Now The Bridge (BBC4) has finished there is a Swedish/Danish pastry-shaped hole in my life that can’t be filled by any number of other dark, stressful, shocking TV shows. Where else are the murders so complex and truly warped? Where else can you find a show with a plot that’s more wilfully and permanently tangled than a pair of earphones that have been in your pocket?
‘There’s tons of that kind of stuff around these days!’ you cry. Yeah, but does the heroine drive an olive-green Porsche and twitch like a startled goat? Are there very niche jokes about the differences between Denmark and Sweden that I don’t understand? Is there a bridge in it? (There has to be a bridge. And it has to be an unremittingly grim-looking bridge, so grim that it makes the Humber Bridge look like the Golden Gate during Pride.) Otherwise, I’m afraid your show will just not curl my rollmops.
Still, there are a few things I’m definitely not going to miss about it. The hideous shocks, the disgusting ways to die and the raised blood pressure caused by constantly trying to guess who did it, to name but a few. Who would have the time to carry out a series of elaborate murders involving drones, clown masks and fish poison? With 87,000 characters to choose from, figuring it out was a full-time job.
Also, this series was stranger than usual for more mundane reasons. Only eight episodes instead of 12, the plot rattled along like a rogue Ikea trolley and didn’t quite follow all the arrows on the floor, occasionally flying through the double doors and scattering storylines all over the children’s play area. And watching it in the summer months, during the World Cup, was almost as disconcerting as the grizzly murders themselves – it felt wilfully perverse, like putting ketchup on salad or wearing a jumper in a swimming pool.
As well as darkness and misery, Saga and Henrik also provided those untranslatable Scandinavian feelings of comfort
But the central characters will always stay in my (racing) heart. The best moments were when Saga was confused during a basic emotional interaction, or when Henrik made the dinner under his 1960s pendant lights. As well as darkness and misery, they also provided those untranslatable Scandinavian feelings of comfort. So how about a nice spin-off series to fill the gap? They could call it Lagom and Hygge. Saga, newly qualified as a part-time life coach, could get into scrapes as she fails to pick up subtle social signals from her clients, while Henrik juggles domestic responsibilities with solving crimes. Martin, Saga’s incarcerated ex-partner, could be released from prison and be their new comedy neighbour, always complaining about the recycling. What lols they’ll have. Forget Scandi Noir – Scandi Ha! is where it’s at. Well, until the next victim turns up decapitated in an abandoned cod-filleting factory, and things take a dark turn…
If you’re still getting withdrawal symptoms from The Bridge, then revisit our interview with Sofia Helin AKA Saga Noren here
Image: The Bridge