‘The Bridge’ Series Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by

Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger in The Bridge FX The Bridge Series Premiere Review

The new FX drama The Bridge has something in common with a few other notable films and TV series dealing with disturbed killers such as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and, more specifically, AMC’s The Killing, in that they all originally hail from Scandinavia.

Originally known as Bron or Broen – depending on if you’re speaking Swedish or Danish – the series depicts an investigation sparked by a brutal murder where the victim’s body is positioned on a bridge at exactly the halfway point between Sweden and Denmark.

For its part, The Bridge is one of those rare instances where the U.S. version might actually have something significant over its predecessor in terms of the depth of story it has the opportunity to tell, thanks its change in geographic location. Whatever cultural divides may exist between the two Scandinavian countries, it seems a good bet the tension between El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico is primed to be far more combustible as far as the sociopolitical aspects of the series’ storytelling are concerned.

As evidence that the series plans to use its locations to not only discuss the cultural differences between the two primary investigators – played by Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds) and Demián Bichir from The Heat and his Oscar-nominated performance in A Better Life ­­– to examine the hot button issue of immigration reform, the victim placed on the titular bridge is a Texas judge (or half of her) who recently made a ruling against Mexican day workers’ ability to seek work from street corners in El Paso.

Annabeth Gish in The Bridge FX The Bridge Series Premiere Review

Annabeth Gish in ‘The Bridge’

Additionally, as the investigation progresses, it seems the killer is not only feeding a sadistic need – a la some of the murderers from Dexter or season 3 of The Killing – but rather he (or she) is also intent on making a statement addressing the enormous disparity in the amount of crime seen in El Paso as opposed to Juårez. Late in the episode, a digitally distorted voice asks the detectives, “Why is one dead white woman more important than so many just across the bridge? How long can El Paso look away?”

While the murder of the judge and the placement of her body (and that of a missing Juárez girl) on the bridge sets the plot in motion and creates the framework of the series, it is the relationship between Kruger and Bichir that ultimately drives The Bridge. As much as the structure of the series is built around the literal and figurative separation of people and places, so, too, are the lives of its characters. Bichir brings a sort of everyman persona to his depiction of Juárez Detective Marco Ruiz. His embattled cop has to struggle with being as honest as he can be in a mostly corrupt environment, while balancing the needs of his family life and navigating the choppy waters of a newly formed (albeit, initially reluctant) partnership with El Paso Detective Sonya Cross (Kruger).

The Cross character will undoubtedly be the topic of many a water cooler conversation, as she joins the growing ranks of psychologically challenged protagonists such as Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison on Homeland, and, most recently, Danes’ real-life husband, Hugh Dancy, as the troubled Will Graham on Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. The character’s (seemingly) undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome builds a kind of wall that seems to place her at a disadvantage in some aspects, as Cross lacks the appropriate empathy needed to handle the recently bereaved (as evidenced by her inadvertently cold questioning of the decedent’s husband), and earlier when she attempts to prevent Annabeth Gish’s Charlotte from crossing the bridge in an ambulance, even though her husband is suffering a heart attack.

Diane Kruger and Ted Levine in The Bridge FX The Bridge Series Premiere Review

Concerns may surface as to how the character was able to rise to such a level within department and why it is that she’s allowed to take point on a very high-profile case, but there is the suggestion that inability to respond to social cues and lack of empathy aside, Cross is a skilled detective who has benefited greatly from her close professional relationship with Ted Levine’s Lt. Hank Wade.

Along with the detectives, The Bridge also introduces two El Paso reporters played by Matthew Lillard and Emily Rios, as well as a potential suspect in the form of Australian actor Thomas M. Wright – who weaves through the first hour with such intensity and menace, he seems as likely to be a mere distraction as the actual killer. Given the amount of characters introduced while the plot is laid out, the pilot does feel a little overstuffed and uneven at times. In fact, the transitions from investigative procedural elements with Cross and Ruiz to the technologically sophisticated attack on the bridge’s security system – and later, Lillard’s character – creates an inconsistency in the tone that leaves the pilot in an odd place heading into the second episode.

And while it lacks the immediate and mesmerizing impact of other FX dramas like, say, The Americans or Justified, The Bridge is also a completely different animal that is clearly far more serialized in its storytelling. This means the narrative will likely be something of a slow burn, and it will be interesting to see how the creators manage the pacing of the murder mystery with everything else on the series’ plate. In that regard, the show feels a little like Sundance’s Top of the Lake (which also features Thomas M. Wright) with the overall crime elements balanced against a larger story of characters and their relationship to a sometimes complex and difficult environment.


The Bridge continues next Wednesday with ‘Calaca’ @10pm on FX.

