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Series / Bron|Broen

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Bron|Broen (the former title is Swedish and the latter Danish), known in English-speaking markets as The Bridge, is a Nordic Noir thriller co-produced by the national TV companies of Denmark and Sweden. The first series was shown in its native countries in 2011, and in 2012 followed Forbrydelsen onto BBC4 in the UK. A second season aired throughout Scandanavia in 2013 with the third season airing it the region, followed by the UK in 2015. The fourth and intentionally final season was shown in both Europe and the UK in 2018.

The show has had five remakes to date:

  • An American remake premiered in 2013 on FX, with the action taking place on the US/Mexico border. It aired two seasons.
  • UK cable channel Sky Atlantic has produced a remake with Canal in 2013 called The Tunnel, which aired three seasons.
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  • An Estonian-Russian remake set on the border with Estonia (specifically the Friendship Bridge between Narva and Ivangorod) has been ordered by NTV in that country to air in 2017, known as The Bridge in English (Мост in Russian) with one season aired and another coming.
  • A Malaysian-Singapore remake that aired on November 26, 2018 on HBO Asia, NTV7 and online by Viu known as The Bridge. The first victim is placed on the Second Link.
  • An Austrian-German remake aired all the 8-episode series on January 17, 2019 known as Der Pass since the show starts in a mountain pass between Bavaria and Salzburg.

The series begins when a body is discovered on the Øresund bridge that links Copenhagen (Denmark) with Malmö (Sweden), carefully dumped at the exact point where the bridge is divided by the international border. As a result, the two cities' police forces are forced to collaborate on the investigation, led by Saga Norén (Sweden) and Martin Rohde (Denmark). Threatening messages are then received by the police and media, from somebody purporting to have committed the murders to draw attention to social problems.


In the second season, Martin and Saga are reunited when the discovery of a Ghost Ship turns out to be the first in a series of attacks by a group of apparent ecoterrorists.

The third season has Saga joined by a new Danish partner, the secretive insomniac Henrik Sabroe, as they try to track down a Serial Killer seemingly motivated by homophobia who targets both Danish and Swedish LGBT activists and is strangely poetic about their murders.

The fourth season reunites Saga and Henrik when a pro-immigrant activist is stoned to death under the bridge, in what initially looks like a politically-motivated killing but then turns out to have far more personal motivations.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Anja's mother refuses to her respond to her daughter's attempts to get her attention at all, except to slap her in the face when she brings her home after Anja was arrested for shoplifting.
    • Saga's mother, who poisoned both her daughters and when the youngest was Driven to Suicide, she blamed it on Saga and tries to frame her for murder twenty years later.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Laura in Season Two, who throws a tantrum because her teacher gave her a lower score than she wanted and begins blackmailing said teacher. Said teacher is also her lover.
  • Accidental Murder: Christoffer is trying to fend off his abusive father Dan by pointing a rifle at him, when he trips and accidentally shoots Dan in the throat.
  • Action Girl: Saga. Two eco-terrorists with guns? Deranged serial killer with a hostage? Doesn't matter. In hand-to-hand combat, Saga will take them out.
  • Aerith and Bob: "Saga" is an archaic, classically Nordic name, whereas her sister is named "Jennifer", an English (Cornish) name that seems a little mismatched. Downplayed to the Swedish perspective — Jennifer is a perfectly common name in Sweden and has been so for quite some time, while Saga just sounds a bit old-fashioned.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Henrik starts referring to Saga as "Wiki" because she knows everything, much to Saga's chargrin.
  • A Father to His Men: Hans, especially to Saga. Later, Linn tries to be, but her incomprehension of Saga allows Saga's evil mother to manipulate her into well-intentionally helping her to start abusing Saga again.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • While in season 1 his defeat is portrayed as rather satisfying, Jens has this in season 2 when he is constantly put into test by his archenemy Martin if he still has a human side to him. It turns out he does, and eventually he breaks down in tears only a day before his eventual death. His eventual Heel Realization and how he clearly misses his old life add alot of sympathy.
    • In season 3 the Big Bad, Emil Larsson gets a pretty tragic exit when he constantly complains about how he never should have been born to begin with and eventually he commits suicide.
  • Alpha Bitch: Viktoria Nordgren.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Saga.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Several times.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • Saga. The actor and writers have said that she probably is autistic/Asperger in some way, but that they didn't explicitly state it to keep their freedom of writing without offending/misleading people. This said, she has been praised as a plausible portrayal and role model for some on the autistic spectrum.
      • There is also a decent chance she has Tourette's, given all her involuntary twitching.
    • Emil Larsson seems to be schizoid, depressed, and sociopathic all at once.
    • Elsa, the woman Saga involuntarily befriends in prison. She doesn't seem like a jaded convict type, but she clearly wasn't insane enough to be committed to a mental hospital.
      Saga: Did she say they would do that?
      Elsa: No. (beat) She said "we", but that becomes "they" when I tell it.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Saga makes one to Henrik. She starts it by explaining how serotonin works.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Though it doesn't focus exclusively on animal rights, it is the first Red Herring of season two.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety:
    • In Season One, Episode Four, where Saga and Martin are searching for the homeless man Bjorn, and the bridge killer, believing him to be in the building. Saga is armed, Martin isn't, since he's a Danish cop and does not have the necessary permit to carry in Sweden, as Saga tells him. She tries to assure him by saying that she's a good shot. Mere seconds later, the two are moving through quite dark and narrow corridors, but it's Martin who walks in front, with Saga following behind, so that he's in her potential line of fire all the time. Not only that, but she doesn't even lower, or raise, her gun, keeping it aimed forward, with Martin's back occasionally being right in front of the muzzle. Needless to say, this is not something that anybody should do, much less a trained police officer who's supposedly good at shooting.
