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FX (ended 2014)

The Bridge S01E01: "Pilot"

Regardless of what side of the Rio Grande you live on, we can all agree that murdering people is bad. But how we deal with dead bodies differs. So when a corpse showed up on the U.S.-Mexico border in the opening minutes of FX's new drama The Bridge, two detectives, one American and one Mexican, each set to work in their own way. "We have lots of bodies," the Mexican cop shrugged, assessing the murder scene like a McDonald's cashier taking an order. Meanwhile, the American cop approached the situation with all the intensity of a three-star Michelin chef. Same case, different worlds. That's the simple premise of the surprisingly complex new summer series The Bridge, the latest in a long line of quality dramas fresh from the factory at FX. 

The Bridge's debut highlighted the deluge of differences between its two countries, lead characters, police departments, and so on. Wound-up American blondie Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) and easy-going Mexican beefcake Marco Ruiz (Demián Bichir) are chasing the same killer with different styles. Their corresponding police presences, the protecting-and-serving El Paso Police Department and the corrupt Chihuahua State Police, are working the same case with different rules. The two countries, the orgy of wealth that is America and broke-ass Mexico, are lifelong neighbors but may as well be light years away from each other. 

Yet here are Sonya and Marco, the EPPD and CSP, USA!USA!USA! and Meh-hee-co smashed together out of necessity because some lunatic arranged two halves of two women right on that painted line that demarcates freedom* and Cool Ranch Dorito Locos Tacos from corruption and roadside taco stands. Conflict is the key to good drama, and it's all over the place here.

Well, let's just call it "freedom," with quotes, for the time being, until I feel comfortable using email again.

But these differences aren't highlighted simply to create drama, which would be standard procedure for most series. There's a sinking—yet honest—"that's just how it is" feeling with just about everything. The Mexican police chief plays cards with cartel members. That's just how it is! American law dictates that every crime scene needs to be kept extra sanitary. That's just how it is! It's this approach that will give viewers a lesson in current events whether they like it or not, because The Bridge isn't just about detectives chasing a dude who cuts ladies in half, it's about the immigration debate, it's about the out-of-control drug cartels in Mexico, it's about American interference. And instead of hitting us over the head with these ideas, it drops us right in the middle of them, because that's just how it is. (Hopefully, The Bridge remains apolitical in subsequent episodes while still exploring the issues.)

Marco and Sonya's individual struggles to work within the boundaries of what's culturally permitted and what's foreign nonsense will make The Bridge's police work rise above that of your typical detective show. But as they slowly chisel away at their misconceptions about each other, The Bridge will maintain its buddy-cop formula. In one of the best scenes in the pilot, Sonya and Marco drove to the severed legs of Judge Gates and Sonya mentioned something about Mexican cops all being corrupt. "Not all of us," Marco said. And he's right. Marco is one of the few good guys working south of the border, and Sonya slowly learning that will cement their bond. Conversely, Marco expected tidy Americana Sonya to make some sort of sense as a detective and human being, but nope. When he saw a horse charm hanging from her rearview mirror, he asked her if she liked horses. "No," she said, and a few seconds later she was exiting the car in her denim jacket with a GIANT HORSE printed on it. An enigma, this loony lady is!

And that's why, for as great and comforting as Marco is, it's Sonya we need to talk about. She made one hell of a first impression. Her questioning of Judge Gates' husband was a disaster (her use of eye contact on the recommendation of her boss Hank was awesome). Her handling of the heart-attack victim at the border was robotic. She comforted reporter Daniel Frye, who was about to be blown to bits by a car bomb, by telling him, "The body will feel no pain," in order to get him back on track answering her questions so she could keep working the case. Even her coworker Tim Cooper (an early favorite character) has no qualms about labeling her a "total wackjob." You weren't the only one asking yourself WTF was up with her.

There was an interesting creative choice made by show creator Meredith Steihm (Homeland) to not reveal in the pilot exactly why Sonya behaved the way she did, and I'm going to respect that by not mentioning it here (but if you must know, you can click here, but don't worry, it's not really a spoiler and it's already all over the internet). In fact, the only way I found out was by looking through the press kit for the show, where it's mentioned fairly upfront in her character description. I've read several other critics puzzling over Steihm not being direct about Sonya's condition, but I think it works here. Marco isn't the only one getting to know her; we are, too. We should experience the same type of confusion and understanding that Marco does because it's the same kind of wonderment that anyone who meets Sonya goes through, and the experience is equally important in shaping our knowledge of her. Withholding what made Sonya act the way she did is actually the ultimate compliment to her character, if you ask me. Rather than say "This character is this, this, and this," we're left to organically discover it for ourselves. Some viewers will no doubt feel cheated, and those who want to know can find out easily enough, but I'm interested in seeing whether holding out on this major part of her character works or not. And really, will it be all that surprising in the end? Aren't all the signs there? Can't we all figure out what her deal is without it being explained? Because it's fairly obvious.

What's more puzzling to me is how Sonya, a woman so socially inept and void of empathy, can end up as a detective—considering all the teamwork and social interaction that comes with such a job—in the first place. (It seems Hank is a champion of hers, but we don't know why.) On Homeland, the writers took measures to show the audience that Carrie Matheson's manic behavior (she's bipolar) was "tolerated" by the FBI because she's an incredibly talented agent who can look at situations from a unique point of view. She had a track record. The Bridge did little to make the same exceptions for Sonya, whose difficult behavior was even more on the surface than Carrie's. In this sense, Sonya's character quirk feels more like a label, something to distinguish her from a normal cop. A trend that's becoming all too common and accepted in television is to plaster characters with some sort of "condition." It appears that by not outright telling us why Sonya is the way she is, Steihm is trying to avoid the idea of a label, which makes sense from the standpoint of trying to bring a new approach to a trope that USA Network has a made a living from. It's an approach that will probably appeal to a smaller set of patient viewers but leave others scratching their heads. I'm just rambling out loud here, apologies. But I find Sonya's character and Steihm's handling of her particularly intriguing. Hopefully, what makes Sonya tick becomes an integral part of the story and not just part of some sideshow.

