I first saw the commercials for The Bridge while watching the fourth season of Justified and the first season of the Americans. They’re minimalist, creepy, and give you very little idea of what it’s about.
I thought this would be some type of horror thing ala American Horror Story (which I haven’t seen but also haven’t heard much good about) so I was a bit disappointed when I saw the first real trailer and discovered it was a crime show about the American-Mexican border. I like monsters and magic in my stuff. It’s not required, but once I had the impression of it, it was hard to let go. Maybe that’s where this review is going to come from, I don’t know.
What I do know, is that this show was painfully, awkwardly boring. The only thing of interest, at all, was the Mexican police officer in Juarez, Marco Ruiz. He has this nice, don’t give a shit, attitude coupled with being the only competent human being I saw the whole time. Though, in his defense, I only saw like three or four people. Even with him, they do some odd things. I don’t really know where the vasectomy came from, is this a ball joke or does this play more into his character later?
Diane Kruger, who is wonderful in pretty much anything ever, is not working for me in this. It’s not her fault, I get that her character is supposed to be a basket case of neurosis, and she plays that really, really well, but I am more annoyed by this character than sympathetic. They want to play up the mystery of whatever the hell happened to her sister, but until I know that, I just have this annoying, kinda whiny, awkward cop who doesn’t apparently understand the situation in Mexico even though she works, literally, right next to the border. Yeah, a cop probably wouldn’t and shouldn’t like another cop who doesn’t investigate a murder because it’s easier, except that everyone else seemed to understand that Juarez is ruled by the cartels and well, Mr. Ruiz is just trying to keep himself and his family attacked to their heads. Instead, she just comes off as someone who is completely out of touch with human emotion, something I don’t but that well in a homicide detective. It works for character like Sherlock and Monk because there is some type of charm, something to draw you in to their shenanigans, not to mention an almost psychic level of clue gathering, but here the most interesting thing she did was run a stop sign.
Even though I fell Homeland derailed in the second season, I loved the character of Carrie Mathison. She was crazy, she was batshit crazy! Wide-eyed, gonna stalk a war hero, hire quasi-legal contractors on the side to spy on people, not gonna take my pills, kind of crazy. She was weak in a lot of ways, but strong in others.
I get that they wanted to make a show about the chaos that Mexico has steadily been falling into. That is wonderful and I applaud it. For anyone who doesn’t know, Mexico has been in a quasi civil war between the drug traffickers and the government, with the ordinary citizens caught in the middle. The number of people who’ve died in the past six or seven years makes the war in Iraq look like a stroll through the beach. Actually, we haven’t lost that many people to a war since Vietnam. There should be attention brought to this, what is happening here is tragic, and honestly, tragedy makes good fiction. But if you are going to use fiction to communicate your message, you cannot rest on the importance of that message. If I wanted to learn more about Mexico and the cartels, I’d watch Dateline, I’d read on the internet, I would learn in a lot easier and more interesting ways than a boring TV show. Bad fiction only serves to dilute that message.
This is still on the DVR, but based on the first episode, I’m only giving it a couple more chances. I really hope it’s uphill from here.
I don’t see much alternative.