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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Danish/Swedish 'The Bridge' S3 DVD: The Saga Continues



[EDITOR'S NOTE: This awesome DVD set from Australia will not play in a standard U.S. player; you need a "must-own" international player to watch it.]

Each newly viewed season of a television program from the Madman Entertainment series "Nordic Noir" DVD releases enhances hope that Madman will obtain the rights to enough of these shows to keep the series going. Communication with Madman partner-in-Nordic Noir series DVDs Hi-Gloss Entertainment are cause for hope of an increased supply of these releases on which this site is high.

This current post on the third and final season of the original Danish/Swedish version of "The Bridge" follows a post on the third and final season of the "The Killing" that inspires both this genre overseas and the United States versions.

The numerous accolades for "Bridge" over its three-season run including several U.K. awards for best International TV Drama is not surprising. It is surprising that star Sofia Helin does not get nearly as much individual love for her portrayal of awesomely damaged and caustic Malmo, Sweden police detective Saga Noren. Once can imagine Saga reacting to such rejection with a twitch of her always sour face and an order for one of her highly competent team-members to mind their own business.

Though "Killing" and "Bridge" are tough acts to follow, Madman succeeds in doing so with the 2015 Norwegian series "Occupied" by Jo Nesbo of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" fame. This one has Russia conducting the titular governance of Norway for allegedly benevolent reasons. The Unreal TV review of the  recent Madman S1 DVD release of "Occupied"  is scheduled for late September 2016.

"Bridge" S3 returns to its S1 roots in very quickly opening with discovering a creepy tableau of a dead woman staged around a dinner table with equally grotesque mannequins of an adult man, a girl, and a boy. As in the other two seasons, brusque but highly competent Saga is called on the case.

The Danish connection that prompts teaming Saga up with one of Copenhagen's finest is that the victim Helle Anker is Danish; Saga ending the second season on bad terms with partner-in-crime solving Martin requires that she work with a new partner from the ranks of a force that dislikes her for the action behind that parting of the ways.

This initially leads to pairing Saga with Hanne, who is hilariously more abrasive and insensitive than Saga. This character having much too short a tenure is compensated for in the form of her successor Henrik Sabroe. This more subtlety sick puppy having ulterior motives for working with Saga creates good perverse fun.

The early  S3 episodes of "Bridge" also continue the tradition of the show of centering the season-long murder investigation around a societal issue. In this case, the killing of Helle seems linked to her being lesbian who is a vocal advocate for gender neutrality with a focus on freeing children from living according to traditional gender roles. A subsequent murder victim being a priest who openly and proudly performs same-sex wedding ceremonies is the first indication of a pattern.

The early prime suspect is wonderfully unbalanced upper-middle-class mother Lise Friis Andersen. This woman spends a great deal of her seemingly abundant free time recording video blogs (or vlogs as Saga correctly but abrasively notes) that harshly criticize non-traditional values. The very public harsh words of Lise regarding Helle and the priest not long before the demise of each is strong evidence that something is rotten in the state of Denmark regarding her.

Another early victim having a very personal connection with Saga amps up the drama and is a major factor in Saga approaching her cracking point. The mother of Saga returning to haunt her and to exact a very Shakespearean style revenge after a 20-year estrangement is the straw that really causes the back of our favorite spitting camel to buckle. The aforementioned brilliant job by Helin is what makes Saga sympathetic throughout this extended ordeal.

The "Bridge" writers skilfully tie in Lise with the business of her husband, which the writers just as ably connect up with another businessman who seems more integral to the case and has ties to intense drama regarding his former business partner. Other characters with integral roles to play include an attractive young gambling addict/dope, a baby mommy, a psychotic funeral director, etc.

Each of these individuals (included our unsung heroes) further illustrate how easily someone can get caught up in the system. "Bridge" makes its seem not entirely implausible that the death of your high-school bully 20 years after that intense torment or the co-worker with whom you have constant conflict being found dead under mysterious circumstances can prompt a real-life counterpart of Saga to pound on your door. For the record, your not-so-humble reviewer was home alone watching a DVD for this site that night.

S3 further does an even better job than the prior excellent seasons regarding maintaining a fast pace as the exceptionally prolific madman (no pun intended) with an evil mind behind the particularly psychotic killings is identified and actively pursued in the final episodes. The final confrontation further presents Saga with a very realistic dilemma that is a major part of her S3 journey.

This season also follows the pattern of good modern shows of ending on a note that serves as both a satisfying program finale and a starting point for an additional season. In this case, fans should rally around demands for "three seasons and a movie." (Yes, Sofia; I see your facial contortion and hear you say "It is a television series, not a film franchise.")

Anyone with even an iota of curiosity regarding "Bridge" is implored to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.