It's a good sign for a show that what I've babbled about in most of the review has been about the fascinating background noise and use of character, but let's not forget there's a murder mystery at the center of The Bridge. However, the slow-burn approach to the case has left us with little to talk about but much to gawk at. Are we supposed to believe that old Mutton Chops is the murderer? Did we see him do anything more criminal than human trafficking? Yes he nicked that lady's ID, but did we ever see him kill someone? I'm weary of shows that jump through hoops with implications yet never outright point fingers at a killer. And how will Mr. Heart Attack, his Trophy Wife, and the mystery of the ranch house basement tie into all of this? (Seriously, what WAS in that basement?)

Still, I'm not entirely and immediately sold on The Bridge as a series the same way I was with The Americans. Yeah, The Americans is a very different show, but it jumped off the screen during the pilot and clearly laid out the framework for a stellar series. There's a lot that The Bridge did right in its first episode. The show's setting is outstanding, its underlying themes and their relevance to real life are fascinating, and its characters are intriguing. The Bridge is definitely good, but I think it's too early to call it great.



NOTES

– I'm not ready to make a call on Kruger's performance as Sonya, because that character is so layered and her quirks dominated the pilot, leaving us with a lot to learn. But has anyone entered your TV world so easily and confidently as Bichir as Marco? His affect on people is fun to watch; El Paso PD receptionist Kitty Conchas was immediately smitten.

– Would you rather be stuck on a road trip listening to Sonya's thrash-funk or Carrie Matheson's jazz be-bop?

– SERIOUSLY WHAT IS IN THAT BASEMENT? 

– Marco's exaggerated "How-dee pard-nurrr" was fantastic.

– I had no idea Matthew Lillard could play an adult. (No, I didn't see The Descendants.)

– Somehow the pilot was very satisfying in spite of its unusual structure. There wasn't much self-contained resolution, storylines were introduced with little hint of how they relate to one another, and there was a cliffhanger (THE BASEMENT!) with about 10 minutes left in the episode.


What'd you think of the series premiere? 

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Why does every other character on tv nowadays need to have some super-seldom "condition" to be "interesting"? I really hate that tv trope.
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It's interesting.
I'm curious to see how this Sonya character plays out and where The Bridge goes .
She kind of reminds me of Bones/Dr. Brennan.

Am I missing something, who is this Charlotte character?
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I finally figured out what bugged me about the pilot. Every scene with Annabeth Gish after she was waved through felt really forced and completely broke the pacing of the episode. It was just really jarring. Sure I want to know what's going on, but having that story line in the pilot felt awkward and caused me not to be drawn in. Defiance suffered from the same problem. They wanted to introduce all these ideas they had but because of it they could not flesh out anything enough for me to really care. Im sure it will all tie together in the end, but I think the pilot would have been much better if they did not try to introduce all these story lines so soon.
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It was good, but I think I'll wait until one or two more episodes to have an opinion.
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I thought it was mostly satisfying. Still, I just don't know if I can stand another "brilliant killer" story. I liked the bodies thing, but the fake bomb in the car turned me off a bit. These psychos with elaborate plans...I think I've had enough. It would have pleased me better if it were simpler, I guess, focusing on the immigration aspect and how the authorities deal with the missing girls. I thought the mystery about the basement great, though! I almost shouted at the TV "What the hell is that?? Show us already!"
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On the fence with this one. Hahaha. Did a lot right, has a lot of promise but I don't know how much I can take of Ice Queen Det. Cross. Over the top with her lack of social skills. We'll see though, I predict it'll fall between the Americans and a crap show like the Following. Hopefully it's closer to the Americans in quality...
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I'm sorry to sound like a wet blanket, but this is just not for me. The Sonya character annoyed this living bejesus out of me, and not knowing what is wrong with her just made her even more annoying. The Mexican cop I guess was ok, but if I had to sit through weeks of learning how crappy the justice system is in Mexico, I might lose my mind. Also, I was totally lost as to why this woman and her husband was important. Are they relevant? I get that it's only the first episode, but maybe if they tied things together more I would have gotten into it more. And then you have this creepy guy out in the desert with a girl we're all assuming is going to be turned into a human lampshade at some point. Nah. Doesn't work for me. I'll give this one a skip.
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And Marco's my favorite already. ;)
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Agree with everything, Tim, except that the most puzzling thing about Sonya being a detective is not really the problem of her interacting with collegues and doing some teamwork, but more of how an autistic person can do a job that relies so much on knowing people psychologies, behaviors and telling signs when she has a hard time displaying if not acknowledging them on a regular basis!!!
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The show was alright... I think there's a lot of potential, but the character of Sonya seemed too much like someone thought "Hey, what if Temperance Brennan had gone into law enforcement instead of anthropology?" Hopefully, her character will be a bit more consistent than Dr. Brennan's.
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Enjoyed the pilot. I'm on board for the 4 episode test, after that I'll re-eval.
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I liked the pilot, really really liked Diane Kruger as Sonia. Her social awkwardnes was everything. Just trying to figure out what her deal was & why she was so cray cray the entire episode kept me watching.
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Poor Leland Stottlemeyer, first Monk now Sonya ... from one whack-job to the next! That's some Karma!
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I'll give it four episodes, and the previews for the coming episodes look pretty good, but Sonja's annoying. It doesn't bother me that they didn't want actually say what her condition was out loud (since it was obvious), but it's not realistic that no one in the show mentioned it, especially the wife of the heart attack guy. Sonja's cold-bloodedness to her really prompted a 'WTH is wrong with you?! Do you have a mental condition?! My husband is going to die!' rant, or something. It's been said pretty much (I read down a little), but she's a cross between Sheldon from TBBT and Bones...but I like Sheldon and Bones. (There's a bit of The Killing thrown in, but I don't like The Killing.)

I can sympathize with Sonja, but I don't like her, and so far, she shouldn't be working with people without a buffer. I guess Marco's going to fill that role, but as she's the star, it's mostly going to be she who's interacting with everyone first, and it's annoying. It's not a dealbreaker for me that *I* don't like her, but I don't see how this show can work for the main audience without her becoming more likeable.

Marco's great for Sonja. He's calm, mellow, patient, comparatively uncorrupted in Juarez. He's a good Watson to Sonja's Sherlock, but unlike Sherlock, Sonja's not awesome yet, and to me, that's another problem that needs to be fixed soon. Other procedurals with an astringent lead character show us why we're supposed to like them: they're brilliant at what they do (Sherlock, House, Lie to Me, House of Lies, Rubicon, etc.). So far, Sonja's just another cop who perhaps wants to break out on her own and do her job like anyone else, but again, that only rings the sympathy bell; there's nothing impressive about her aside from her working to overcome her affliction.

Matthew Lillard was pretty good here. I try not to look at the credits for exactly the reason of not expecting to him, but I got distracted, looked up, and saw his name. Oh well. Anyway, I don't know how long he's going to be around, but I think the show could use him.

I don't expect the show to last past the first season, but I at least want to see where they're going with Sonja. Unless the killer is some kind of cartel prince, I don't think the ending to that going to do much for me.
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I don't think Bridge is traditional procedural show. It's cable serial killer drama. And Sonja's condition isn't main interest of the show if this version follows original gem. And in original show her condition doesn't make her genius (some sort of Sherlock or Bones). She's doing her job, sometimes she sees something others don't but she's not Bones or Monk or House. Her condition is just there, to show how such person navigates through life, it's just other side of life. In original show it is more realistic. And procedurals like Monk and Bones rely on their characters' brilliance in each episode. Structure based solely on their skills. In this one there is no need. I don't get that some people demand likability from characters that fit their TV experience and expectations. Autistic people are not that likable people. And may be Sonja'll show some new angles of herself down the road. It was just one episode.
And why someone should say out loud - Sonja is autistic? I didn't see any opportunity for it. And why on earth woman with dying hubby should have mentioned Sonja condition? She didn't know it. And nobody knows it except her boss.
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It doesn't have to be the main interest of the show, but the problem is that it's way too relevant here. She's annoying. She annoys pretty much everyone she talk to, and she needs to talk to them to get information. She's bad at this, and it's a huge glaring reason why, whether they talk about it or not.

Personally, it doesn't bother me that I don't like her, but yeah, I need to like someone in a show I'm watching. Marco has that covered for me (for this one episode so far), but he's not gonna do it for everyone. Also, it's fine that she's not especially good at her job, but there's always the problem of "why do we care about these heroes/heroines?" There really needs to be a reason why we're watching a story through a person's eyes, or it could be anybody working this case. The case is big and looks to be interesting, but it shouldn't completely eclipse the main characters, nor should it completely make up for them.

It's not that the wife knew that Sonja was autistic, it was that she knew something was very wrong with Sonja, and it is: she has no empathy. Same with the husband of the judge. It doesn't necessarily need the exact title--as that wouldn't have made either of them feel better about was Sonja was doing, but it was so unnaturally callous, yes, these two incidences warranted an explanation.
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I need to like someone in a show I'm watching. Marco has that covered for me (for this one episode so far), but he's not gonna do it for everyone". That's what you've said. Someone can assume that you like only one Marco so far. How is that an exaggeration? And if you're so sensitive don't reply at all then. Ive watched all episodes of Donovan that are there for now. Still show is ridiculous and stereotypical. it doesn't matter what they do if there are no life in these characters. And premise is implausible.
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There's a difference between only liking one person in the show so far, and disliking everyone else, especially after one episode. Huge range of ambivalence in between. Most of the other characters haven't done anything. I'm rarely accused of being sensitive; I think it's more about you reading and either taking away something that makes sense, or an exaggeration that doesn't make sense. Heh, the secretary who accepted the donuts from Marco hasn't pissed me off, but I'll be watching her. If I disliked everyone in the show, why would I go out of the way to repeatedly say I disliked Sonja and just say...I disliked everyone but Marco?

So, to hopefully clear this up: out of the two main characters, I like one of the them (so far), I don't like the other, and as for the rest of them...we'll see.

But back to Ray Donovan, his family bugs, but what's so implausible about the show? He gets paid to help rich people who suck. He's a fixer, a fairly common job. It's way more plausible than Scandal, at least.
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You are dismissing her already judging on one episode. Isn't it too quick? How do you know she lacks empathy? Autistic people are different in their conditions. I was laughing in all awkward moments when Sonja interacted with others (not in victim's hubby moment of course). May be your "not liking" lies in deeper reasons. And I don't understand why torture yourself if you like one character only in a show you are trying to watch? I don't care about all characters but one in Ray Donovan and I dismissed this show completely. Why I need to watch this show if fictitious people that live in it are not likable at all? To enjoy interior designs and sea sights?
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It's not set in stone that I'll never like her, it's just that I don't like her right now. If she somehow rewires her core personality, then sure, I'll reassess if I'm still watching by then.

I know she lacks empathy because she had to come back and recite an apology for not showing empathy. This is because she was told to say it...because she lacks empathy. Leaving a man to die in an ambulance because of a bendable rule is what's done by people with no empathy. This is why Marco let the ambulance go, and why Sonja's boss would've done the same thing.

I never said I didn't like anyone but Marco; I only said I didn't like Sonja. I don't have a problem with anyone else in the show aside from the gossipy cop, but he hasn't really done enough yet. None of them have done enough yet, so I don't dislike them, I just don't know any of them enough yet. The real question is: Why do you not carefully read what someone actually says instead of relying on exaggerations to argue exaggerated points?

I'll admit that most characters in Ray Donovan suck, but I like him and his team. The whole premise of his job is to solve the problems of people who can't take care of themselves. It makes sense that most of his family have those same failings. But to the point, how many episodes did you watch of Ray Donovan before 'dismissing this show completely?' How quick is 'too quick' when you do it?
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American "Bridge" should eliminate conversations between mexicans in english completely (like mexican cop talks to his son in english, right?). FX should avoid this disgusting lazy practice if it wants people to perceive it as serious cable channel (dark, manly et cet). They doing it in implausible and ridiculous "Americans" where soviet people talk to each other in bad fake english. I got decision for ya, FX - if you don't have russian american actors who don't speak decent russian then DON'T DO IT AT ALL! That's one thing has ruined "Americans" for me, I can't watch it without ironic grimace. It's a candy not a serious drama show, FX.
So I was suprised in a good way that mexicans talk to each other in spanish (producers get some balls to put subtitles for lazy TV viewers and not afraid to lose some ratings). That is great deal for realism in a show about mexican-american border.
Of course they oversimplify things a bit when portraying differences between mexican and american cops - one is corrupt, another is not? (really, America? we all watch news). But I hope they gonna complicate things down the road and we'll see that things in American kingdom are not so sunny too.
I think leads are perfect. I've read few articles where people noted that Kruger's performance is pretty accurate depiction of aspergers person. I agree with that. If someone finds her irritating not knowing (or knowing) her character's condition then that someone I think just finds aspergers person irritating and not likable. She had one or two redundant lines that I think she should not have (like in conversation with victim's hubby). They were too obvious to say (if you don't want to reveal her condition for viewers so early on). I don't care for that that much. I just laughed at all awkward moments that Sonja had with others. or others had with her. That was hillarious. Diane Kruger may be not great actress and at times not that good but her portrayal of Sonja is pretty convincing. And their (her and Bichir's) partnership is looking great. And also I'm happy for Annabeth Gish whose greatness I witnessed in Brotherhood. Her character looks intriguing. Wonder what part she's gonna play in all of this.
In general may be American Bridge gonna find itself down the season's road. For now it is still weird mix of almost equally remade scenes from original gem and new ones that can only happen in mexican-american setting.
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You could not be so wrong with the way Mexicans speak. Mexicans who live in border towns speak in English, Spanish or a combination of both: Spanglish. They switch back and forth indiscriminately. So it's perfectly reasonable for Mexicans in the border to speak in English then Spanglish then Spanish.
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I doubt that. There is no reason and common sense for them to speak english with each other even if they live near border. It makes sense for them to speak spanglish only with americans who cross border. Does it make sense for white american who lives near border to speak spanish? No. So why mexicans near border are expected to speak perfect english? Near the border is still near the border. Even mexicans who came to US and live there for few years continue to speak with each other in spanish.
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LOVED the pilot! I look forward to the next episode.
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Weird, that review reads like you think this is an American original series, it's a remake of the amazing Danish/Swedish series, the only creative choices the adaptor (rather than creator) had was how to fit it to an American audience. The constant need to remake because Americans can't cope with just watching foreign programmes and appreciating the differences between us all is boring. Why does everything have to be Americanized to be relatable??
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Great review Tim. It was all there and definitely worth watching. The whole, "That's just the way it is," thing is so true. My wife hates Sonja--so what else is new--but she also loved the show. It must be a pleasant change to review something good instead of Under the Dumb. Orange is the New Black and this is the new Bridge. We are certainly blessed...
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How can she hate some character if it's only one episode? It's kinda too fast. She's autistic, deal with it. She's not gonna be likable like bunny.
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Oh, you don't know my wife. She was an assistant director for 15 years and it kinda messed her up for TV. She has an unnatural and intense hatred for all things and people on Seinfeld. Julia Louie is the worst and she can't stand her so I have to watch Veep alone. But she did love In the Loop which eventually spawned Veep. And don't get her started on old Christine...
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I guess, to each his own. And yeah Seinfeld's characters are tiresome for me too. I get that.
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So, this is the cop show in which a human partners with a robot, right? Funny, I thought Karl Urban was in it. OK, ok, now I know why her odd behavior. But at first this kind of show seems to present things saying "Americans are like this, Mexicans are like that." So my first impression was that Americans were good at following rules, but had no social skills (like Canadians, just without the good manners), while Mexicans are nice folks, but mostly corrupt. In fact, only a very nice fellow would be able to put up with that unbearable blonde as a partner.

Of course those generalizations don't work. Now I know the American cop has her issues, and if I've learned anything from American cop shows is that corruption exists everywhere, so I'm El Paso counterpart. And at some point I'll wish to see corruption making its way in the American police as well. After all, this is television.

All in all, an interesting show. I'll watch more episodes for sure.
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Having rewatched the original series quite recently, it was really strange to see this version. The original female detective is definitely superior in my opinion, but other than that it's just odd to see word for (translated) word identical scenes interspersed with completely new ones - there is no basement in the original, so I have no idea what's in there.

Obviously the border in the original is completely different from the USA/Mexico border so the dynamic has to be different, but it's really interesting to see what's been changed and what hasn't.

The little things are as telling as the bigger ones I think, like for example in the original her boss didn't tell her to remember to make eye contact, or to change clothes in the womens locker room which seems to indicate that Sonya's being 'different' is being accentuated more in this version
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Sonya is to crime solving what Sheldon Cooper is to theoretical physics.

And I'm lovin' it!
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Came here to say that.
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I really liked the show, dark, interesting, engulfing. Glad to see Ted Levine back (Monk). Marco and Sonya are two very very interesting Policia!
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That was Ted Levine? Yeah, I guess it was. I'm usually astute at seeing these things but that just went right through my legs as if I were Bill Buckner...
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No time to read the other comments today, but I have LOADS to say about this show, specifically Sonya.

As someone who's extremely familiar with autism (my boyfriend has Asperger's), I'm interesting to see other peoples' responses to the character, especially if they jumped into the show not knowing anything. I thought the portrayal was pretty damn accurate and the actress owned the quirks (it isn't simply something that CAN'T dominate the show, as unlike Carrie's bipolar is can't be controlled with medication). I don't doubt that an Aspie could rise to high ranks as a detective, but I am dubious about how she's handled at work. I assume she demands to work alone and it's a small office so they don't have loads of hands to spare, but I can't see them ever sending someone like her to speak to a victim's family alone, especially if she has to be reminded to make eye-contact. I loved the scene but it made me do a double-take. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt it's just the size of the office though that demanded it.

My favourite parts were when people repeatedly hung up on Sonya. I would watch that for an hour. High comedy.

I like them presenting us with the killer right off the bat -- BUT MAYBE IT'S NOT. Next week on seems to indicate they catch them pretty quick.

Wish I could say more, but gotta run. I'm prepared to LOVE this show though.
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Oh, also A+ for the Lieutenant being Buffalo Bill!!!
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Enjoyed it, I like the interactions between the two detetives and Marco is great. He has a good presence, a twinkle in his eye.

I think most people can figure out what is up with Sonja. Her interview of the grieving husband was very well done. The excessive eye contact, the inability to respond to emotion, repeating herself with the offer of water as she didn't know how to deal with his grief. I'm surprised he took that long to throw her out lol.

Seems a little too obvious that the trailer guy could be the killer, I expect it will turn out to be a much larger conspiracy, or not, who knows.

And seriously, what the hell is in that basement? Is it filled with bodies of missing Juarez girls? Or a secret family? Was half expecting Caesar to whack her over the head at that point.

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I loved LOVED Sonya. I think Diane Kruger was great in the role. I wanted to strangle her at the beginning, but then it downed on me what the deal with her was and by the end I just wanted to protect her from the mean world. Not that she can't by herself, but you know what I mean.

Demian Bichir was amazing too. Has a lot of common sense, patience and good humor. Something tells me he's gonna need that.

I liked the Pilot although a few things felt disconnected or just confusing. I think it has good potential.
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From the Pilot, the show seems really good, but we won't know if it's great until the next episode, i mean "Under the Dome" pilot episode was really good and even great, but the rest of the episodes was really bad, but i am really positive about "The Bridge"
I don't know why people keep saying that Diane Kruger performance was bad especially those people who read Tim's preview article about the show(Tim you really should mention if there was a spoiler in your articles next time even if it was small), actually that is good acting not bad, if you think that Sonya shouldn't act the way she does, you should take with the show creator not the actress.
The show opened many good stories in a short time:
- The basement!?.
- The /serial/ killer - "This is only the beginning".
- That girl that was smuggled from Juarez to El Paso and her smuggler.
- The huge different between El Paso and Juarez, between the US and it's neighbor Mexico, the difference between Caucasian and Hispanic, the difference between the "First World" and the "Third World'.
The show did a weird job making the viewer(at least me) empathize with the killer cause, his ways are twisted and sick sure, but is his cause "twisted"??, i don't believe so, he have a righteous cause but a very very wrong and sick way to prove it(making a body from two different persons and killing a person just because he doesn't agree with you is just sick no matter what message it sends)
I am still wondering what part does the wife and the basement of that dead rich man plays in the show , the same goes for the smuggled girl and her smuggler.
The killer - for now - seems to have some kind of twisted justice, he didn't kill the reporter, he used him to attract attention to his "cause", but killed the judge because she had anti-hispanic agendas, i don't think that he is the one who killed the Mexican girl, i think the only reason he used her "under body" was attention(again) to his "cause", i mean think of it, if it was the judges body only, no one would even bother with the thousands of dead people in the other side of the bridge, but now that he connected the bodies, he also connected both sides of the bridge he connected the two different unequal yet close cities and worlds, if we forget the whole murder thing it would be brilliant(yet really sick) actually,
I am really hooked to learn more about the killer and his "sense of justice" and how is he going down, i am also interested about the side stories(the basement - the smuggled girl), but the killer and his"cause" are far more interesting to me - for now at least -
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Sonja was great as most unique characters are, and Diane Kruger did a wonderful job...
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I was positivly suprised. At first the premise of the show - two cops from two countries working together - seemed rather dull. But the two lead-characters, the killer with an agenda and the so far unconnected sideplot of the trophy-wife definetly got me curious. So I will watch a couple more episodes an then decide further.
The comparison to The Americans is well chosen, I think. Even though on the americans the structure of the show seemed different even in the pilot. I'm wondering if The Bridge will go for a The Killing style show structure, where a case basically takes a whole season to solve. It seems, at least to me, to be set up that way.
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I was only half expecting a good show, despite FX having some of the best shows on TV at the moment (Archer, Americans, Justified), but after the first episode I'm much more optimistic.

