by Hans Rosenfeldt
|Theme music composer||Ryan Bingham|
|Opening theme||"Until I'm One with You"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||62 minutes (pilot)|
|Original release||July 10, 2013 –|
October 1, 2014
The Bridge is an American crime drama television series, developed by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid, that was broadcast on the FX network, and based on the Danish-Swedish series Bron/Broen. The series stars Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir in leading roles, and co-stars Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish, Thomas M. Wright, Matthew Lillard and Emily Rios in supporting roles. The complete series consists of two seasons of 13 episodes each. The series debuted on FX in the United States on July 10, 2013, and the series finale aired on October 1, 2014. The show was developed both in English and Spanish languages.
The American version takes place on the U.S. and Mexican border where a murdered body on a bridge between El Paso and Juárez (the Bridge of the Americas) bring together El Paso detective Sonya Cross (Kruger) who is mentored by Hank Wade (Levine) and Chihuahua State police detective Marco Ruiz (Bichir). The story parallels the investigation by El Paso Times reporters Daniel Frye (Lillard) and Adriana Mendez (Rios). The series was a critical success and received positive reviews throughout its run. After the first season maintained a modest audience that dropped by 42 percent by the second, the series was not renewed for a third season.
The Bridge follows two police detectives – one Mexican, one from the U.S. – and their joint effort to capture a serial killer who is operating in both countries when an American judge known for anti-immigration views is found dead on the bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, with Juárez, Mexico, menacing both nations along the Texas–Chihuahua border. Detective Sonya Cross, of the El Paso Police Department, works with Chihuahua State Police Detective Marco Ruiz, who knows about the slippery politics of Mexican law enforcement. Ruiz's whatever-it-takes approach doesn't sit well with Cross, who has undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome or a similar autism spectrum disorder and a by-the-book attitude when it comes to the job. But the two put their differences aside to solve a string of murders on the border, which is already infected with issues that include illegal immigration, drug trafficking, violence and prostitution. Their investigation is complicated by the rampant corruption and general apathy among the Mexican authorities and the violence of the powerful borderland drug cartels. The show title refers to the Bridge of the Americas that serves as a border crossing between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, where the series is set.
FX ordered the series' pilot episode in July 2012. Shooting for the pilot took place on location in the El Paso area and wrapped in December 2012. Critically acclaimed director Gerardo Naranjo, best known for 2011's Miss Bala, directed the pilot.
Work on the remaining twelve season one episodes began in early April 2013. Meredith Stiehm, creator of Cold Case, and Elwood Reid served as the series' executive producers and head writers. The show was co-produced by Shine America and FX Productions for FX. Alex Plank of Wrong Planet served as the consultant for Sonya's Asperger syndrome.
Shine America wanted Stiehm to begin the series on the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, in order to mirror the original series' winter setting. However, Stiehm and Reid successfully argued to set their version in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez at the Bridge of the Americas.
In September 2013, the series was renewed for a second season of 13 episodes. After the first season, co-developer Meredith Stiehm departed the series to rejoin the writing staff of her previous TV series, Homeland, leaving Elwood Reid as the sole showrunner for the second season. Also, Matthew Lillard and Emily Rios, who had recurring roles in the first season, were promoted to series regulars for the second season. The series was canceled after two seasons. John Solberg, FX's Executive Vice President of Communications, said, "FX will not be moving forward with a third season of The Bridge. Creatively we're very proud of what we done. But this came down to the numbers, and they just weren't there."
Main article: List of The Bridge (2013 TV series) episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||July 10, 2013||October 2, 2013|
|2||13||July 9, 2014||October 1, 2014|
On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season scored 77 out of 100, based on 37 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season a 90% rating based on 42 reviews at an average score of 8 out of 10, with the consensus "A seductive crime drama, The Bridge draws viewers in with culturally conscious themes that combine intelligent mystery and spellbinding drama." Chuck Barney from the San Jose Mercury News gave The Bridge its highest praise, saying: "FX may have struck dramatic gold again. This series is mesmerizing. It sucks you in like a good book and has you yearning for more." Alan Sepinwall wrote, "With these characters, with this fascinating, complicated place – and one that's at the forefront of so much of what we're talking about in real world politics... The Bridge is off to such an outstanding start."
Maureen Ryan from The Huffington Post commented: "Mismatched cops forced to work together is one of the oldest TV tropes in the book, but The Bridge builds such a realistic, detailed world around the detectives here that the dynamic is often fresh." The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman called the series "mandatory viewing for drama lovers", adding, "but it will be interesting to see where the writers take it and whether they have the big-league ability to make the evident potential materialize. One thing they've hopefully learned is that sometimes holding back information isn't mysterious, it's just confusing." Robert Bianco from USA Today thought there was "rich ground to explore in the problems Mexico faces and the responsibility we may bear for some of them", adding "but the show's clumsy attempt to boil that down to a catchphrase is offensive and silly, particularly as it has no real connection to the story being told."
The second season received a Metacritic score of 67 out of 100, based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes the second season received an 86% rating based on 21 reviews at an average score of 7.5 out of 10 and the consensus reads, "Thanks to beautiful cinematography and unique, captivating characters, The Bridge is a chilling murder mystery, even if it meanders slightly." Alan Sepinwall writing for HitFix hugely praised the season saying, "It's a show with a much stronger command of its subject matter and awareness of its own strengths and weaknesses–even as The Bridge still seems to be stuck in that nebulous border region separating the pretty good from the genuinely great. Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post also gave a positive review, "It moves along with purpose and energy, but it's often at its best when finding colorful details and or allowing small, telling moments to breathe."
New York Post reviewer Robert Rorke called the show "unique" and wrote, "Drug cartels, a room of shrink-wrapped bills (worth $60 million), body bags and buckets of blood are just some of the intriguing elements in this uniquely Mexican-American drama, where the layers of corruption on both sides of the border seem impenetrable." Mike Hale of The New York Times gave a mixed to positive review saying, "The Bridge still feels like a show caught between two masters. It has a lot of the pieces it needs to actually be a compelling murder mystery–some good performances in key roles; an evocative, sun-blasted look; and an ability (presumably Mr. Reid's) to concoct creepy, suspenseful scenes. Yet we're still waiting for it all to come together."
In June 2013, the series was honored, along with five others, with the Critics' Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series. The pilot episode of the series received the 2013 Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Television: Long Form – Dialogue & ADR from the Motion Picture Sound Editors society. The series won a 2013 Peabody Award, which noted that "its rare, non-stereotypical depiction of two cultures rubbing against and informing each other is as fascinating as the mystery."