First Impressions

The Bridge

Aired on: FX

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                A recent television promo caught my eye the other day, featuring what looked to be two cops from different locales and backgrounds hunting down a serial killer.  Now, I have been getting tired of this recent spurt of serial killer television series, but I couldn't help but notice that The Bridge seemed a tad bit different than most.  And the fact that the show was scheduled to air on the FX channel led me to believe it might be a tad bit grittier than others.  So, at 10pm EST on July 10, 2013, I found myself sitting in front of the television taking in the 90-minute premiere episode of The Bridge.

                Based on a Swedish television series of the same name, the opening scene of The Bridge takes place on the Bridge of the Americas.  After a brief and quite unexpected blackout, a body is found laying across the border between the United States and Mexico.  El Paso Police Detective Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) arrives on the scene at the same time as Chihauhua Homicide Detective Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir). 

                The murder victim is a local American judge, so Cross takes charge of the case, but things aren't exactly what they seem.  As the body is about to be removed, Cross discovers that there are two bodies here - the torso of the judge and the legs of a Mexican woman.  Bringing Ruiz back into the case, much to her chagrin, Cross learns that the lower half of the body belongs to a young woman from Juarez.  As things progress, Cross and Ruiz learn that a serial killer has been traveling between the border from Mexico to the United States and he/she has a message for local law enforcement - this is only just the beginning.

                Yes, this is another serial killer television series with a slight twist - it takes place on the Mexican-US border.  It was hard to get into this show.  For one thing, one of the main characters, Sonya Cross, is extremely eccentric and not all that likeable.  It's a good thing that Detective Ruiz's character is the polar opposite and quite charming.  We get the impression that there is more to each character than meets the eye, especially Sonya who seems to love autopsies, is not the least bit rattled by graphic crime scenes, exhibits no empathy for victim's families and is generally considered as warped by most of her co-workers.  I assume more will be revealed about this character and her past as the series moves forward.

                There is a side story featuring Annabeth Gish as Charlotte Millright, the widow of a wealthy rancher from El Paso.  Her former husband had suffered a heart attack in Mexico and was traveling over the Bridge of the Americas on the night the body was found laying across the border.  Just before surgery, Charlotte's husband tells her he wants a divorce, but the viewer gets the distinct impression that he is trying to protect her and atone for something he has done.  As the first episode winds down, Charlotte begins to look into her husband's dealings, discovering a locked room on the other side of the ranch

                What's inside that room?  Well, I think that the husband has been part of a group smuggling Juarez women across the border to become a part of the sex or drug trafficking trade, but I could be wrong.  And, of course, this will tie into whatever motives the serial killer has for his actions throughout the series.

                I did find the first episode a bit strange.  I had trouble getting into it at first, but it got more interesting as the show progressed.  That being said, I found myself less interested in the murders and the reasoning behind them than the main characters and their lives outside of the job.  A bit weird don'tcha think?  Well, one can only wonder what direction this show is going to take - I have my theories, but I will keep them to myself.  I just wonder how well The Bridge is going to stand up to other serial killer dramas out there.  Right now, more remains to be seen - I need to be impressed by the next episode before I make The Bridge a part of my list of must-watch TV.


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