    • In the first season, a suspect named Jesper Anderson retrieves a loaded gun from a public toilet and stuffs it in his pants.
    • Zig-Zagged in season two, when in trying to get Laura to relive a recent trauma, Saga takes out her gun and points it at her. While Saga keeps her finger off the trigger and the firearm was probably secured, she was still pointing a loaded gun at a traumatized shooting victim.
    • In the third season, Lukas forces Marc to play Russian Roulette with a blank cartridge. When the cartridge goes off, Marc is terrified but unharmed. In reality, this has killed people, the most notable case being actor/model Jon-Erik Hexum, who died doing exactly what happens in the show.
    • In season three, when Saga's boss informs her that she will be investigated for her mother's death, and that she is suspended, she lets her keep her gun.
  • Asshole Victim: Quite a few in Season One, which actually earns the killer an online following.
    • Bjørn is an asshole, but tries so hard not to be a victim, you kinda end up rooting for him.
    • Soren is killed early on in Season One, but there's no pitying him when he's abusive to his wife and kids.
    • In Season Three, one of the victims is a teacher who molested his students. He is found missing his penis.
    • Lukas is violently gunned down in the street, but he really had it coming.
  • As You Know: Frequently subverted. Because of Saga's Ambiguous Disorder (and sometimes just unwillingness to share information), she often explains proper police procedure to other police.
  • Ate His Gun: In the fourth season, gay Iranian asylum seeker and brief suspect Taariq Shirazi shoots himself through the mouth when Saga is forced to confirm that he doesn't have any hope of escaping deportation.
  • The Atoner:
    • Daniel Ferbé becomes a weird mix of this and Nietzsche Wannabe after his overdose.
    • It's established at the end of the series that Saga herself has filled her life with police work to atone for her obliviousness regarding any forewarnings about her sister's suicide, giving up her studies of microbiology in favor of the police academy. Her therapy helps her to let go of the guilt and begin to seek other life than police work.
  • Badass Boast: Saga doesn't mean hers as anything but a matter of course. When offered a bodyguard because she might become a killers next target, she replies that if they want to kill her up-close she can handle it herself, and if they want to shoot her from a distance a bodyguard won't be any help, thus politely declining.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In season three, Hans is kidnapped and the police recieve a video of him with the day's newspaper strapped to him. Henrik asks for a zoom-in, but not on the date of the newspaper: he recognizes the coffee ring from a newpaper he saw in the kitchen of a suspect they questioned earlier.
  • Batman Gambit: In season four, the killer injects William's daughter Leonora with an unknown substance, which makes her unconscious. Then the killer contacts William and tells him that the girl will die without an antidote. The killer is however willing to sell it. The transaction takes place and William rushes to the hospital. Meanwhile, a doctor has found out that Leonora was not poisoned, only sedated by strong painkillers. Before she could give the information however, William barges in her daughter's room and injects her with the antidote. She begins to convulse and dies soon after. The antidote was in reality a potent neurotoxin used in executions. The killer knew that Leonora was William's whole world, and contrived the murder so that William would be the one giving the lethal injection.
  • Berserk Button: Oliver Nordgren keeps his rage to himself, unless you have sex with his sister where he can see it on his spycams.
  • Best Served Cold: The motivations of the killers from three of the four seasons.
  • Big Bad: One for every season.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: Season 1 has shades of this as Saga and Martin figure out that the Big Bad has to be a police officer, or is at least posing as one with an unusual grip on procedure. They're right. Sebastian was a cop.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Niklas in Season Two, who threatens Linus' bullies at knifepoint and tells them they're going to start being nice to his brother, or else. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop him from doing 'one last job' with the Eco-terrorists, which ends in him being gassed to death and leaves Linus all alone.
    • Stefan for his sister Sonja, whom he has been searching for for years.
    • August behaves like an Aloof Big Brother to his half-siblings, but he's horrified when the killer kidnaps Mette and the kids, partially thanks to information he unwittingly provided.
    • Julia looks after her younger sister Ida in the rootless life of street urchins they've chosen for themselves.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the fourth season finale, Saga has a huge moment, when Kevin/Brian is about to murder Astrid right in front of Henrik. Henrik closes his eyes and hears a shot... when he opens them, he finds that Saga has shot Brian through the head from the doorway.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Discussed, hilariously, when a gigolo is murdered and Saga finds his size surprising.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: All the dialogue is in either Danish or Swedish depending on who's talking, as the languages are mutually intelligible to an extent. In the very first episode, Martin asks his Swedish counterparts if they can understand his Danish, and when they appear to be straining to comprehend somewhat, he realises he’s going too fast and slows down a little — which does the trick, and it’s never really brought up again. Incidentally, in Denmark, the name “Saga” is pronounced as "Sega", but as “Sah-ga” when in her native Sweden, while she introduces Martin as "Röhde (sounds like “Rurd”) rather than "Rohde" (sounds like “Road”).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Seasons 1 and 2 both have these, if they don't qualify as outright Downer Endings:
    • Season 1: Jens has been captured, but August is dead and Martin's wife is leaving him. Not to mention that dozens of people have died gruesomely along the way.
    • Season 2: The eco-terrorist conspiracy has been foiled, but the unknown mastermind of that conspiracy is still at large, Saga's boyfriend has left her, Martin's wife has left him (again), Pernille is dead, and because of the last two events, Martin finally crosses the Despair Event Horizon and possibly murders Jens, completing Jens's master plan from the first season finale. Saga finds out and is forced to report Martin, leading to his arrest. Not to mention that dozens of people have died gruesomely along the way.
    • Season 3 ends on a slightly more upbeat note, but still qualifies: Saga and Henrik have caught Emil and saved Freddie and the baby, but they're both off the force, and Saga may be facing prosecution for (allegedly) murdering her mother. Saga herself is convinced she'd be convicted, given that she had motive, no alibi, and the technical evidence points to her. Not to mention that dozens of people have died gruesomely along the way.
