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July 20, 2010

The Bridge 1.1-1.2: "The Red Door; Paint It Black"

TV: The Bridge

Toronto cops are taking over TV! Or at least that's how it seems, between The Bridge and Rookie Blue. Of the two shows, The Bridge is definitely the one that caught my attention, so it's unfortunate that CBS seems to be burning it off on Saturday nights in the summer. Want to know why I liked it? (Including spoilers for the first two episodes, which I'm writing about it together because CBS aired them in a two-hour block.) After the jump!

First of all: Frank Leo. I could very well be forgetting someone, but I'm going to go ahead and say that he's the most interesting and complex cop* on TV right now. I always liked Aaron Douglas on Battlestar Galactica, and thought he was best in his turn as a labor organizer for a few episodes while they were on New Caprica. Here, as Frank Leo, he gets to play a version of that character all the time, and I love it. He's working on behalf of (what he sees as) the side of Good, but he's not particularly concerned about following the rules; if he were a D&D character, he'd be Chaotic Good, which was always my favorite alignment. I mean, blackmailing a priest because it gets you, eventually, to what you're convinced is The Right Thing To Do? Awesome. Leo's repeated insistence that he's "not political" is designed to make us - and his fellow cops - see him as a reluctant hero, but he was obvious born (and bred) for this role.

I loved the scenes with Frank's father, and was looking forward to seeing how that relationship played out as Frank became more involved with the union, so I'm sad that they killed the father off so quickly. The fact that his mentor and his father died in such quick succession should have an interesting effect on Frank, though. My favorite part of the remaining supporting cast was Frank's (now former?) partner Tommy, and not just because the actor looks rather like Paul Rudd. I hope he and Frank stay friends even if they stop being partners. Jury's still out on the lawyer, as far as I'm concerned. Sure, they have chemistry, and I liked how professional and competent she seemed at first, but she completely ruined that when she did every show's favorite "Give me a dollar so I'm officially your lawyer" routine and then immediately KISSED him. What?? You're on notice, Unprofessional Lawyer Whose Name I Forget.

The show as a whole was somewhat uneven. Some of the dialogue was extremely hamfisted, but still powerful. I was struck by the volume of casual religion - prayers, references to God, etc., all of which seemed mostly sincere. The house bugging scene leading into the funeral was done very well, and the show did a good job of making us actually care about the funeral of a character we barely knew. The storytelling was too obvious at times and impressively subtle at others: I missed the fact that the father had died the first time and had to rewind to figure out what had happened. And the closing scene with the cop who had accidentally killed his wife was disturbing and very, very powerful. It, more than anything, showed what the people around him saw in Frank Leo, and the understated cliffhanger guaranteed that I would be back for more.

* And I'm just counting cops, not FBI agents or U.S. Marshals or whatever else, because then we get into way too many characters for me to feel comfortable ranking them off the top of my head.

Posted by Kat at July 20, 2010 02:00 PM
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