s really the remains of two bodies – the upper torso of a female Swedish politician and the lower half of a Danish prostitute. Placed exactly on the border between the two countries, the case necessitated a joint investigation.
Now in its fourth and arguably its best season, her first partner, the wonderful Danish homicide detective Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) is still languishing in jail, convicted of murdering his son’s killer. As she is wont to do, Saga had dobbed him in. Her new Danish partner Henrik Sabroe (
Thure Lindhardt), is still haunted by the death of his wife, the disappearance of his daughters and his previous narcotics addiction. He is also the person Saga blithely and often inappropriately refers to as someone “I have sex with”.
|Thure Lindhardt, Sofia Helin, The Bridge|
Early in this new series, at a session with a shrink, Saga is asked for “the background to the events that led you here”. Her reply provides an interesting take on Saga’s perspective of the previous three seasons:
“Mum had Munchausen by proxy. She almost killed my little sister. I made sure my parents went to jail. Then I took care of Jennifer. She killed herself at 14. Emil Larssen murdered my boss and friend Hans Pettersson. He’d used a paperclip I brought to his cell to slit his wrists. I don’t know if I left it there by accident or deliberately…When he tried to hang himself before I wasn’t sure if I wanted to save him. I think I wanted him to die. I reported my friend and colleague Martin Rohde for having poisoned his son’s murderer. He got 10 years. Then my mum returned. She killed herself but made it look like I killed her. I was in jail for just over a year and was released a few days ago. Having been stabbed in the neck with a broken table tennis bat.”
The psychiatrist responds: “I see…we’ve got a bit to work with”.
The intricate, often brilliant plotting produces some immersive police investigations. But The Bridge is significantly elevated by Sofia Helin’s portrayal of Saga. Her talk with the psychiatrist encapsulates why we have become so fascinated with her. For a person who conducts herself almost entirely without interest in private lives (hers or anyone else’s), who speaks the word ‘emotion’ as through it came from another planet and who thinks love is only a conjunction of certain biological elements, it’s the personal, emotive events that constantly disrupt her modus operandi.
She wants her existence to be solely defined by her forensic skills at homicide investigations and thereby avoid what she regards as the “psychosocial”. Sofia Helin is brilliant at showing Saga’s almost robotic misfiring as the personal barges into her professional life.
Underneath, she’s an altogether different text. “And everything…comes back to the beginning”.