    • Season 4 ends with Henrik getting one of his two daughters back, although he finds that she still cares about her abductor, who killed Henrik's wife by accident and Henrik's other daughter through medical negligence. Henrik's AA sponsor tries to kill the remaining daughter to complete his revenge and ends up getting shot in the head right in front of the girl. Saga quits the police, having solved her sister's suicide, which she has realized was the reason she became a detective in the first place, symbolically throwing her badge from the eponymous bridge.
  • Brand X: The lipstick used on victims in season three is of the brand Feli City, which is not a real makeup brand.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Laura mellows out considerably in Season Two after several attempts on her life.
    • Lise in Season Three seems wholly uncaring that two people she ranted about on her vlog were murdered and claims it's not her fault, but having her young daughter held at gunpoint by her seventeen-year-old cleaner who was violently in love with her and murdered the priest to get her attention seems to do away with her callous attitude.
    • Saga too.
  • British Brevity: Each season consists of ten episodes, until the fourth season which only has eight.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Oliver Nordengren is an Abhorrent Admirer of his attractive sister Viktoria, and has cameras planted throughout her house. He is less than pleased when he sees her making love with a woman.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Zig-zagged by Saga, who uses this to shoot down both optimism ("we can't promise that we will find your missing daughter as there's a good chance she is dead") and pessimism ("I can't say we're going to find your son, you can't say we're not going to find him").
    • Freddie tells Jeanette that she will always be Marc's second priority. She doesn't want to hear it.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Saga, who is very odd and has No Social Skills whatsoever, but she gets the job done and everyone she works with knows it.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Saga takes her duties very seriously. After finding a store camera that could have useful evidence on it, she gets the camera's memory card - and then mentions that the store-owner doesn't actually have permission for the camera.
    Saga: "That's why they're called rules. If you didn't have to follow them, they would be called recommendations."
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Saga is frequently noted as being a terrible liar, which she is trying to improve. Naturally, this becomes vitally important in the finale.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In season four there's an entire subplot revolving around finding out whether Saga and Jennifer's mother really had Münchausen by proxy. However, in season two it was established that her condition was discovered when Jennifer was ten, by authorities as it is in a police file.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Subverted with Saga, who takes it, but doesn't know what to do with it. Even when Linn tells her upfront that a lot of people perceive her as unpleasant, she can only reply that she is unable to do anything about that.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Saga quite often considers this necessary.
      Martin: Anja was caught on tape eight hours ago.
      Saga: Sure, everyone is alive eight hours before they die.
    • Henrik is occasionally forced into this role by Saga's literalism, as he lampshades when she forces him to explain that he doesn't think a four-year-old shot two people in two different countries in the last 24 hours.
  • The Care Taker: Stefan, towards his sister, Sonja. He spent a lot of time trying find her and after she almost dies due to the serial killer, he plans to take care of her for as long as she needs him. Unfortunately he gets arrested (for an unrelated murder) before she gets out of hospital and she's left alone again.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Saga's: "Saga Norén, länskrim Malmö."
    • Henrik's roughly translates to "for fuck's sake, man!"
      Henrik: Men for helvede, mand!
  • Cat Fight: Saga gets into one in season 4 while in prison.
  • Character Tics: When someone (usually Martin) corrects one of Saga's Innocently Insensitive moments, she frowns and cocks her head.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Martin has sex with Charlotte early in Season 1. Mette finds out when he drops his wallet there, and this causes their marital problems throughout the series. But Martin's adultery also comes back in a big way at the end of Season 1, when it's revealed to be the Big Bad's entire motivation.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Plenty throughout the series, such as the frog emblem in Season Two and the serial number found on Morten's fridge in Season Three, which is vitally important for the climax.
    • In Season Three, Saga is talking to her friend from the mortuary who is currently examining a female skeleton that had been buried in concrete when Saga interrupts him to talk about the case. Later on, it turns out that it's Alice - Henrik's missing wife.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Stefan, Charlotte and August, among others. The writers often introduce new characters early, and we get to follow their daily lives for an episode or two before it's revealed how they relate to the case.
  • Childhater: Saga comes off as this for consistently not wanting any children, and thinking a lot of people who do have children shouldn't. As Characterization Marches On, we learn that it's in part because she doesn't understand them, and in part because she doesn't think she's equipped to take care of them.
    • In the first episode, a journalist tells his colleague that has no kids to suck the life out of him, which is why he can work nights.
    • When Saga remarks that the only difference between the Truth Terrorist killing homeless people and him threatening to kill five young children is that he killed far more than five homeless people, and that she feels more sorry for the victims who knew they were going to die than for children who are utterly clueless about their impending doom, Martin concludes that she has nothing in the way of maternal instinct.
    • In season two, Saga explains to Anna-Dea that she doesn't like children just because they're children, like Anna-Dea has professed to do herself. One of Martin's kids is in the room and asks if she likes him, and Saga tells him she doesn't know him well enough to say.
  • Chocolate Baby: In season four Saga remarks that a baby with brown eyes cannot be the biological offspring of the man who thinks he's the father, since both he and the mother have blue eyes.
  • City Noir: Almost every scene is based in either bland, modern, city buildings or dull, workaday, rural or suburban areas. According to Word of God, the series deliberately avoided any picturesque or famous locations. Apart from the titular structure, and unavoidably the Politigård building in Copenhagen; both more impressive than picturesque.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Linus is taken in for questioning, and while he goes to buy a soda a tv happens to be on that just then broadcasts news of his brother's death, which he had yet to learn of.
