The Bridge (FX)
Developed by: Meredith Stiehm (NYPD Blue, Cold Case), Elwood Reid (Novelist)
Starring: Diane Kruger, Demian Bichir, Ted Levine, and Annabeth Gish
Summer is filled with three kinds of series, network burn offs like Camp, the crappy ABC cop dramas, even more reality television, and the third and best kind a launch pad for cable/pay cable series like The Bridge. Many popular cable series got their start during this time period, like True Blood, and Game of Thrones. Summer has always been seen as a time for mindless television, but cable/pay cable networks have capitalized on this dry spell, pushing quality programming, for those who want to escape the mindless.
The Bridge, which is based on a Danish/Swedish television of the same name focuses on two police detectives, one from Mexico the other from the United States. On a rainy night at the Bridge of the Americas (the bridge connect El Paso, Texas and Juarez Chihuahua Mexico) Detective Sonya Cross (Kruger) and Detective Marco Ruiz (Bichir) cross paths. The two meet at the site of a gruesome murder scene, in which a body is cut in half, spanning both the United States and Mexico border.
Unlike the other new show Camp, which I watched on NBC, there is a lot to say about the direction of the plot, and the way the show is framed. People are going to say, or even ask "isn't this a formula for the new procedural?" The answer is yes and no. Yes in that this pairs the two opposites (I will get to that later on), one male, one female, much like The Killing who are investigating crime(s) which will span an entire season. What is going to to separate this show from others is the interesting political statement the show appears to be going to make. One of the rich subtext within the plot in the first episode is the corruption which exists in Mexico with regard to drug trafficking, and the police being forced the "take the silver or the lead." The Bridge, border, differentiation between these two culture will make for an interesting dynamic to this story. One of the other strengths of this series is going to be the characters, and their unique representation.
Kruger was fantastic in the series premier, and although she proved herself worthy in Inglorious Basterds, this series is going to show her dexterity within the craft of acting. Detective Cross has some form of Aspergers; she is literal in her actions, when she approaches the spouse of the victim in the beginning she attempts to be comforting by constantly offering water, but also gets to heart of the way this disorder affects socialization. This obviously complicates her job as a police officer, forcing her to live almost too much by the book.
Cross is forced to work with Ruiz because of the politics associated with the crime, and this relationship is going to help her work toward developing an understanding of the role empathy plays within the job, to some extent. Bichir has a quiet brilliance to his acting; he is an Oscar nominated actor, who knows how to channel his facial expressions into making his characters more than what is on the paper. Bichir at the moment is the quiet one of the two, but he also represents the different breed of cop within the Mexican world. Bichir is the by the book cop who while his chief is playing poker with what looks like drug lords at a James Bond villains zoo, Ruiz is asking for permission to take on the case.
The Bridge has formulaic, and cliche moments, the writing has a few hiccups, but the direction was solid. The show has set forth an interesting story to tell, I am hooked, this is great drama, but time will tell as to whether this is going to succeed or fall to the curse The Killing did with slow meandering plot lines, which infuriate fans. I have faith.
Tune In! This is drama at its best