TV review: The Bridge Season 3, BBC Four (4 stars)

TV review: The Bridge Season 3, BBC Four

Saga returns with no Martin but a whole heap of troubles

The big question that needs to be answered in The Bridge’s third season is whether it can survive the departure of Martin Rohde, the show’s key Danish cop. Having been convicted for poisoning the man who killed his son at the end of season one, Martin will be chomping on porridge for a decade thanks largely to the evidence given by Saga (Sofia Helin), a detective who lives life somewhere along the Asperger’s / autistic spectrum.

As the new series opens, Malmö’s Saga is assigned a new Copenhagen buddy in the shape of a somewhat hostile Hanne Thomson (Kirsten Olesen). The pair team up in order to crack a new mystery: the murder of a prominent Danish LGBT rights campaigner whose body is discovered in Sweden. The show’s writers are clearly forced to concoct ever new ways of making their crime a cross-border investigation to justify showing us that incredible Óresund / Øresund Bridge (delete according to where your own Scandi loyalties lie).

Those who watched French crime drama Witnesses earlier this year might experience a shudder of déjà vu over the macabre tableaux within which the murder victim is found. Afterwards, the show is more itself, introducing a barrage of characters whose link to the case is not instantly obvious until we piece together the snippets of information which build up their profiles. Blink or nod off for a second and you could soon be reaching for the iPlayer to work out what you just missed.

Among the shady individuals are a Katie Hopkins-esque vlogger whose callous pronouncements display deep intolerance and possibly an incitement to violence; the murder victim’s PTSD-suffering ex-military son; a freed convict who is mightily annoyed when the hidden proceeds of his criminal activity go missing.

Meanwhile, poor old Saga continues to struggle with the demons from her family past and a conflict between feeling remorse and righteousness over her actions towards Martin, her colleague and only real friend. Once you plough through the minefield of new faces, The Bridge’s third instalment looks like being another compelling addition to the north European crime canon.

The Bridge starts on BBC Four, Saturday 21 November, 9pm.