  • Continuity Nod: In season four, Saga knocks over a cup full of paperclips, and picking them up makes her flash back to when she semi-assisted in Emil's suicide in the last episode of the previous season.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Åsa is seconds away from getting kidnapped when the killer receives photos proving that her pregnant belly is just a prosthetic, causing the kidnapper to abandon their mission as it was the baby they were after.
    • Just when Henrik needs Lucas to lose his photos of Henrik buying illegal drugs, Lucas gets killed in a drive-by, and Henrik steals the phone.
    • Marc just happens to steal an ipad belonging to the very person who is looking to kidnap his pregnant girlfriend, just as the police figures out they can send a tracking virus to his device.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Sebastian Sandstrod, the Truth Terrorist kind of gives off this vibe when he meets Mette for the first time, so it is possible he went on to get a job like that after he faked his own suicide. It would also explain how he is able to afford everything.
    • Getrud, the Big Bad of season 2 is a scientist for a huge medical company and a mass-murdering ecoterrorist.
    • Oliver, The Heavy of season 2 is a highly educated IT-guy who cooperates with the ecoterrorists for his own agenda.
    • Freddie Holst is a downplayed example. While he's a smug man who seems to think that he can control whoever he wants, he isn't necessarily corrupt and, while his job is largely unsavory, it's not malicious nor criminal. He even drops this personality later on when Emil is defeated and his newborn son is rescued.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Sonja, though her life was pretty terrible even before she became homeless.
  • Creepy Dollhouse: Season 3 has a creepy dollhouse. Shown in episode 8, it depicted all the gruesome murders that happened up to that point in the season, and shows a new room being set up and staged.
  • Criminal Mind Games
  • Crusading Widower: Susanne/Stephanie lost her partner Tommy, who was a Danish petty criminal and a police mole, because his employer got wind of his treachery. A couple of years later, she (along with Tommy's son Kevin/Brian) take revenge by killing the loved ones of the people who could've saved Tommy, rationalising that a death of someone close to you stays with you for the rest of your life.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the second season when two of the second group of animal masks force their way into Saga's hotel room with guns, and she overpowers them in seconds. Since this was across two episodes and since the curb-stomp was so extreme, could count as a Cliffhanger Copout.
  • Cut Apart: Used in the third season when the SWAT team raid Aleks's house looking for Petersson, but Aleks and Petersson are in a different building, and the killer shoots Aleks and re-kidnaps Petersson.
  • Dead All Along: Henrik's wife, whose body is found, and possibly his two daughters. Not quite a straight example, as they've only been missing for several years, and may or may not still be alive.
    • The older daughter, Astrid, is still alive, raised by Frank (a social worker Henrik's wife used to see) in a secluded village. He apparently killed Alice in a fit of rage, and the younger daughter Anna died of appendicitis because Frank hesitated to take her to hospital. Frank told the girls that their parents died in a plane accident.
  • Deadly Gas: Used to kill Ferbé in the first season, and the first group of terrorists in the second season, and a horse in season four.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In the third season, Hanne is introduced as Saga's new Danish partner, but is seriously injured by a bomb at the end of the first episode, and replaced by Henrik.
  • Defective Detective: An Odd Couple of them; a By-the-Book Cop Swede with No Social Skills and a laid-back Dane who Really Gets Around. Series 3 turns it up to eleven with a new insomniac, pill-popping Danish partner with a tragic backstory who continues to interact with his wife and children, even though they've been missing for years.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Even a year after the events of the first season, Martin cannot get over the profoundly negative impact Jens has left on his life. He finally falls into the Horizon when his wife tells him their marriage can't be salvaged, leading him to kill Jens and go to jail. Ironically, it was probably Martins' infidelity that caused her to come to this conclusion.
    • In Season Three, Saga herself nearly crosses it and jumps in front of a train (right where her sister did) after her Trauma Conga Line, but she ultimately doesn't go through with it.
  • The Determinator: Saga.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: In the third season, the killer turns out to be an unassuming art gallery employee who had previously played a relatively unimportant part in the plot.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: If Saga wants to have sex with someone, she doesn't beat around the bush. No pun intended.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In the second season finale, Pernille, a Danish policewoman who Martin was attracted to, shoots herself rather than die slowly and painfully from The Plague she was exposed to.
    • Jennifer Noreen, Saga's sister, years before the first season begins.
    • Saga, nearly, in the third season, due to Hans's death, Henrik turning out to be a drug addict, her realisation that she accidentally gave Emil the weapon he used to kill himself, and the fact that she might be prosecuted for the murder of her mother.
    • Benjamin after the woman he had an affair with states on national television that sleeping with him was a mistake.
    • Taariq, after he realizes he will face a prison sentence and after that would be deported to Iran where a certain death would await him (possibly due his homosexuality).
  • Dysfunction Junction: All the significant characters are so screwed up that you'll start thinking the killer has a point.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first few episodes, when Sofia Helin didn't have her "autistic" thing down yet, Saga sometimes gives blank smiles. She stops after three or four episodes, so it's not a part of the character.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The fourth season has the happiest ending in the series. Henrik finds one of his daughters alive and well, and even though things are a bit weird between them (since she was raised by another man for eight years), Astrid acknowledges that Henrik is her real father. Saga finally finds evidence that her mom had Münchhausen by proxy and that she made her sister Jennifer ill by giving her unnecessary medication. In therapy Saga realizes that she was not to blame for Jennifer's fate and that she became a police officer only because of her feelings of guilt. In the end, she makes peace with her past, resigns from the police force (and throws her badge down the titular bridge) and starts her life anew. Not to mention that slightly less people have died gruesomely along the way, the killer(s?) also bothering animals and the predeceased.
