This is a slightly pre-emptive post as I had such a strong reaction to the premier to this adaptation of The Bridge. I reserve the right to change my mind if I stick with it, but I will respect the effort enough to not rate it at this time. If another post doesn’t appear after the end of the series, it means I gave up and walked away from the show.
Adapting a foreign show and maintaining the original sense of it, or even improving upon it, is often impossible. It is the alchemy of so many things including the idea, direction, writing, and the talent that makes it come to life. Like most adaptations, the new version is often a mere ghost or an odd variation of the original.
As examples, the US Prime Suspect suffered both from cultural transplant as well as time shift. They tried to keep too much of the original even though so much had changed in the world. The Killing had an interesting transition to US television, and was relatively successful keeping the moody, dark aspects with the transplant. And Enos (World War Z) was an excellent choice for the role, bringing her own approach to the role that felt honest and appropriate for the new location.
The Bridge has attempted to do the same by keeping almost exactly the same script and even some of the camera work. However, they failed with the casting. In the original (which I still highly recommend), Sofia Helin, as the female detective, is played in her 30s, very seasoned, clearly good at her job, and, most importantly, rather far down the Asperger’s scale.
In the American remake, Kruger is coming across far too young and, rather than with a flat affect or lack of social skills, as inept and annoyed. To be fair, it is a challenging role, and her director failed her in the presentation. While Bichir (A Better Life) is actually a rather good choice as her counterpart and well played, the friction and frisson between the two is completely changed. Having seen the original, I am watching the character interplay more than the plot. And in the original, the interplay alone was worth the time. The interplay here is not nearly as intriguing or interesting in this version–though Bichir’s character is being given some additional layers that could become intriguing.
I will watch at least one more episode to see if it was just a rough start, but that initial introduction was so important to the first version, I’m dubious they can course-correct or open a new path. If you can locate a copy of the Danish original, I’d recommend spending your time there instead.