The Bridge – Separated instead of living together

Anyone who thinks about the wall  – to be built on the US border with Mexico – that Donald Trump has promised to his voters  , is not only shocked by the openly flaunted hostility to mankind  , but also he sometimes asks himself why actually build a wall, because it has long existed.

The border between Mexico and the USA is fortified as if serious criminals on one side or the other were serving their prison sentences. The few needle tubes, such as the bridge leading from El Paso to Juárez, are accordingly busy. At night, cars crowd around each other so that they only look like a starry sky of red taillights.

Then  power goes out for  only a short moment and , when it runs again, a dead woman is lying exactly on the border. Marco Ruiz (Damián Bichir) is the first at the scene , but he gladly leaves the case to his US colleague Sonya Cross (Diane Krueger). The dead woman is American, a judge known for her sentences against Mexicans in El Paso. Why should Mexico care about her death? But things get complicated when Sonya realizes that there’s not just one body there, but one more. The first, , a judge s body, the second  one   of a missing girl from Juarez.

Since the 1990s, over 1000 young women have disappeared

It sounds brutal, but now this has less to do with fiction than with real life. In the 1990s, the series of murders of young women in the Mexican border town of Juárez attracted international attention for the first time. Nobody knows exactly how many women have disappeared since then. If you look at the figures in circulation, you soon conclude that there are probably already over 1000. Many of the girls reappear weeks later. But others are kidnapped, tortured, raped and mutilated. There’s a hill out of town where killers keep dumping their bodies. This hill is also shown in “The Bridge”. There, where the mothers of the missing girls, foot by foot, search this hill with their sticks for new dead.

The serial killer in “The Bridge” also uses the situation at the border. He may not care much about his personal plan of revenge, yet he raises questions that are unpleasant for Americans. South of the border, hundreds of girls disappear, and nobody cares. But if an American blonde cheerleader disappeared, all hell would break loose looking for her.

An unequal couple investigates

In the end Marco and Sonya investigate together, as an extremely unequal couple. He’s one of the few cops in Juarez who won’t get bribed, but still knows when to look the other way. Sonya, an ambitious policewoman who has got Asperger’s syndrome, is not only overwhelmed with feelings, but also lacks any understanding of Mexican circumstances. She doesn’t understand why a policeman is for sale, why he works with the bosses. The fact that she herself is not only unable to do the same, but simply doesn’t want to, what she cannot understand, is the glaring headlamp in whose light others must be measured. The figure of the policewoman never acts and judges from the position of moral superiority; she simply does it because it is the right thing to do. And even if she learns throughout history that you can manipulate through interpretation service regulations, she is simply incorruptible.

“The Bridge” interweaves the stories of many people, who ultimately have something to do with the puzzle game, in which for a long time only the killer knows which pieces belong to the puzzle.  There’s Steven Lindner (Thomas M. Wright), a simple man in the best sense of the word who keeps smuggling Mexican women across the border on the run from their violent husbands or friends – and finally falls in love with Eva (Stephanie Sigman), one of the women. Or Charlotte Millwright (Annabeth Gish), who crosses the bridge with her dying husband just when the dead body is found. Shortly afterwards she finds out that her husband’s wealth is only good because his farm is the end of a tunnel through which Mexican smugglers smuggle their victims. Or the tablet addicted journalist Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard), once an acclaimed reporter and now just a wreck with more cynicism than alcohol or pills. For all of them, the bridge across the border is a connection between their demons in both worlds.

On the surface, “The Bridge” may be a typical US thriller series. And yet, in addition to all the action, the blood, the basically quite boring motif of the perpetrator and the legitimate FSK18 stamp, it manages to look behind the scenes again and again.

Today, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez form a metropolitan region under the NAFTA Free Trade Agreement, with one of the best guarded borders in between. Once El Paso was nothing more than the northern part of Juárez, until politicians somewhere else bent over a map and drew a line on it. An arbitrary line on a map that brought life for the people of the North, hope for people of the South: that is why hundreds of them try to cross this line every day. And in between stands a bridge that could unite people, but it still separates them.

DocumentationGraphic Novel