  • Enhance Button: Averted in the second season, when John explains to Saga that an image of a suspect on a CCTV shot can't be made any better by zooming in.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: William Ramberg is a ruthless crime lord, who's not above of cold-blooded murder. His soft spot however is his daughter Leonora, who is hospitalized by an unknown disease.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In the fourth season, after Taariq Shirazi shoots himself, there's a point where the characters, and the audience, are visibly bracing themselves for the thoroughly bigoted Jonas to make some kind of racist/homophobic joke about it, but he refrains.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Bjørn tries to communicate his location to viewers of the video feed by blinking out messages in Morse code. This, however, is justified: The police only realize that Bjørn is using Morse because he was in the merchant navy, where he would have learned and used it.
  • Evil Counterpart: Frank in season four to Stefan in season one. Both are social workers who go to unprofessional and illegal extremes in order to rescue women from unhappy relationships. However, Stefan is genuinely well-intentioned, while Frank is an abusive control freak who's looking for vulnerable people to prey on himself.
  • Evil Matriarch: Saga's mother, who abused her sister and, after Saga's father's death, manipulated Saga's new boss into distrusting her, and finally killed herself and framed Saga for it.
  • Exact Words: Saga, who Cannot Tell a Lie, tries to reassure Martin by telling him that "we found August", and that he's being taken to the hospital. After she repeats that exact wording a couple of times, the killer points out that she's not saying they found him alive...
  • External Combustion
  • Et Tu, Brute?: In the climax of Season Two, though he never gets a chance to say anything to her, this is Martin's reaction to Saga turning him in.
  • Faking the Dead: Jens, who went through all the trouble of finding a man with his body type and blew his head off to fake his own suicide.
    • Lennart Blomgren
  • Fanboy: August is one for Saga, which leads to a few humorously awkward moments.
  • Fan Disservice: This being a Scandinavian show, there's a lot of casual nudity (especially involving Saga, Stefan and Sonja), but the style of the shots is so clinical and the events sometimes so disturbing that it's rarely erotic.
  • Fake Static: When Claes's secretary calls him to tell him the police have been asking for him, he pretends he can't hear her and tells her "in case she can hear him" that he'll call her back later.
  • Fallen Hero: Martin, when he kills Jens at the end of the second season.
  • Fatal Flaw: Let's just say Martin's infidelity has serious consequences.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Subverted with Saga, who seem uninterested in gender roles beyond their forensic application, and cooks by heating food in the microwave.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Saga references these when she describes herself as "between shock and denial" with regards to Hans.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Freddie gives Marc a handout of several thousand kroner in order to convince him keep a low profile and keep his distance to Jeanette. Marc proceeds to gamble all of them away the very next night during a poker game.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Saga chats with Martin's nanny, the girl makes it sound like she thinks she's perfect just because she does her job.
    • The time-out room. Saga tells Henrik that the idea behind it is that children don't perceive time-out as a punishment, but as a natural consequence.
      Saga: They are wrong.
    • Jonas telling Saga he'd rather follow Hanne's example when it comes to smalltalk seeing as Martin is in prison.
  • Friend to All Children: Played straight with Henrik. Subverted with Saga, who seems to think they are little adults. At one point she gives a book on how to overcome PTSD to an eight-year-old.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:
    • Martin tries to excuse his recent infidelity as him being insecure about his masculinity. His wife points out that he knocked her up just before getting a vasectomy and kicks him out.
    • Oliver's wife/widow tells her sister-in-law that the fact that she never showed her brother any kindness is no excuse for him to try to kill her.
  • Functional Addict: Henrik takes pills for insomnia, then takes stimulants to counteract the strong sleep aids and get through the day (or pull an all-nighter). He does not get high, and it does not affect his professional performance negatively. However, his illegally obtaining the stimulants opens him up to blackmail; he can't quit without going through withdrawal; and eventually he overdoses.
  • Genius Book Club: Saga reads pretty heavy stuff, such as disertation-titled works on neurology and don't you dare lose her place in Laws of Sweden.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted in the fourth season when Saga accidentally gets pregnant by Henrik. She first intends to get an abortion due to knowing she is not equipped to handle a child, then offers to have the baby and let Henrik keep it when she sees how desperate he is for a child. Then she ends up having the abortion anyway due to disastrously misinterpreting advice from her therapist and Lilian, because when he wants to deepen their relationship she thinks that it's unconnected to the pregnancy and she can treat it as an either/or thing.
  • Grave Robbing: In the fourth season, the head of Hans Petterson is stolen from the coffin and hidden in a bouquet sent to his wife Lillian because Hans is still grieved by Lillian, who's one of the targets of the Revenge by Proxy scheme conducted by Susanne/Stephanie and Kevin/Brian. The robbers use a mini-digger rather than the traditional wooden shovel.
  • Groin Attack: The killer kicking Rohde in the balls, possibly because he knows that Rohde just had a vasectomy.
  • Hand of Death: The first season likes depicting the killer as a pair of gloved hands driving a car to the next crime scene.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Jens attempts several of these when Martin visits his jail cell.
  • Hates Being Touched: Despite enjoying sex with men, Saga does not want them to touch her, as she informs Henrik before having sex with him.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: August.
  • Heel Face Doorslam: Daniel finally does something that's not selfish and realizes that it felt good; almost immediately afterward, he's murdered as punishment for a past misdeed.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Saga, with her leather pants and coat.
  • Hero's Classic Car: Saga's early-model Porsche 911. In the fourth season the manner how she got the car is revealed. Her classmate in police academy bet his car that Saga will never graduate.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: In the third season, Lise the right-wing vlogger, and apparently the killer as well, but it's later subverted.
  • History Repeats: Both Saga's male Danish temporary partners have an estranged child who they reunite with, only for a vengeful former friend of theirs to try killing the child in question.
