(Acorn Media) Out Now
The duo return for Series 2 of the Anglo-french version of The Bridge.
America’s Diane Krugerstarring twist on The Bridge lasted just two seasons, but you hope a happier fate awaits this Anglo-franco variant. Ben Richards’ The Tunnel is a largely exemplary remake-as-reinvention: after Series 1’s Scando-xerox, the show’s head writer confidently forges fresh routes second time round without losing sight of the main event.
Picking up a year on from Series 1’s tragic climax, Sabotage doesn’t muck about. The opening episode involves airplane passengers shored up on a beach, a hairy kidnap in the Channel Tunnel, horrifying gang-rape and a chilling act of remote-control airborne terrorism. And Clémence Poésy’s newly promoted Commander Elise Wassermann doesn’t candycoat her disinterest in babies.
Yet even with escalation thrust upfront, the nuanced emotional/professional pushpull of the friendship between reunited Brit-cop Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane) and Elise remains the main draw. Far from Westeros, Dillane makes likeably laconic work of his jobbing dick, a grounded contrast to the autistic, often brilliant Elise. Poésy’s supple turn, meanwhile, provides scope to enrich Elise; softening her could have seemed clichéd, but the shifts are handled subtly as she breaches new emo-ground.
While atrocities and plot twists mount, this sense of measure holds Sabotage steady. Richards seems to blow his wad early, with opening episodes serving villain reveals and a tense attack on a multi-faith retreat. Stacked themes include Islamophobia, cyber-crime, prejudice, people trafficking – and we’ve hardly even started. Yet when a villainous bluff leads to a thrillingly tense prison-station siege/ breakout, doublecrossings and unexpected consequences follow for all involved. Toy bunny included.
As shock deaths, evil chemists and cheroot smoke thicken the air further, topnotch casting helps preserve conviction and clarity. Guest slots from Clarke Peters ( The Wire), Hannah John-kamen ( Happy Valley) and a toxic Emilia Fox ( Silent Witness) provide classy support for Dillane and Poésy, whose chalk and cheese dynamic is a joy to watch. Between Karl’s home front issues, Elise’s romantic changes and some earthy banter about sausage rolls, the layering of big themes, tense stand-offs and work-a-day dynamics is intelligently focused. True, the climax leaves some plot strands dangling: but that’s all the more reason for another reunion.
“AS SHOCK DEATHS AND EVIL CHEMISTS THICKEN THE AIR, GREAT CASTING PRESERVES CLARITY”
The estate agent had sold them a real lemon.
He was beginning to suspect that this was no ordinary telescope.