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New series ‘The Bridge’ takes advantage of crime potential on the border

As the immigration debate rages in the House of Representatives, a brand new TV show puts the border issue front and center.

“The Bridge” refers quite literally to a bridge that connects the border towns of El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. It’s called the Bridge of the Americas and serves as a key border crossing.

When a body gets dumped at this crossing, it kicks off a
jurisdictional battle between Mexican and American cops.

Oscar nominee Demian Bichir plays the Mexican detective, Diane Kruger, of “Inglourious Basterds” fame, plays the American, and the two have to learn to work together to investigate what turns out to be a string of murders.

Complicating matters for the detectives, at least some of the deaths look politically motivated. An anti-immigration judge is gruesomely murdered. A group of Mexicans crossing the border illegally is intentionally poisoned. Eerie, deep-voiced death threats challenge journalists, asking why hundreds of Mexican women can be murdered in Juarez with almost no coverage and yet the death of a single American woman is treated like a full-blown tragedy.

“The Bridge” takes full advantage of the crime potential on the border – drug cartels, human trafficking, gun-running, prostitution. It also exploits the natural cultural tensions between the two countries.

The Mexican detective, for instance, has a more casual or world-weary approach to crime-fighting, at least compared to his American colleague.

The American detective’s strictly-by-the-books approach is further accentuated by her Asperger’s. (It reminds me a bit of Claire Danes’ bi-polar character in Homeland.)

“The Bridge” may be a summer series but there’s nothing light or fluffy about it. It’s a dark, sometimes gruesome police drama dealing with serious contemporary issues and set in a place underserved, if not altogether ignored, by most of television.

So far, this certainly feels like a bridge to somewhere. Where exactly remains to be seen.

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