Pilot Perception: The Bridge

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: The Bridge, FX and FX Canada, Wednesdays at 10/9c

The Pedigree: The Bridge is based on the Danish/Swedish show Bron/Broen. This version was created, written, and produced by Meredith Stiehm (Homeland, Cold Case) and Elwood Reid (Hawaii Five-0, Cold Case). The pilot was directed by Gerardo Naranjo, who hasn’t done much English-language work before.

The Cast & How You Know Them: The show stars Diane Kruger (The Host), Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Ted Levine (Monk), Annabeth Gish (Pretty Little Liars), and Thomas M. Wright (Top of the Lake).

The Premise: When a body is found on a bridge connecting the United States and Mexico, police detectives from both sides of the border have to start working together to solve murders while dealing with issues of immigration, corruption, drug trafficking, and more.

A Taste:

What Works: Honestly, pretty much everything about this worked for me. I tend to like Nordic mysteries and their adaptations, and I’m fascinated by the way they’ve transferred the original Swedish/Danish border setting to another border. The case was compelling and complicated without being overly confusing. Both leads are very good, but Diane Kruger is particularly mesmerizing as a young detective with Asperger syndrome. The pilot was visually striking, and the musical choices, including some Ryan Bingham (Crazy Heart), were interesting and appealing. I can’t wait to see more.

What Doesn’t: As I said, the pilot was very strong, but depending on how long this first case takes (and whether the show is renewed), the show will have to be careful to have cases that keep bringing the American and Mexican detectives together without it seeming contrived. (I don’t doubt that there are many connections, but if they’re suddenly having to work together all the time now when they never did before, that could be problematic.) And they’ll have to be careful to avoid stereotypes, both in the portrayal of Asperger syndrome and in the Mexican/American cultural relations.

Our Favorite Line: “I’m sorry if I didn’t exercise empathy.”

You Might Like This if you like complex crime dramas in general or Nordic ones in particular, especially those with unconventional female leads like The Killing and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The tone and the way the show dealt with the interplay between poverty, corruption, and law enforcement also reminded me of fellow FX show Justified.

If You’re Interested: FX is replaying the pilot several times this week, so check your local listings. You can also catch it on the FX site or Hulu. Then set your DVR for Wednesday at 10!

(Photo courtesy of FX.)

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