The latest series of The Bridge concluded on BBC 4 last, and i guess, like most viewers, as the credits rolled, I fell back in my chair utterly exhausted. I’m sure there can be few people who don’t know this Danish?Swedish TV series; it was first broadcast in 2011, series 2 in 2013, and series 3 this year, 2015. The very first episode opens with a body being found on the bridge between Sweden and Denmark, lying across the line separating the two countries… thus both police forces investigate and the lead officers from each team become the lead characters in the series. Series I was incredible, and left it very open for a second series to follow – without leaving any significant loose ends in the solving of the crimes, but series II had such a controversial final scene it just had to have further episodes to conclude some of the on-going story-lines concerning the characters rather than the crimes… which led to III which concluded last night…
Despite what on paper looks a ludicrous plot, with the sort of crimes which would in reality have had media interest from all across the world, the viewers are carried along by the acting, the filming, the intrigue, the writing… and it only on reflection that it seems more than a little far-fetched. Within its own world, the characters are totally believable, their bizarre motives seem understandable, the complicated twists and turns the liberally strewn red herrings lead us along at breakneck speed as the person who seemed the most obvious suspect turns out to be the next victim, or the person with the mysterious past and most to hide, becomes a sympathetic and understandable character.
I must confess, that sometimes the scenes were literally so dark, I actually didn’t know which characters were there until they spoke, but somehow that all added to the tension. Without revealing anything about the unexpected ending of series III, I will just mention that although it was totally unexpected (I had to hide my eyes, while shouting at the TV – not much use since the dialogue was in a language I couldn’t understand) it did make sense within the context of what had already happened, and in the clues and pointers which had been given to us. it was extremely shocking,, and quite anxiety inducing, but a perfect conclusion. it completed, and yet it left a certain opening to a future series… or is that just wishful thinking?
I’m not comparing myself to the writers of The Bridge (Bron, Broen) but in my novels I have to try and make the unbelievable believable within the context of the world I have created; I have to put in little red herrings, try to mislead the reader and take them down false paths without being annoying or too obvious, I have to give false pointers to the conclusion of the story-line, and also real and true clues to what will be revealed at the end. I hope with my endings, the reader will be satisfied, and even if they have guessed where it is going, there will be little pricks of surprise, and I hope, particularly in my Radwinter series, they will be intrigued and engaged enough with the characters and their situation to want more.
If you haven’t read Radwinter, here is a link: