The Bridge III – Episode 1

Series 3 of The Bridge sees the return of Saga but there are a few changes this time around. For one thing the case whilst spanning the two countries does not have an actual physical connection with the Øresund bridge this time. In series 1 it was a body placed in the middle of the bridge which brought Saga and her Danish counterpart Martin together. Series 2 it was a boat which crashed into the bridge which reunited them. This however is not the only change, not only does the bridge not resume it’s literal role in the proceedings but neither does Martin. After having murdered Jens at the end of the previous series he is serving a ten year prison sentence for that crime. With that in mind I think it’s kind of fitting that the bridge has a less direct role in the case. It no longer needs to for one thing, the link between the two countries is already well established. For it’s not just Saga who has made a friend on the opposite side of the bridge but her boss Hans has too, he’s gotten together with his Danish counterpart Lillian.

As well as dealing with the change of Martin not being around Saga also has some other issues to contend with, namely the appearance of her mother which raises some interesting questions. Seems we might finally get to find out the full story about her childhood and what happened to her sister.

I thought it would be fun to put all my thoughts and theories in one place, not just to make it easier to keep track of it all but also to see how much I get right this time around. I haven’t really worked out how to structure it yet. For this first post I’ve just written it from my notes which means most of it is in chronological order but then my notes aren’t exactly very organized. Sometimes I just write wherever there’s space, which means some of it may be a little random.

Whilst Hans is enjoying his newly-wed status with Lillian, Saga is not having nearly as much fun with her in the end temporary partner Hanne. Saga’s real partner for the series is not introduced until the end of the episode. That is we meet him long before than but we don’t know who he is, well anyone who doesn’t read a TV guide anyway. Henrik is quite intriguing almost as much as the case itself in fact. I have a feeling he has quite the backstory. Something is most definitely off with him. I think his family are not really there, I think they are only there in his mind. When he gets back from his date he talks to who we assume is his wife about it. But it’s a very odd conversation for him to have with his wife, with that and other clues such as the way his daughters seemed to not notice him, one can only come to the conclusion they are a figment of his imagination. There’s also the question of the sleeping pills he’s taking and the mysterious powder he keeps in his car to wake himself up. I wonder if he’s getting any sleep at all.

But enough about Henrik, to the main story, the case. The opening scene of the first episode is in some ways reminiscent of the first ever episode, a mysterious man driving a car wearing black leather gloves on his way to dump a body. And just like Jens he takes care of the cameras though in a less skilled way than Jens did, there’s no hacking involved this time, a simple laser pointer sufficed for the job at hand. Before you even find out anything about what’s going on the first question is obvious, is this a continuation of the story from the previous series, does this have anything to do with the eco-terrorists. In an interview with Hans Rosenfeldt the writer he said that the body count last series was absurd and that this season was going to be more focused. I don’t know if that’s a hint that this case has nothing to do with the events of the previous series, or it could be an attempt to make you think that’s the case.

Whichever it is in many ways this series feels like it is in the words of the opening credits going “back to the beginning.” Saga is having to deal with the problems of dealing with a new person, the case is related to the themes of identity and social issues, in addition the role of family seems to be key. Both with the case and with personal matters. Hans is newly married, Saga is dealing with issues from her past and Henrik seems to have his own family related problems, though his issues are of a somewhat different nature to Martin’s issues from the first and second series.

I don’t know if this is the final series but if it was, then it would all fit well together. The show started with a female victim posed in particular way and if this is the end, then it would be ending that way too. Back then the killer’s interest in social issues turned out to be a smoke screen for his own personal agenda. I wonder if that’s the case here too, and if in fact it wasn’t the case with the eco-terrorists. Because when people  claim that they are doing something for other reasons, for reasons bigger than themselves, in actuality it comes back to themselves in some way. People don’t often care about issues unless they are directly affected in some way.

The victim is a woman named Helle Anker, a Danish citizen who is some kind of campaigner for LGBT issues and was opening a “gender-neutral” pre-school which seems to have angered a few people. She was found dead at a construction site, a block of apartments but she wasn’t killed there. The scene is posed, quite grotesquely so, the body is seated a table with there mannequins, a man and two children. All their faces are painted, a scary kind of joker smile.

