As I’ve recently seen both of these series and they both more or less handle the same theme -police investigates murders with a woman being the one calling the shots- I couldn’t help but comparing them.
The Bridge is Danish/Swedish. It starts with a dead woman that’s found on Oresund Bridge. The one that devides Danmark from Sweden.
The body is found exactly in the middle.
Because of this, both a Danish policewoman (Saga Noren, played by Sofia Helin) and a Swedish policeman (Martin Rhode, played by Kim Bodnia) have to cooperate together to puzzle out who did this.
The Fall is made in the UK, but feels very USA. This is probably because everyone knows Gillian Anderson to be American. She does try to adapt a British accent at times, and by mentioning she’s supposedly from London, this should probably explain that, but….it doesn’t convince.
It’s set in Belfast, which makes the accents fly about. I must admit I do love that a lot.
The Bridge shows how Saga Noren, who runs her department (but isn’t the boss), has her own ways of dealing with things. Odd behaviour, one might say, such as changing her shirt when everybody is still there and simply telling someone to do something for her (‘go and ask Mr Blabla where he was in that night’) and no ‘please’, or ‘thank you’, follows. She will ask deeply unsensitive or slightly inappropriate questions without the blink of an eye, saying ‘I really have to know’. You see her thinking process. She is not a sexy woman, she is just someone doing her job. She’s good at it.
The Fall shows how Stella Gibson takes charge from the start. She is very, very careful with what she says (but maybe that’s because of the phoney accent) and she’s hot. Or supposed to be that. Stiletto heels, tight skirts, waving blouse, lipstick, etc. On her first night in Ireland, she asks to be introduced to another police officer she sees. She tells him in what hotel she stays, what room number.
That is the kind of woman who is in charge in The Fall.
When this police officer is shot the next day, his visit to her hotelroom becomes briefly of interest to the police, but only because he is a married man and she should not have done that. She is hated for it, even. Because it’s Ireland and he’s married. A woman doing things like that is ‘not done’.
The Bridge shows how a team works well together. They consult, get information through while Martin and Saga are on the road for all kinds of stuff related to the case. You get the feeling Saga and Martin have changed standard roles (Martin is quite sensitive, where Saga is not at all), which gives it an interesting spin. Martin is very feeling, wants to be everyone’s friend. Saga doesn’t have this. Just to solve the case. Her special behaviour is never named, but you get a Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) vibe anyway.
The Fall shows how a team doesn’t make progress. Maybe it’s just how it’s depicted, but I mostly became frustrating watching this series. Paul Spector is supposed to be a Grief Counselor and you see him at his job, doing basically nothing. You don’t get why people think he’s any good at it. It seems like the only place where he’s truly a Grief Counselor, is in the script.
It’s Stella Gibsons thoughts and the police wanting to handle things ‘neatly’, which means not solving anything, because it could be hurtful to someone in the team.
Also, Ms Gibson is leading the investigation, but obviously doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. She barely does anything herself.
In The Bridge nearly nothing happens without a reason.
In The Fall, there’s a lot of stuff that happens without it being cleared up why that was necessary to show in any way.
In The Bridge the suspects get away, hide, the normal game. It’s believeable.
In The Fall, when an arrest is made, no handcuffs are used, the suspect just comes along like a lamb to the slaughterhouse. It doesn’t make sense in any way.
Both series do have very skilled actors. Sofia Helin is not Sigourney Weaver in Snowcake, but she does give the performance a convincing shot and she is truly amazing doing that. Kim Bodia looks so much like a kicked puppy, you just wanna hold him into your arms half the time. That’s when you don’t wanna slap him because he likes women too much to be believeable as a married man. Dag Malmberg reminds slightly of Bill Nighy, but only in appearances. He is a kind and loving father figure, proper in leading his team.
Gillian Anderson is excellent, just not specifically in this part. I would have expected more depth in a part that she played, to be fair. But the same goes for Jamie Dornan, who has a lot going for him, but in the end, you still have no clue as to what goes on inside his head. You don’t see any real motive. There’s just the vague talk about it between him and Gibson and the nanny, but no real point.
It’s too bad Niamh McGrady didn’t get more spotlight. As an empathetic police woman, you clearly see her care for her job, the victims and so on. You like her instantly.