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  1. Because she is an American. And in America she will always be more important. We have to solve our own problems first. My cousins were killed within 600 feet of the American border coming back from Juarez. What did we do? Apologize. This is liberal bullcrap. Secure our border, you can be damn sure if things were the other way around, Mexico would secure theirs.

    • Well said brother^^^

      • How about we talk about the show and leave our opinions about what we should do with our borders aside, shall we?

        • Why? The show is entirely about what Hollywood thinks we should do at the border. This show (as all good shows) is designed to make us have a conversation. I simply chose to have a different opinion. I do love Diane Kruger, which is why I watched the show to begin with.

          • But it’s based on a Scandinavian TV show that had the exact same plot, only set in Denmark I think.

            Us British get our own version – The Tunnel – soon with the English and French authorities arguing over whose case it is because the body is midway through the Channel Tunnel connecting the two countries.

            This isn’t a US thing at all. You’re making it into one thanks to a show that copied the idea from a European show.

    • Here here.

    • I would build a “Great Wall Of China” or “berlin Wall” across our entire southern border. No one gets in, except through the few proper registration gates. I would staff the wall with the US Army as well as Immigration (creates jobs and trains our troops for one of their main duties, guarding this country. I would patrol any waterways with a phlanax of coastguard guys or the navy, both airborne and sea-borne. This would solve many problems for victimized immigrants trying to get it, protect us from criminal dope-dealer agents and terrorists, and help our economy so we would not have the big drain of illegal immigrants on it. I did not forget lady Liberty. law-abiding immigrants of course would still be welcome. But it is like my house: guests are always welcome, but just come in the front door so I know who you are; don’t come sneaking in the window, clean out the fridge, the good silver, and pee on my coffee-table. darned reasonable, and effective. Incidently, the wall we have now is too low. last year someone tried to loft themselves over it on a ramp in a vehicle but got stuck. And earlier this year as Senator McCain (one of my favorite Senators who should have been President) was touring the wall, a lady trying to sneak in jumped right over it and tried to run away right in front of him! Border patrol guys caught her, tho. I could hop over that wall with minimal scaling eforts, and I am 55 years old with a somewhat bad back! That is not secure enough. Oh, well, you get my point. Now I just have to remember what we were supposed to be discussing here…!

      • Ahh, the minority of Americans that think their country is better than every other country because of their beginnings full of foreigners that eventually became the natural American citizens we see now and like to pretend to be welcoming to the world while also wanting to keep foreigners out.

        Reminds me of the minority of British who feel the same way. Sad really.

        If the US could help Mexico sort itself out and prosper without criminals and drug running then you wouldn’t have Mexicans trying to hop the border to have a better life in the States.

        Same with France allowing desperate people to crawl under huge trucks and risk burning to death trying to get into England where they can be free and safe away from their own country’s harsh regime yet doesn’t like it when we send them back to France because there’s no room or money to keep them here.

        If we’d all be a little more open and understanding towards fellow humans and helped those in need, we wouldn’t have blatant racists disguising themselves as “patriots” commenting on a TV show as if it’s a US government ploy to accept immigrants when actually, like with many things, the show didn’t actually start in the US. It’s a European crime thriller, reinvented for different audiences but using the same basic plot beats.

        • I dont think my country is better than other ones. I think its special though because a group of subjects decided to stake their lives on creating a free society where all faiths and ideas would be tolerated and no man would be put above another and thats what I appreciate because they wouldve all been executed if they failed. Cheers to the french for the hook up as well I feel like mexico should fix mexicos problems likewise with egypt and syria etc. Ironically you are imprisoned for illegally immigrating to mexico

        • You had me on your side until you threw out the racist card..now don’t get me wrong, I am an old school lefty, but just because someone doesn’t want illegal immigrants to have an easy way into our great country, doesn’t mean they’re a racist..that term gets used far too often..can’t we be reasonable people and have reasonable verbal exchanges without name calling???

      • what happens if Americans werent allowed to leave through your “registration gates” but yes I want the border secured asap. I really liked the show as well. Interested to see where it goes

      • “But it is like my house [...]”

        Your house must have a biiiiig concrete wall all around it!

        Seriously though. The show looks nice. I’ll check a couple of episodes.

      • Because John McCain showed tremendous forethought and intelligence..ya know, like asking Sarah Palin to be his VP??

      • I couldnt agree more with your post. My husband and I have been saying the same thing for years. Build a giant working wall with staffed with returning soldiers and veterans that need a job when they come home, put processing offices and medical facilities, etc at the wall and that would help a lot of the problem of illegal immigration. We have to do something now!