I do like how we haven't been told what Sonya's 'deal' is yet, because people don't walk around with a T-Shirt saying "I've got X, ask me about it!", it feels much more natural.

I still want to know how the heck she ended up as a cop with all her personal quirks, but I'm looking forward to the next episode now.
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If the pilot is anything to go by, this is an uninspired unexciting remake of original classic. Seriously, did the creative team just go through "Bron/Broen" shot by shot and make notes of how to fit it for their audience? What is the point of that anyway, if you are going to lose the essence of what made the original show so great?

I think there are two ways to adapt/remake something in a good way.

1. Take the essence and the subject, but turn it into something of your own. Infuse your own original creativity, and you have something special. Example - Homeland

2. Stay really close and honest to the original material without many creative changes, but still make it refreshing experience with help your own distinct style. Example - David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The problem with The Bridge is it dangles between these two methods, never being really sure of which way to take, and ends being a frustrating mess to those who have seen and liked the original. It lacks the haunting atmosphere quality. It lacks the subtlety of the female lead's autism. It lacks that ominous tone in cross-cutting between narratives. And most importantly, it lacks the point that the show is not about the crimes as much as it's about the conflict and dynamics between the characters.

I can understand the appeal to those who are seeing this show for the first time. But the original is a lot better, as it always is.
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Though I agree that the original pilot was better than this one - Saga is far superior to Sonya, I disagree that they had the option of staying closer to it than they did. The settings are so very different that they have to have a great impact on the story. The differences between Sweden and Denmark are minuscule compared to the differences between USA and Mexico, so the contrasts between the two countries has to play a much bigger role.

That being said, I did find it jarring to see carbon copy scenes intercut with completely new material, but for the majority who haven't seen the original tht won't be a problem.
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Great potential for this series, even though I'm sick to death of this "flawed character" meme that every new show has.

Are we sure her boss isn't also her father? When she asks "what will happen to me?" when he retires?
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Can someone please inform Tim that Kruger's character has Aspberger's (a milder form of autism)? She's not loony or wacky or trying to be anti-social-- she has a serious disease that thousands of Americans suffer, and for some this article might come off as offensive.
Anyways, thought the show was pretty boring up until the last five minutes. Felt like it was aiming for the grittiness of Breaking Bad, but fell way short. For a pilot, this was just too dull for me. In Breaking Bad there was action from the get-go-- Walt in his underwear with a gun pointed at his head and fire sirens blaring in the distance. As the episode progressed, so did the characters who were forced to make active choices-- Walt found out he had cancer, he chose to manufacture meth, he and Jesse killed a guy, etc. The Bridge was just a bunch of people talking about a dead body. Too much set-up for a very small payoff that revolved around a supporting character (judging from the fact Matthew Lillard was credited as a guest star, chances are good he won't be around for long).
However, The Americans started off rocky for me, and it turned out to be one of the best new shows of the year. I'll stick around for a few episodes and hope the writing staff makes some critical changes in the pacing of this show.
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Why did you just reveal the SPOILER!? The article is clear : "I'm going to respect that by not mentioning it here...".
Tim doesn't need to be informed, he went out of his way to not to ruin our experience of discovering this character. And then you went and ruined it. Your comment is like a Great Dane poop on the sidewalk, just left there stinking for your fellow readers to step in unwittingly.
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He at least shoulda mentioned that it was based on swedish-danish show. And due to his first article "should I watch Bridge?" it was seemed that he had no idea what was wrong with Sonja.
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Yeah, now I have to go clean my shoe...
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I know they're elusive creatures, but have you never met an autistic person or someone with Aspberger's before? It ain't rocket science to make the assumption that Kruger's character has Asperger's or is to some extent autistic, especially considering the writers beat the audience over the head with hints to her condition. Apologies for thinking the general viewer was knowledgeable enough to possess a basic understanding of autism or Aspberger's. I didn't realize this observation was some major mystery to uncover in the series- it just seemed like one of those details the writers hoped an educated audience to understand without having someone say, "Hey Sonya, have you ever been tested for Aspberger's?"
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The whole point is that show (or at least the pilot) doesn't announce her diagnosis. It just lets it be, for us to discover and understand as we will. Of course lots of viewers will have asked themselves, "What's up with this lady, is she autistic or something?". I think it is a gesture of respect towards people who might often find themselves overshadowed by a diagnosis, to not rush labeling this character as pathological, abnormal, etc. and instead let us see how her actions seem weird and awkward. See the difference: the person vs. her actions?

Tim followed the lead of the show, for which I think he deserves kudos. You did not, and I have already supplied a metaphor for what I thought of that.
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I'm guessing Sonya's boss was on Sonya's sister's case, so that's why he bonded with Sonya as her protector/mentor, maybe that's why Sonya became a cop. Sonya's personality fairly easy to figure out, even though I don't buy a person like her using an old-fashioned notepad instead of a tablet paired to her mic to document a crime scene.

