FX's U.S./Mexico border drama The Bridge has built a steady following thanks to its slow-burn style and extreme content. Like AMC's freshly-re-cancelled The Killing, The Bridge is based on a Scandinavian show - in this case, the Danish/Swedish series Bron (or Broen).
While both series begin with the same premise - a body is found on the bridge exactly mid-way between two countries - the American series developed by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid transplants the story into the middle of the ongoing, often incendiary tensions between United States and Mexico.
The Bridge has become FX's best-performing new show ever, jumping to 4.64 million viewers (taking the "live plus 3" measurements into account). So it's not really much of a surprise that, according to a Deadline report, the network has renewed the series for a second season, with 13 new episodes airing next summer. Eric Schrier, President of Original Programming for FX Networks and FX Productions, said in a statement:
“We’ve been blown away by the compelling performances of Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger and the writing of Meredith Stiehm, Elwood Reid and their team, and are thrilled to be able to continue this journey for another season.”
Kruger plays El Paso Sonya Cross, who is forced to team up with Juarez detective Marco Ruiz (Bichir) after it's discovered that the body is made up of halves of two women, one a Texas judge, the other a Juarez prostitute. While the next rash of killings appears to be motivated by a desire to wake up El Paso's population to the racial inequalities in the border city, there is also a very personal agenda, which somehow includes Ruiz - both of these elements echoing the original series.
While main protagonist Sonya Cross shares quite a few (maybe too many) characteristics with Homeland's bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), The Bridge has ultimately managed to distinguish itself among cable drama offerings with its focus on serialized storytelling and somewhat far-fetched (but effective) plot machinations.
While the show's creators appear to be sticking to their promise to resolve this season's central plot before the finale, this renewal news - again, while not a huge surprise - leads to some questions about how a second season will be approached. The killings have shifted into something far more personal as the show's initial runs nears its end, making the idea of continuing the show seem almost unnecessary.
Still, border politics and the tension between Juarez and El Paso - a microcosm of that between Mexico and the United States - is still a topic which both deserves and needs some deep exploration. There is no word on what next season's focus will be, but expect the finale's cliffhanger to provide some clues.
The Bridge airs Wednesdays @10pm on FX.