  • Hollywood Autism. Thoroughly subverted. The series garnered praise in many areas, but probably no other aspect was more consistently lauded than in how Saga is portrayed. Though clearly "on the spectrum" in some respect, the writers/runners of the show steadfastly refused to give a label to her condition (or even to treat her as necessarily having "a condition", either inside or outside the show's narrative. Nor is she a one dimensional 'savant' stereotype whose social issues are played primarily for laughs. Instead she is a well realized character who, while outwardly cold seeming to those who don't understand her, is at her core a deeply ethical and caring person who simply struggles daily to understand the needs of those around her and to express her own.
  • Hollywood Acid: Technically, lye is a base, but two season two bodies get put in it anyway.
  • Hope Spot: Saif and his father decide not to kill Henning and to let him go. Then the killer turns up in a police uniform and guns him down. Later when it's falsely implied that August survived.
    • In Season Three, Hans is kidnapped and is missing his hand, but Saga and Henrik find him alive. He never wakes up from his coma, sadly.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Yes, Mette, just follow a stranger you barely know to the middle of nowhere with your kids because he has a "surprise" for you. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?? And she doesn't learn her lesson, either - in Season Two, Saga's the one who reveals their nanny has Munchausen by Proxy and is responsible for their son's mysterious sickness.
  • I Can Still Fight!: Saga in the final episode, continuing to try to save August and Martin after being shot twice by the killer and minimally treated in hospital.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Saga's reason for turning Martin in when he poisons Jens, but later it's made clear she misses him.
  • Idiot Ball: Göran doesn't seem to grasp that when doctors say to take it easy after a heart transplant, they don't mean "broach the subject of divorce with your wife".
  • I Have No Son!: The last we see of Jeanette is like this. Turns out to be a major plot point.
  • I Have Your Wife: And children.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Stefan has these. And so does Jens, the real killer.
  • Imaginary Friend: In the third season, Henrik's wife and children are imaginary.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Saga manages to shoot Jens's bomb vest off him.
    • The season three killer always shoots people with three bullets in a triangle pattern on their chest.
  • Improbably Cool Car: Saga's car. Lampshaded by Martin, who jokingly asks whether Swedish cops are well-paid. Saga doesn't get it.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Would you get into your car if the interior was festooned with wires? Daniel the jerkass journalist does. Actually a cruel joke.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Unexpectedly played straight with the school bus hijack, and later Martin's younger children. In series 3, Freddie Holst's newborn.
  • Innocently Insensitive: In line with her Ambiguous Disorder, Saga does this very often, especially when dealing with people who have just lost loved ones. This becomes a minor plot point in the third season.
    Martin: Next time you ask someone if their daughter made porn, try being a little more gentle.
    Saga: I doubt there'll be a next time.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The killer wants to draw attention to the plight of the vulnerable in society, by murdering them in incredibly cruel and gruesome ways.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • In the second season: It's a ship, not a boat, and Saga will never let you forget it. And, it's not a toad, it's a frog. Also, as she tells Linn, when the blog is in video format it's called a vlog.
    • Saga always, always introduces herself as "Saga Norén, Malmö municipal police" — even in casual conversations. A typical interview will start like this:
      Henrik: Hello, I'm Henrik Saboe, København Politi... And this is my colleague, Saga Norén.
      Saga: [irritated look] Länskrim Malmö.
      • Played with, for poignant contrast in the the very last scene of the series: after Saga throws her police badge over the side of the titular bridge, indicating, along with her conversation with Henrik in the penultimate scene, that she has freed herself from the guilt that has defined her for so long and is moving on from police work to restart her life on her own terms, she gets back in her car and, when her phone rings, she answers simply as "Saga Norén".
    • A slightly darker example in Season three, the killer insists he wasn't "punishing" the people he killed, he was "correcting" them.
    • Saga insists she's not "strange", she is "different".
    • In Season Four, the brusque Jonas Mandrup insists on referring to Taariq Shirazi - who is dodging deportation to his native Iran, where he would be executed - as "the fag", possibly because it annoys both Henrik and Lillian. He agrees to drop the habit once Taariq has killed himself.
    • In series 4, Saga always corrects Henrik when he says Kevin, which is the name Henrik first knew him as, instead of Brian, even though doing so clearly irritates Henrik.
  • Internal Affairs: They get involved in season three.
  • Insult Backfire: Subverted. August wasn't trying to insult Saga when he called her a "milf", but she doesn't think it applies since she doesn't have children.
  • Internal Affairs: Saga ends up being investigated by Internal Affairs in the third season on suspicion that she murdered her own mother.
  • I Regret Nothing: Jens, who says he'd do it again.
  • Ironic Echo: Subverted, since we never hear Emil's foster parents tell him that they are not punishing him, they're correcting a mistake by putting him in time-out in the basement for hours. Saga just implies it when she explains the practice to Henrik while investigating said basement. Emil echoes it when he explains to his biological father why he's killing him.
  • Irony: Freddie Holst donated sperm to a sperm bank in his youth. Thirty years later, when he wants to have a child with his wife, she is sterile and they have to get a surrogate.
  • It's All About Me: Åsa expresses genuine surprise that the police would expect her to care about murders that don't affect herself or anyone she knows. In a case of dramatic irony, it turns out the killer is out to hurt her husband specifically.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Martin thinks like this about Mikaela's death, claiming their brief affair indirectly caused her and her son's death because, as he says, if there hadn't been any affair to tell her husband about then she couldn't have told him. Saga tells him he can't think like that, comparing it to thinking that if there hadn't been a bridge across the sound there would have been nothing for her to drive off of.
    • Linus thinks this way about his brother's death. Saga confirms that they were able to locate the terrorist group because they traced Linus's phone call to him, and he thinks that's why they killed themselves. When Saga finds out they didn't kill themselves, but were murdered, she relays this information to the boy and tells him not to blame himself, as his phone call made no difference to the result.
