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Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Bridge Opens Brooding and Valent

A good opening of The Bridge on FX tonight, with its story of a body stretched out dead across the Juarez - El Paso border on the bridge between Mexico and the US, making it a case in the jurisdiction of both countries and their police, except it turns out to be two bodies - the upper torso of one woman and the lower torso of another - which makes the murder case even more interesting.

Demian Bichir - of Esteban fame on Weeds - plays the Mexican detective Marco Ruiz, and he does it with customary style.  When an El Paso detective wishes him "buenos dias," he responds with "howdy partner" in a perfect Texan accent.   He has hands full not only with his lethargic boss in Juarez but his Amercian counterpart Sonya North, played by Diane Kruger.

Sonya's a strange piece of work for a detective - by the book, wound tight, but with the same kind of irrepressible energy as Barbara Havers on the British Inspector Linley Mysteries (how's that for a stretch).   I'm not sure if I like her, but based on the first episode she may be the most memorably peculiar female detective to come along on television since Sarah Linden in The Killing.

Speaking of which, The Bridge feels to some extent like a southern version of The Killing, which takes place in Seattle.   But what The Bridge also has going for it is its Mexican component, and the obvious relevance of this series to the immigration issues that currently beset our country (because of Republican intransigence, but I'll try to keep politics out of this).

Ted Levine of the late great Monk is back as police lieutenant (ok, he was a captain on Monk), and Annabeth Gish from Brotherhood lends her appeal and intensity as someone whose husband drops dead after he tells her he wants out of their marriage and who must have something to do with the murders.

Brooding, smoky, philosophic, politically valent - The Bridge may be just the thing for a hot summer's evening.


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