Since the New Year I’ve been busy keeping my one and only resolution, which has been to write something creative every day. This wasn’t so much a resolution as a decision to make time to do what I really enjoy. I think life is much better if we find out what really works for us and do more of those things, rather than trying to spend too much time doing things we don’t really like.
Anyway, yesterday I had a morning off because someone was coming to fit my new oven. I am very pleased because this oven has amazing features no oven in this house has boasted for years. For example it:
- Has a fan
- Has temperature control
- Gets hot
So: Monday morning and unusually I have time to kill. I decided this is a good time to catch up with this series I have been reading about: The Bridge. I don’t know much about The Bridge, apart from the fact that it’s Danish/Swedish, is said to be good, and has that bleak, spare Scandi-drama look about it.
The Bridge is so called because it is based around crimes that take place either in the stretch of water between Sweden and Denmark, or on the bridge that joins them. There’s another thing I didn’t know – there’s a bridge that joins Sweden and Denmark! How crazy is that? (It’s called the Oresund Bridge and it boasts 4.5 stars on Tripadvisor.)
In this second series, an abandoned ship runs into one of the pillars of the bridge; in the hold are found five unconscious teenagers, three Swedes and two Danes. Detective Saga Noren, in charge of the Swedish side of the investigation drives over to Denmark to find her Danish colleague, Martin, with whom she ran an investigation in Series 1. Interestingly, Series 2 begins with a catch up summary of Series 1, and many of the plot strands regarding Martin’s character are based around the death of his son in Series 1 and the part Saga played in that story.
Because I don’t know anything about the characters in it either, I’m totally overwhelmed by how grumpy Detective Saga Noren is. She makes Inspector Morse look like a children’s entertainer. Even a fictional universe peopled as it is with troubled detectives, Saga is unusually harsh. She is the grumpiest detective in the world.
On number of occasions, she gets upset when people refer to the ship as a boat; apparently, a ship is defined as a vessel larger than a certain set of dimensions, and Saga can’t understand it when people don’t get this.
The criminal organisation taking responsibility for the shipping accident use the symbol of a golden frog. Saga points out that it is actually a toad, and frowns at the person who calls toads reptiles; they are amphibians.
When a hopeful underling says that he wants to come out on an assignment with her, “because he wants to get some fresh air,” she frowns and says, “Well, go for a walk then.”
Saga spends a lot of time frowning, looking puzzled at the world.
I decide to do a Google and it turns out that she has Asperger’s, or is an “Aspie”, which explains why, when Martin says “Say hello to Jakub for me”, she says, “But he doesn’t know who you are.”
The use of an Aspie character makes me think a lot about the Aspie friends I have here, and those who live with an Aspie. It makes me wonder how they would see this drama, and whether they would think it was exploitative, using the traits of the character as entertainment, or whether they would think it sensitively and realistically done.
For a start, I do think it can be harder than normal for people with Asperger’s to progress in their careers. People make fewer allowances than you would think for a disability that in many ways doesn’t hinder you from making a contribution to the working world in many other ways. I wonder in real life how tolerant bosses would have been of Saga’s quirks.
On the other hand, the very characteristics that make Aspies different from others can be a positive advantage: Saga pores obsessively over footage and finds crucial patterns, and can even spot lies where people’s patterns of behaviour are wrong, although she is unable to process unmappable behaviours in people.
It’s also interesting that Saga is living with Jakub, her boyfriend, and first proper relationship. I end up worrying for her! Will her partner understand her? Will their relationship survive Saga’s emotional unavailability, and her suggestion that Jakub could keep all his stuff in his boxes instead of unpacking when he moves in with her?
There’s plenty of plot, but also lots of truly interesting interior drama, where a satisfying proportion of the characters’ actions are based on realistic motivations and the subtleties of their inter-relations, all played out by superb actors. Martin in particular is full of turmoil and uncertainties, balancing Saga’s directness dramatically and also in trying sometimes in te gentlest of ways, and only where absolutely necessary, to explain the effects of some of her behaviour. And there’s a very sensitive sub-plot involving the young brother of one of the criminals (although I would say that the ability of a person to recover from petrol burns in the time suggested, with no trace of injury, is something of an over-statement regarding the claims of Scandinavian efficiency.)
Denmark, Sweden, the water, the bridge, all look beautiful in the TV shots: sophisticated, pale, with a sleet blue grey wash over it. Everything is very organised, clear and well thought out: the roads, the buildings.
There’s also the most amazing twist ever at the end of Episode 1. Wow. Didn’t see that coming.
Definitely worth a watch.