  2. Been anticipating this for weeks since the promos started. Generally I liked the two main characters. Strangely, the thought of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory kept popping up, especially during Cross’s interview with the dead judges husband. If sometime in the future she ever has to visit Ruiz’s house, I can just see: knock knock knock, “Ruiz”– knock knock knock, “Ruiz”–knock knock knock, “Ruiz.”

    I see an expanded role for Kitty (At the desk at CAP) in the future.

    This is weird, but I had trouble at times understanding what Cross was saying. Subtitles? Probably just me.

    With multiple plot arcs just barely getting off the launching pad here, It looks like a difficult journey for the impatient, but I think there’s a good chance it will be worth the wait.


  3. Just finished watching The Bridge and I thought it was great show…

  4. Kevin said Justified is mesmerizing- I’ve watched the first eight and don’t see anything special. Does it pick up and get better?

    • @ Jay
      Stay with it…
      Season 1 mostly plays out like a typical procedural but it gets so much better from season 2 on when it becomes more serialized.
      Be patient my friend, it’s worth it.

  5. Eh I dont think ill watch any more of this show I didnt think it was that great.

    • This show is GREAT at putting you to sleep, good thing it’s on late night. I think the majority of its views are from people who fell asleep with the TV on.

  6. The pilot was a little slow but solid. Whatever Kruger’s character mental state ultimately is I think she didn’t pull it off at all. It looks to forced unlike Jim Parsons in TBBT.

  7. At first I thought “here we go again” when we see Sonya is another protagonist with a “condition” but once things started moving along I was able to settle in and go with the flow.
    As always, it’s a pilot so I’ll give it a few more episodes before I give it a thumbs up or not but so far so good.

  8. the food in Juarez is awesome , especially the burritos mang

  9. Really enjoyed it (8.1/10). Beautifully written, touching on interesting controversial issues. I also enjoyed the acting, especially found Bichir’s performance brilliant as Kevin mentioned the good intended cop in a setting that is mostly corrupt. Trying to help as much as possible doing the right thing and balancing his family at the same time.

  10. Waiting on the second episode before deciding whether or not to invest my time in this series. I like Diane Kruger and I’ve been impressed by what little I’ve seen of Demián Bichir’s work. I felt they managed to be distinct in their own right but I can’t say which of the two really “owns” the series–which makes it a bit more interesting to watch for me. The supporting cast was good but it’ll be the leads that make or break it. The cinematography, music and ambiance did little to distinguish the series as a rarity, but pilots seldom do.

    • Good points, I do think the leads do have the potential to keep this good. They also have the writers to give them something good to work with.

  11. I hope this show works. I was stationed in El Paso and can’t say i really enjoyed it but we did recognize some of the big scenes that they managed to film there. Most of the show wasn’t filmed in Texas. El Paso is safer because the narco’s live on the American side and try to keep things on the mexican side. Things occasionally spill over and they closed the highway in front of FT Bliss that runs to the border because of things that happen. I’ll watch because I’m familure with the area, because FX has a great record of excellant shows and because there’s nothing else as good on right now. Its funny that they mentioned workers hanging on streets. Most of the bums and pandhandlers are white. The cops spend a majority of their time on mexican drivers with mexi plates. El Pso is like many border towns…except their cross border mate makes Kabul look safe. Good luck FX

  12. I liked the season premier of this show. I am liking Demian Belchir and Ted Levine very much. I have never seen Diana Kruger in anything before. She’s a pretty talented actress,but am I the only one getting sick of all these detectives/cops/fbi/investigators having some sort of autism on the shows now? What is this the new “in” thing to have? Most people that suffer from some sort of autism/asperger’s would not be in the Justicial field of work. Also, why doesn’t her character have a partner? All cops have partners. She lives at the police station? Kind of hard to believe. They send her to tell the husband of the Judge about her death and she has no empathy? I think not. They should have sent a partner with her or someone in her place knowing how she is. That was plain wrong. I would prefer a little more reality to the show, but otherwise I will keep on watching.

  13. The Bridge is interesting, and we might continue, but the Diana Kruger character is so cold and unlikable that we might not. We’re supposed to feel something for the MC, but she just leaves us, well, cold.

  14. That’s it. I’m done. The Bridge is not near compelling enough to carry main characters that are wretched and morally bankrupt. There are other shows to watch.

    • I completely agree with you! The Bridge BLOWS! I gave it 3 episodes! That’s it. It lost this viewer. DVR timer is already deleted.

  15. I am just watching the pilot of the first season….I don’t like how insensitive the blond chick was with telling the husband about his wife being dead….and why was it so easy for that guy to put the girl in his trunk but mostly the blond chick got under my skin..she was too insensitive..