THE BRIDGE Series Premiere Review

The plot-loaded 90 minute pilot of THE BRIDGE was, for the most part, a plodding first episode lacking any character development save its protagonist Frank Leo (Aaron Douglas.) But this Canadian cop drama is good. Actually, it has the potential to be great but it suffers from writing that can best be diagnosed as bipolar and a sprawling mess of characters and plotlines. The latter two may be resolved by the next episode, since the characters have been introduced (and forgotten, but introduced all the same) and the primary storyline of rooting out every corrupt cop from the police chiefs to the rookies established.

Police officer Frank Leo is a man of integrity. He works in the Bridge Division of the Toronto police force, protecting the wealthy suburbs on one side of the bridge and the projects on the other. The son of a widowed cop, he has morals and loyalties. When an old lover, Rose, asks him to sleep with her, he refuses as she is married. When a fellow officer is kicked out of his house and found sleeping in his car, he gathers the other officers and they get the guy a hotel room. This is Frank Leo’s show and as a character he’s compelling enough to lead but there was a reason Aaron Douglas was a supporting character in Battlestar Galactica. He lacks the intensity and charm and charisma that make performances by Cranston, Baker and Hamm so memorable. It’s not that he’s bad. It’s just that I can think of a dozen other actors who could do just as good, if not better, a job than Douglas. Judging from the pilot he does not yet own the role, most evident in the poorly written, acted and frankly preposterous scene where his character tries to blackmail a priest. I’m not against blackmailing anyone, be they priests, rabbis, ministers or my fourth grade teacher. I’m just against scenes that suck.

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