The basement, I'm wondering the ranch-hand might shove the widow into it so he can take over the ranch, but I guess it could also be a slave-basement populated by coyotes her former hubby worked with on the sly.
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She's most probably a cop because she's good at it, kinda like the way Columbo was good at it...
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I liked it, Kruger is excellent.
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I was not impressed at all. Ill still give it a few more episodes. It was very slow and the actress playing the detective sucks. They could have gotten someone better. Preferably a male actor. I've never been much on shows Who's lead character is a female cop. I didn't know I was gonna have to brush up on my Spanish in order to watch it. I realize that a lot of the show is based around Mexico but this is America and if my tv is not tuned into FXmundo then I shouldn't have to read my way half thru a tv show just sayin. I hope it gets better we'll see. I still have my last season of Dexter Hannibal American Horror Story Bates Motel so there wont be any love lost if it doesn't

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Oh, you are so tired to read subtitles, poor you.
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You're a fucking moron. Xenophobia and misogyny. Quite a mix.
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Relax, she's got Bates Motel to keep her happy...
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" I had no idea Matthew Lillard could play an adult." ROFL! That makes two of us... and he looks all growed up! That was such a shock!

I was slightly miffed when the cop said "Boo-eh-nouz deeh-az" to Demián but then he answered "How-dee pard-nurrr" and it was hilarious!

Liked the pilot enough to give it a chance...

Yes, Bichir can act! I wasn't particularly bothered by Diane Kruger. I have worked with plenty of people that have different degrees of Autism and I felt her performance was more than credible...

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First impression leaves me intrigued for sure. Pretty solid pilot, introducing us to characters and setting some larger plot elements in motion. I am not familiar with the original Danish/Swedish show (but from the comments I might have to get familiar), but one thing I would imagine is that the changed setting will serve the show to build tension and deal with a unique set of political and ideological issues inherent to a US/Mexican partnership & setting
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Surprisingly I think it worked to make a dark,mysterious show with a cool Mexican cop and Data for the comical relief.
Of course, Demian Bichir has to constantly act his ass off to make Data believable in this, but so far he succeeded!
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I think that most commentators reflect my initial reaction and I'll have to try and watch the original Scandinavian to assess if this version is what compared to it.
My only real interrogation is given Sonja has Asperger's, how can any of her cases go to court.I mean even the most incompetent defence lawyer will have a field day debunking her as a cop and witness. Does anyone know what are the court credibility of people with Asperger's,I am really interested to know.
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Actually, people with Asperger's tend to be very honest and usually have problem with lying and sometimes can't even lie, i am not an expert on law, but i don't see any legal problem in it, nor did i ever hear about a case where being an Aspie was a problem
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That's good enough for me. :-) Thank you.
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Two words--Boston Legal...
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But is Boston Legal based on genuine lawyers?
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This is a fascinating question! I just graduated from law school and I have no real idea, but to be a lay witness you just have to be competent, and to be an expert witness you must have expertise in your field. I'm pretty sure one of my professors has Aspergers and he has been an expert witness. If you are high-functioning, it shouldn't be a problem, but it might bear on credibility with a jury.
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Also, the judge could disallow any questions on the issue of Sonya's Asperger's if he/she feels it is irrelevant to the case or unnecessarily prejudicial. I doubt the average lay juror has a great knowledge of this condition, and judges don't like confusion of the issues. I expect we might see more of Sonya's relationship with the District Attorney's Office in El Paso, which may shed light on how this is dealt with in court.
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First, congratulations ! and second, thank you for your reply. Your professor has to deal as an expert witness with points of law and jurisprudence, I gather. But Sonya will have to bear witness on evidence gathering, forensics and what will amount to a complex investigation, of which she is responsible of only the American half of it. As of what we have seen so far, there is the cartel, a serial killer, human slavery (the kidnapped woman) and probably drugs.Hence, my interrogation.
I am under the feeling that this a case no one will really want resolved at some point, for various reasons.From the American side, they are giving it to a detective, whose own partner qualifies as a "wackjob" and from the Mexican, one of the only honest cops on their force, maybe to keep him occupied. I know, it seems that they just happen to have had the case handled to them, but I never believed in coincidence.
By the way, we do have one hint, for what it's worth, the killer's boots are the same as our Mexican detective, so maybe he is a cop on either side.
I am downloading the Scandinavian original, so I hope to see who is the murderer there, but I won't spoil it, don't worry.
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I still like the original more like almost ervery other copy of a good show from other countries. Of course they can do a one to one copy mixed with a little American mainstream but it´s a much darker atmosphere with a different kind of tension in the original series that I couldn´t feel here. And Diane Kruger I don´t know I´m not buying it. So people from america do your self a favour and watch the original series if you can it´s worth it.
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Yes sonya is no saga. The character saga especially her interaction with martin (the danish cop) makes the show
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Just finished watching it and here are my thoughts:
Diane Kruger does a good job at intriguing me. I mean, what does she have? PTSD? Aspergers? I dont know, but I do want to find out.
I liked Demián Bichir too, he's funny and serious all at the right time.
What I didnt like tho is the old dude's heart attack / suspicious wife story line... I mean, who are they? Why are they in the middle of the whole episode? Who are they connected with? AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHAT IS IN THAT BASEMENT! The promo for next weeks episode didnt show ANYTHING about it, I'm scared they might cut that plot out of the series just because it was part of the pilot and didnt work out (not unheard of)
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It is very good, might even better than the original (Bron)
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Marco Ruiz brings seeeexy back to television. Yes, the show is incredible, but he's the icing on the cake.
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I love that they didn't reveal the Aspergers. With Aspergers especially, people can be fully functioning with jobs, families, etc. The mental illness isn't a definition, it's just one aspect of her.
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It's not a mental illness, it's autism, a personality disorder. Get it right, please!!!
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The abstract below is from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21821235