  • It's Personal: In season one, Martin discovers that Jens wants revenge against him, for sleeping with his wife just before she died. He takes his wife and kids, and his teenage son, hostage.
    • In the third season, Saga nearly lets Emil die because he killed Hans. Then she "accidentally" leaves him an item that he uses to kill himself. It might have been a freudian thing.
    • In Season Two, the usually rule-abiding Saga breaks into Martin's house because she knows his nanny has Munchausen by Proxy and, after figuring out August's location too late to save him, she won't allow another of Martin's children to get hurt.
    • Season four, the killers' motivation turns out to be the death of a loved one which they blame specific members of the Danish police for.
  • Jack the Ripoff:
    • In the second season, the second group of animal-masked terrorists turn out to be a much less dangerous group of animal liberationists who are just imitating the first group with no true connection.
    • In the third season, the second murder turns out to be a copycat killing.
  • Jerkass: Jonas, even though he is a competent policeman, is prone to making insensitive remarks about and to suspects (to a point that one homosexual man wanted for questioning refuses to talk to him), is hinted to be cheating his wife and is leaking information about the current murder investigation to media.
  • Jerk With A Heartof Gold: August comes off as kind of aloof and a typical rebellious teen, but he's not a bad guy and is usually given babysitting duties of his half-siblings, and he tries to work on his strained relationship with his dad. Which is exactly what the killer wanted.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Charlotte paying the entire ransom just to spite her dead husband and spend her stepdaughter's money
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Part of the initial hype for the show, and possibly hoped for by the killer. But actually the two police forces work together pretty well, barring some arguments over who gets to carry a gun (initially humorous but later played more seriously).
  • Karma Houdini: The mastermind in Season Two kills Gertrud and leaves, we never hear from them again.
    • Freddie Holst is a borderline case: while he and his son survive, he has likely been severely traumatized by the ordeal.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Saga complains about being asked to keep Martin' secret that he's the guy who had an affair with Jens' wife.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Ferbé's introductory scene, where he viciously mocks a sad-sack colleague for his unhipness and taste in music, makes him appear so unpleasant that the unspeakably horrible things that happen to him immediately afterwards seem karmic and comical.
    • The finale of Season Two has Gertrud coldly gunned down by her boss, which is immensely satisfying after what she had planned.
  • Kill the Cutie: The fate of Anja, Benjamin and Leonora.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: The very final minutes of the third series, as Saga and Henrik set out on their unofficial investigation of the murder of Henrik's wife, use the theme music as incidental music leading into the end credits. Notably, this includes portions of "Hollow Talk" that were cut from the opening and closing credits edit. The same thing happens in the final moments of the fourth season.
  • Lazy Alias: The masterminds of season two use typical chatnames like "motherofthree". The person in question is a man and has no children, so clearly he was hoping this alias would throw the police off track.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The reason for Anja's death - she accidentally saw the killer leaving the building of a subordinate and the police were looking for her. So she had to go.
    • Also the reason for a wild ride in a car boot in season four, whilst it is peppered with gunshots and hits a parked Volvo.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Following a conversation with Martin about how sometimes, it's better to lie than tell a harsh truth, Anja asks Saga from her hospital bed if she's going to die. Saga tells her no.
  • Limited Wardrobe: We hope that Saga has several identical pairs of black leather trousers. If not, she probably isn't very pleasant to be around.
  • Literal-Minded: Saga's understanding of smalltalk is that it is merely informative.
    • However, she subverts this when Martin and Mette's nanny, Anna-Dea, reminds her that Martin said they couldn't do without her, and Saga points out that Martin didn't mean Anna-Dea personally, but her services.
    • Defied in a season two scene where Martin clarifies that he didn't mean that that the criminals they are looking for are literally invisible, and Saga clarifies that she didn't either, she meant that they leave no trace, which is what Martin meant.
  • The Load: Marc, Jeanette's boyfriend, is a selfish idiot and a gambling addict who has repeatedly gambled away all their money and ends up being held at gunpoint at one point. Does that stop him? Nope!
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
  • Loose Lips: Åsa makes a very big mistake in confiding in Claes and telling him she's been faking her pregnancy. He tells the papers and brings a huge scandal to Åsa and Freddie out of revenge.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: In the third season, Jeanette refuses to leave her boyfriend even though he repeatedly gambles away their money, loses their house and almost gets shot by the guy they owe money to.
  • Lucky Charms Title: The pipe symbol is used to separate the Swedish and Danish titles. In later seasons, multiple pipes are used to indicate the sequel number.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Emil's revelation of this is delivered holding a gun to his newborn baby brother's head.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Jens
  • Mailer Daemon: August and the killer, who is pretending to be a (real) female friend of his.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Saga is fond of these, in line with her Ambiguous Disorder. (See above.)
  • Meaningful Name: Saga is a relatively unusual Swedish name and means "seeing one" in Old Norse — appropriate for someone with her level of crime-solving intuition.
    • Incidentally, as can be heard in-series, the name is pronounced as "Sah-ga" (rhymes with "Prada") in Swedish, but "Say-ga" (as in Sega) in Danish.
    • "Saga" is the Swedish word for "fairy-tale". It is also a slightly archaic pan-Nordic word for "tale, story".
    • The most famous Swede with Saga's last name is Lars Norén, a Swedish playwright, known for dark drama full of angst. Martin lampshades this in the first episode, when he asks whether there is any relation. According to Saga there isn't.
  • Subverted in season 3, where there is a character named Bror, meaning "brother", which is at most a Red Herring for the viewers. The characters never bring it up, no matter how much Morten Anker talks about his unnamed brother.
  • The Millstone: Cowboy Cop Wannabe Rasmus, in both Seasons he appears. In Season Two, he gets attacked by two suspects and then tampers with the report given by an eyewitness outing him, slowing down the investigation and the suspects are later killed before the police can question them. He also effectively kidnaps a suspect across state lines, meaning he can only be let off with a warning.