The Bridge - mannequin 1 The Bridge - mannequin 2 The Bridge - mannequin 3 Helle Anker - murder scene Helle AnkerAs well as being a campaigner she was the founder of a fertility clinic which was established in 1988. She has two sons, a grown up one named Morten and a child with her current partner, her wife who reported her missing after she didn’t return from a meeting in Malmo.

In addition to the case there’s also three other story-lines, a woman who’s dealing with her daughter being bullied at school. An issue which the school don’t seem to be particularly interested in. The conversation between the teacher and the girl’s mother is most interesting. They seem to know who the culprit is but the teacher is adamant they can’t jump to conclusions. Additionally she makes an odd comment how the bullied girl should be grateful she has a strong family who care for her and are dedicated. I guess she’s implying that the bully doesn’t have this, perhaps she has disinterested parents or none at all, or a single parent family perhaps. Either way the teacher seems to be implying some sort of allowance should be made for the girl on this account. At first you naturally feel sympathetic for the victim, but afterwards when we learnt what her mother does for a living my views toward her changed a little. I’m not sure it’s right, but the thought was there, I started to wonder just why she seems to be unpopular at school. When her mother taught her to use violence to solve the situation I was even less sympathetic. Particularly as she wasn’t defending herself, she went straight up to her and attacked the girl. The girl’s mother is Lise Friis Andersen and seems to be a most unpleasant person who devotes most of her time to campaigning against people whom she thinks are destroying the nuclear family and it’s traditions. Her hate filled rants may prove to be central to the case in fact. People she criticizes have a nasty habit of turning up dead as will soon become clear.

Lise Friis AndersenThe other story-line is that of Aleksandr who we meet when he’s being dropped off outside a block of apartments. He however does not reach his intended destination, he ends up running away. It’s a curious situation, there appears to be someone waiting for him in one of the apartments, they seem to be somewhat suspicious. In fact as soon as I saw them I started to think about Jens and about him lurking in such a place whilst he was I think on the phone.

AleksandrThere is also more to the story of Lise Friis Andersen, not only is she involved through her hate filled words on the internet but there is the question of the young man Rikkard who works for her. He took a necklace of hers and later left it on her pillow. Also he keeps snakes and other exotic creatures as pets. I don’t know if that’s relevant somehow, his fascination with predators of a kind.

RIkardI especially wonder about him when it comes to Andersen’s words about “we are what we are born to be.” Her words on the subject of not focusing on gender as being central to one’s identity are equally interesting, she thinks without doing so kids would be “indefinable non-biological nothings.”

Most curious why she feels gender is so central to one’s identity. It is after all not the only thing which defines a person. People can have their own sense of identity without fitting into pre-defined boxes that society designates for them. It’s ok for people to go their own way. I wonder what is it about something different that scares them so much, why is it that people like her can’t stand being different. And how can she not see the contradiction in her views, she thinks she’s being brave and standing up for something, well that’s what the people she’s criticizing are doing, they are standing up for what they believe in. Except they aren’t trying to deny anyone their rights. It makes no sense, if gay people can in Andersen’s words live and work among everyone else, if she has no problem with them having the same rights as anyone else then why should it be a problem where they get married?

Things in society do change, things evolve over time, mostly for the better. How can a society which is more tolerant towards people who are different in some way be a bad thing? Surely a society in which people feel free and safe to be themselves is a good thing?

Enough about that, back to the case. Anker was kidnapped in Sweden, she didn’t go back over the bridge. She wasn’t killed where she was found, she was murdered inside a lorry trailer at a logistics company. Random fact, the CEO of the company is the actor who played the prime minister in series 3 of The Killing.

The main suspect so far is her grown up son Morten who is a veteran who spent time in Afghanistan. He maintains he had nothing to do with mother’s murder. He’s obviously paranoid and at first it seems like he may have something to do with this. Especially when he visits his mother’s wife, he tells her “I didn’t touch her.” But later events show he may not be talking about his mother. And his strange behaviour, including the wiring of his trailer with explosives which almost kills Saga’s temporary partner Hanne is most likely completely unrelated.

