Series premiere review: ‘The Bridge’ – ‘Pilot’

“The Bridge” debuted tonight on FX. I published a general review of the series yesterday, and I have a few specific thoughts on the pilot episode coming up just as soon as I make a white tiger my enemy…

My plan is to make “The Bridge” a part of the regular blog rotation, give or take a few weeks in the summer where Comic-Con, press tour or vacation might get in the way.

The pilot throws us right into this case and this world, as our mysterious, tech-savvy killer is able to drop the mismatched corpse onto the center of the bridge without being recorded. We get a look at his boots, which look an awful lot like the ones being worn by the mysterious, muttonchopped trailer dweller Steven Linder, but it’s much too early to know if he’s our killer or if he’s up to something else with the women he brings across the border and locks in his trailer.

What immediately stood out to me in this episode was the sense of place, and also the clumsy interactions between our two cops, Sonya Cross and Marco Ruiz. Demián Bichir does a marvelous job of portraying Marco’s confusion and exasperation with this strange American, and Diane Kruger absolutely commits to a remote, cold interpretation of Sonya. As I mentioned in the review, I’m not sure I entirely buy someone with her social deficits advancing as far as she has, but the pilot very clearly sets up the paternal attitude that Lt. Hank Wade has for her (him bumping her in the shoulder is clearly something he discovered over the years would get through to her yet seem affectionate), and we see other moments where she’s clearly very good at what she does. In particular, the scene where she’s talking to the reporter as they wait for the bomb to go off demonstrates that Sonya’s off-kilter, almost Vulcan-like demeanor has real value in high-pressure situations, as she’s able to briefly distract him from his impending demise so he can answer her questions.

And, of course, the killer’s message to the cops in the end opens up a huge avenue of possibilities going forward. Given the serial killer glut on TV right now, I have no inherent interest in watching another show about women being stalked, killed and mutilated, but “The Bridge” seems to be using the killings to raise larger, much more interesting questions about the disparity in quality of life from El Paso to Juárez.

I’ll go into more detail in future episodes, but as with most premieres, I’m mostly interested in hearing reaction from the crowd. What did everybody else think? Did you like Bichir? Does Sonya seem believable to you, or like an Asperger’s caricature? Has the mystery and/or the world drawn you in? Did you like the Ryan Bingham theme song? And will you watch again?