Compr Psychiatry. 2012 May;53(4):333-40. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2011.05.014. Epub 2011 Aug 6.
Personality disorders and autism spectrum disorders: what are the connections?
Lugnegård T, Hallerbäck MU, Gillberg C.
Source
Department of Adult Habilitation, Central Hospital, Karlstad, Sweden. tove.lugnegard@liv.se
Abstract
BACKGROUND:
The relationship between autism spectrum disorders/pervasive developmental disorders and personality disorders is not completely clear, although both concepts imply lifelong impairment. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the presence of possible personality disorders in a group of young adults with Asperger syndrome.
METHOD:
Fifty-four young adults with a clinical diagnosis of Asperger syndrome were assessed with Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II disorders to evaluate the presence of a concomitant personality disorder and completed the Autism Spectrum Quotient to measure level of autistic features. Autism spectrum diagnosis was confirmed by Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders with a collateral informant.
RESULTS:
Approximately half of the study group fulfilled criteria for a personality disorder, all belonging to cluster A or C. There was a significant difference across sex: men with Asperger syndrome meeting personality disorder criteria much more often than women with Asperger syndrome (65% vs 32%). Participants fulfilling criteria for a personality disorder showed more marked autistic features according to the Autism Spectrum Quotient.
CONCLUSIONS:
There is a considerable overlap in symptoms between Asperger syndrome and certain personality disorders. Similarities and differences of the two concepts are discussed in the framework of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classification system
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A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness
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I liked it, but am not completely hooked yet. We saw the kidnappers boots when he dropped the body though, didn't we? I think it was the same guy.
What I didn't get, was why on earth that girl got in the trunk of the car. It didn't look like she wanted to get to the US and arranged to be smuggled there, especially in that outfit. So, why? What did you guys think?
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How can someone like TV critic be so ignorant and not checking original show on which this copypaste based? At least google it. American show obviously follows swedish-danish show in portraying female detective as autistic person. But that won't be said out loud coz in original show her autism is not main element of the show. It's just there. And in original show we have to discover for ourselves her condition but that is not that important anyway. It is important in a way how such person navigates in normal world and subtle depiction is crucial here. And I think Kruger gives that subtlety. I don't see it as caricature, nothing over the top (far from Max on parenthood or even Rainman). And in original show her autism doesn't make her genius detective or anything like that (like House or Sherlock). It's just another side of life.
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good point
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I've heard good things about this show but in my eyes Diane Kruger is one of the worst actresses on this planet (you're welcome, Kristen Stewart) and I find it unbearable to watch her "act" -- she totally ruins everything for me…!
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I thought she was pretty good in Inglourious Basterds and Joyeux Noël, myself. And for a German actress to win the role of an American "gringa" policewoman is pretty impressive, too!
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I enjoyed the pilot and hope all the episodes will be as good as this. Then we have another The Americans (which I loved) in the making. This is like a faster, cooler version of the Killing. I think Diane Kruger performance is good. I did not know the condition before watching the pilot and I thought she is just a ambitious cop who is so focus on case solving and have social inept. Only after some goggle did I found out about her condition. Demián Bichir I think is fantastic. I am a fan of weeds and I enjoyed his portrayal of Esteban but when I watch him in this show, I almost totally forgot he used to be Esteban. He can really do both character with such different personalities so well.
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Sweet!

Only piece of criticism: Tim asked us yesterday if he should watch The Bridge, and he mentioned that "it's difficult to tell whether she [Kruger] is doing a fantastic job or the opposite". And I kind of have to agree with that. I don't have a problem with her character being "rude" and "no fun" (Tim's words again), but I feel her portrayal of a person with Asperger's is a little over the top. I don't have a lot of experience with aspies, but I feel her performance is almost a caricature of one. Now, if having Asperger's is central to shaping the character, I understand that the creators of the show want to emphasize it. There's no point in writing a character to be a certain way, if the audience never even notices it. The thing with a fictional character in a book, film, painting, etc. is, that the only real attributes about it are those which are actually conveyed to the observer of the medium. How, for example, would the audience ever know that a character has a third nipple, if it never comes up in the story?

So for us to know that Sonya is an aspie, it has to be emphasized. But in The Bridge, Kruger has laid it on a little thick. She works as a cop, so her Asperger's can't be severe. And usually people with Asperger's have learned to be somewhat aware of their behaviour in new situations. Considering this, she is a little robotic. On the other hand, I'm sure Kruger has had to do research on Asperger's in preparation for this role, so I guess she knows what she's doing. Then of course there's the chance that Sonya was written like this for comic effect, like a female version of Monk.
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My immediate thought when I saw that abandoned house - her dead husband used to get extra cash from trafficking illegals into the US, there's a tunnel that probably leads to somewhere on the US/Mexico border. That's possibly what the phone was for as well - people who want to come live in the US to call and arrange the trip. His motivations remain unclear, though: did he simply need the money after losing some of it in bad investment? Was he in with the cartels, possibly also getting illegal drugs into the country? Was it political and did he possibly believe that people should have a chance at a better life?
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