Morten AnkerIt’s also not immediately clear what Aleks has to do with all of this. He is digging something up, which you assume to be money. A supposition confirmed when he visits his friend who he accuses of taking the money. As it turns out him and his friend are most likely bank robbers. He just got out of prison, meaning that place earlier was most likely some kind of halfway house. The guy waiting for him seemed suspicious, a fact made clear by what he tells his ex-wife whom he visits next. The person who dropped him off told him it was the “one with the white curtains.” His friend’s house is all white, I wonder if that’s relevant.

From what he tells his ex-wife it seems likely that the person waiting in the flat was there to kill him. He accuses Hans of having made him give him information about who he worked for, of having threatened his family. More specifically of his wife losing custody of their daughters. I don’t think he has anything to do with what’s going on, at least not directly. Neither does Morten it seems, from what happened at the end of the episode it’s obvious he has PTSD.

Another interesting point is the letter the victim received. It was written on a typewriter and is markedly different from the other threats the victim received. It’s eloquent, there are no swear words and no threats about rape or sexual assault. Indicating that it’s a different kind of person who’s written this in comparison to the kind of people who usually send her hate mail, or that they have a very different agenda. Hans and Saga both find the wording of two particular sentences curious but don’t explain why. Saga begins to say “she was found” but Hans interrupts her saying “I know.” The victim was found in a construction site, a block of apartments, how is that relevant to the following is what I can’t work out:

“You don’t know what family is or what it should be. I can only guide you, if you carry on you must face the consequences.”

One final thing about Henrik when he wakes up he’s alone, the other side of the bed is made, as if no-one has slept there. He slept but he still takes some of whatever drug he keeps in the car. I wonder if he’s slept at all, he got into bed and wakes up the next morning, but who knows what happened between then, maybe even he doesn’t know. The only thing we know for certain at the end of the episode is that he’s Saga’s new partner and that he already knows who she is. Unlike Hanne not  only does he have no qualms about working with her but he actively wants to, in fact he volunteered but he gives no real reason why.

So to sum things up, one victim so far. As far as it would seem only one perpetrator, at least there are no indications of other people being involved. At least not directly. Aleks seems to have his own agenda, Morten doesn’t seem a likely suspect, Rikkard on the other hand is interesting. It’s a little early to be forming theories but my initial one revolves around him and his obsession with his employer Lise. Partly because of what Saga said when her and Hanne were discussing the removal of the victim’s heart. Saga said that it could be about becoming one with the victim or about control issues, or it could have been taken as a keepsake. Perhaps by the kind of person who likes to exert control over other people by taking their jewellery and then returning it without their knowledge.  Also, becoming one with the victim, is that the same kind of thing he’s doing by wearing Lise’s necklace?

I also have another idea about Rikkard, and this may be completely off the mark but then maybe it’s not. Besides that’s the fun of it. Anyhow, what if the key to the victim being targeted isn’t just what she does now but what she used to do. What if her fertility clinic is relevant to this. Because the work she did there could also be considered as messing with nature, with allowing people who shouldn’t have children to have them. And what if Rikkard is one of those people. What if he sees his family as not his real family because of how he was conceived, that he doesn’t consider his family to be a real one and he blames the victim for this. I also think his obsession with his employer may be key, that maybe he’s some kind of disciple of hers. That he takes her words a little bit too seriously. That’s the only kind of theory I have so far anyway. I just hope they don’t make the same mistake as series 1, back then they introduced Sebastian so late and in such a way that it was blatantly obvious he was the killer.

Two final things I have to mention, I wish they would stop describing Saga as having a “special personality.” I just hope special is not used as in insult in Swedish like it is in English. Either way it really grates. I also have to say that I’m happy Thure Lindhart is playing Saga’s new partner. One of the things that worried me the most about this series was who was going to replace Martin, I think they’ve made a good choice. It’s also very amusing because Lindhart once played  a character called Franz in a film called The Christmas Party, and in that Franz was quite unique, he certainly had more than a few autistic traits anyway. He was also unbelievably sweet in said film. Random fact the film also featured Søren Malling who is best known for playing Det. Jan Meyer in series 1 of The Killing.

Henrik

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