Spoiler alert: This is for people watching The Bridge at BBC Two pace. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen episode three of the fourth series – and if you have seen further ahead, please do not post spoilers.
You can read the previous recaps here.
So, the hunt for Red October turned out to be a rather brief one. Instead of being a tech-savvy far-left guerrilla cell with enough shadowy influence to abduct and ritualistically murder the Danish head of immigration, Red October was revealed to be the absolute epitome of #fakenews.
To create demand for his flashy investigative journalism, Richard Dahlqvist had gone full Stephen Glass and invented the suspiciously faceless group. The hack’s frantic attempts to cover up his deception with livestreaming lies wilted under Saga’s withering gaze. What did that leave him with? Nothing but a murdered twin brother and a busted-up outdoor Jacuzzi.
Saga’s rapid demolition of Richard’s rickety story was all the more impressive considering she had hotfooted it straight from a therapy session in Malmö. Unlike most maverick cops, who would rather dive headlong into the line of fire rather than willingly see a shrink, Saga had assessed her recent anxiety attacks and independently decided she required professional help.
As she flatly itemised her eventful personal history, it was a reminder of all the trauma our hero has endured, from the suicide of her sister at 14 to, very recently, getting stabbed in the neck with a broken ping-pong bat. Faced with this avalanche of anguish, Saga’s psychologist somehow managed to maintain a professionally serene smile. (Her initial assessment? “We’ve got a bit to work with …”)
The Red October lead may have been scuttled, but Henrik and Saga caught a break when light-fingered street kids Julia and Ida were picked up in Malmö. Shipped back to Copenhagen for interrogation, the jittery sisters were able to corroborate prime suspect Taariq Shirazi’s story about where he got the phone that made the fateful final call to Margrethe Thormod, even if they failed to confirm the identity of the original owner.
As the girls were dragged, screaming, to the custody cells, Henrik persuaded Lillian to let him put them up at his place overnight. If they seemed wary at first – especially when shunted into his missing daughters’ eerily preserved bedroom – Henrik seemed to win them over with his spag bol. In typically bald style, Saga suggested a DNA test, but Henrik was under no illusions that Julia and Ida might be his offspring, even if he seemed to enjoy the opportunity to be some kind of father again.
Away from prying police eyes, we were thrown into a gun-running side plot featuring dodgy cabby Dan Brolund and the coldly businesslike father of the girl in hospital who poor Patrik Dahlqvist had inadvertently frightened with his (admittedly terrifying) clown makeup. Just another coincidence, or could the creepy Brolund – one of the last people to have seen Margrethe alive – be the oily thread that links everything together? Such coincidences, or at least some very unhappy accidents, have always helped The Bridge barrel forwards.
For now, Lillian has put all their eggs into one basket: allowing Shirazi to escape en route to a deportation centre while surreptitiously following him via a tracker in his gold watch. How was she to know that he would almost immediately hawk it for a handgun at a dodgy hairdresser (bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “Something for the weekend, sir?”) Now Shirazi is back on the streets, armed and on a mission to track down someone called Morgan Sonning …
Welcome to the village
We kept cutting away from the case to see how Sofie and her emo son, Christoffer, were integrating into the vaguely hippy Swedish community (their murmured motto: “community is everything”) ruled with a sharp tongue by silver-haired Harriet. While not everyone seemed thrilled by their arrival, Christoffer seemed to perk up after continuing to hang out with a girl his own age, albeit one who was so lonely she had created a cast of alter egos to keep herself amused. These characters came complete with elaborate backstories and – in the case of hoodie-wearing “Agnes” – some violent tendencies. Are Sofie and Christoffer really any safer here than in proximity to bad dad Dan Brolund?
Saga and Henrik’s big news
After accompanying Henrik as he dropped off Julia and Ida at social services, Saga dropped her own bombshell: she was pregnant. (When a shocked Henrik asked if he was the father, she gave a typically blunt Saga reply: “I’ve only had sex with myself and you for the last two years.”) She announced she had no plans to keep the baby, but Henrik’s emotional reaction suggests there will be discussions ahead. Could this be laying some groundwork for a happy ending?
What do we know?
With Red October revealed to be fictitious, the Thormod investigation refocuses on Taariq Shirazi. CCTV footage from near the Grotten club reveals various black cars leaving at the time of Margrethe’s disappearance, but Shirazi fails to positively identify any of them.
Teen pickpockets Julia and Ida are brought into custody, but fail to shed any light on the owner of the phone that made the last call to Margrethe Thormod. Investigating the sisters’s bolt hole, Henrik and Saga discover the wallet of Niels Thormod’s personal assistant Susanne Winter in the stash of loot.
Susanne confirms her wallet was stolen, but denies the phone is hers. Fingerprint evidence seems to corroborate her assertion.
Lillian authorises an operation that will trick Shirazi into thinking he has escaped custody. Undercover cops belatedly follow Shirazi to a hairdressing salon and settle in to monitor him, unaware that he has already exchanged the watch containing the tracking device. Once the mistake becomes obvious, they apprehend salon owner, Reza Frank.
Thoughts and observations
- Once Richard has finished helping the Swedish security service with their inquiries, the disgraced journo will need a new gig. According to one commentator, he could eke out a living as a Stephen Hendry impersonator?
- Despite visiting a therapist, coping with the initial stages of pregnancy and taking custody of her late mother’s possessions, Saga somehow still found time to identify 12 male workmates who could help in her investigation of Alice’s disappearance. An impressive work rate.
- After continuing to struggle with the hot desking concept – “Is it 24 hours in each place? What are the rules?” – Saga simply commandeered an extra desk and claimed it as Swedish territory.
- A quiet week for bad-tempered cop Jonas although he did imply all hairdressers were gay, reliably living up to our expectations.
- After a sneaky beer in the cop shop (“Skol!”) during their late-night surveillance, was that a spark detectable between nominal IT rivals Barbara and John?
- Never a shortage of unsettling images in The Bridge but that closing shot has to be an all-time great: roll up, roll up for the leering clown with a GoPro camera stuck to his bonce terrorising a child in hospital.