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Review - The Bridge: A Murder Mystery Perfect for Summer Viewing

Review - The Bridge

Start with a gruesome murder, assign two detectives to the case, and set it in the borderlands between Mexico and Texas. What do you get? A show a lot like The Killing, minus all the rain.

The initial crime that sets up the series is, indeed, gruesome: A woman's body is found on a bridge that connects the US to Mexico, perfectly placed on the border between the two countries. In fact, her body has been cut in half--and that's just the beginning of the grisliness.

An American detective named Sonya Cross (played by Diane Kruger) is assigned to the case on the U.S. end, and is under the firm belief that the crime should be under U.S. jurisdiction. Mexican authorities feel differently, and assign their own man to the case, detective Marco Ruiz (played by Demian Bichir).

They butt heads immediately, which is something officer Cross is quite used to: she has Asperger's syndrome, and, in general, has a hard time partnering with anyone, or picking up on the usual emotional cues most people send.

Which actually makes her pairing with Ruiz quite smart, since from the beginning of the case, he is able to demonstrate some of the empathy detective Cross can not.

One they get past the initial wariness, they begin to work well together on the case, and discover this murder has ties to a series of killings in Mexico, and the killer has some political motivations. These motivations lead to the involvement of a local newspaper reporter, played by Mathew Lillard, and the widow (Annabeth Gish) of a rich rancher who was smuggling illegal immigrants over the border.

If all this sounds like a lot of plot, it is. And there are a lot of characters to keep track of, with no real crystal clear connection between them — at least for now. But the first few episodes do a nice job of stringing the viewer along, so that you can't wait to see how the next episode will resolve itself.

As mentioned at the beginning, there are some similarities to The Killing. And, indeed, they are both based on shows that originally aired in Denmark. Apparently, the Danes prefer their crime shows play out slowly, which is much different from the usual one-case-per-episode seen on most American criminal procedural dramas. With a summer awash with re-runs and uninspired reality shows, The Bridge is a welcome alternative.

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