    • In Season Three, he manages to track the killer and his latest victim, but instead of staying put and waiting for backup as ordered, he tries to confront them himself, getting shot for his trouble and alerting the killer that the police know their whereabouts.
  • Motive Rant: Gertrud gives a subdued one when she shoots her confession video.
    • Emil, the Big Bad of season three, gets two: one as he's about to kill Freddie, and one to Saga and Henrik after he's taken into custody.
  • The two "Truth Terrorist" sites, one for each country. Which the killer uses to broadcast Bjorn's murder and threaten to kill the school bus children.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: The start.
  • Murder-Suicide: The final goal of Emil, who sets up the last of his "art pieces" to hang himself with his estranged father and newborn half-brother. However, Henrik and Saga get there in time to stop them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Season one, August goes through this when he realises the girl he's been chatting to online is actually the killer, and he has been unwittingly feeding him information this whole time, which ended up getting Anja killed, because only the police knew she had accidentally seen the killer.
    • Season Two has Laura realising she got her lover fired over a petty argument and then killed after she visited Laura in hospital and accidentally sat on a syringe filled with poison intended for Laura.
    • And in Season Three, Saga has this reaction when under stress, she forgets to search a perp and he wildly fires his gun in the police station, accidentally hitting John's daughter. Luckily he simply clipped her arm and the daughter recovers, but Saga does not take it well.
  • My Greatest Failure: Saga's is her younger sister's death. Though she tries not to dwell on it, it's clear it still haunts her that she was unable to see Jennifer was suicidal.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: Never really comes up in the investigations themselves, but the season three killer is mad that his father likes art as much as himself.
  • National Stereotypes: Plays throughout with stereotypes of the Swedish as uptight and Danes as laidback.
    • Discussed when Hanne refers to genderless kindergardens as "very Swedish", and Saga asks if she's referring to the Danish perception that Swedes are very politically correct.
    • Most of the couples are made up of one Swede and one Dane, for the sake of contrast.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • After Christoffer accidentally killed Dan, Frank covers it up by tossing his body into a stream. His car was found, however...
    • Frank turns out to have prior experience with hiding bodies, when it turns out he was Alice's extramarital affair.
  • No, Except Yes: After Astrid has revealed to the new boy in town that she sometimes pretends that she's a mean girl named Agnes, and he asks if she was the one to assault a neighbor, she replies "no (beat) – that was Agnes".
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Poor Hans. He picked up a runaway child and returned him to his foster home, only for said foster home to actually be horribly abusive and said child kills him years later as part of his revenge scheme.
    • Stefan tries to help Veronika hide from her abusive husband only for said husband to show up at Stefan's place, leading Stefan to kill him in self-defence and later arrested just as he's reunited with his homeless, mentally fragile sister.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: Sonja throughout the first couple of episodes.
  • No Sense of Humor
    Rohde: [Saga] doesn't do jokes.
  • No Social Skills: Saga. Played sometimes seriously, as when she callously interrogates a guy over the phone while he's trapped in a car with a time bomb, and sometimes comically as when she picks up a guy in a bar with "want to have sex at my place?" and freaks him out when she post-coitally starts her laptop up and looks at gruesome autopsy photos in bed.
    • In one episode she attempts to eat lunch and make small talk with the other detectives; after a long awkward silence all she manages to say (completely straight) is "my period started today."
    • Her habit of changing her shirt in front of her colleagues is another example of this.
    • There's also Annika in Season Three, who seems shocked the man she's been stalking and blackmailing didn't report her missing when she disappeared.
  • Not So Stoic: To the casual observer (and even many of her own colleagues and associates) Saga appears cold and unemotional, if not outright cruel in her insensitivity at times. However, the show on numerous occasions takes time to explore how much this is not the case: Saga is a moral and thoughtful person who simply struggles to understand which of her actions may insult or hurt others, but who tries to adapt herself to avoid it. As to her own emotions, we see on numerous occasions how deep they run, with the following being just some stand-outs:
    • In Season One, when Martin repeatedly asks her if his son is alive, her face is one of true regret and despair.
    • After experiencing a Trauma Conga Line in series 3, Saga has one of these moments when she collapses in tears after almost committing suicide.
    • She's also noticeably upset when John's daughter gets shot in the arm when she failed to search the perp for a hidden firearm. Luckily she's fine later.
    • The final season fully embraces the trope and breaks the presentation of Saga as unflappable, starting her out in prison where life is a daily struggle (not just because there are those who would like to see her dead in the prison, but because any degree of control over her life, which she strictly depends on as a psychological matter, is lost. Even once freed and restored to the police force, the season often sees her, through therapy and character interactions, facing the fall-out of the Trauma Conga Line that has been her life to date and struggling to understand what she really wants for herself.
      • And in a particularly meaningful moment, in the last episode of the series, the trope is embraced head-on: in a previous scene, Henrik, in a moment of deep hurt and anger, accuses Saga of being incapable of love. But in the penultimate scene of the finale, Henrik, having just had his daughter's life and his own saved by Saga, is seeing things more clearly and notes "I said that I needed you more than you needed me, but that isn't right, is it?" to which Saga shakes her head, looks him in the eye and says "No, it isn't."
  • Nursery Rhyme: Sofia and Stefan know each other by a nursery rhyme from their childhood.
    Sofia: Charlie walked on the street
    There he found a package
    He thought it was tobacco
    Stefan: But it was dynamite
  • Obfuscating Disability: Subverted in the last season. When the posthumous father of the wheelchairbound Kevin becomes implicated in the case, Henrik goes to demand answers from him, lifting him from the chair to see if he's really unable to walk. Kevin can't seemingly use his legs. It becomes a double subversion in the last episode with the reveal that Kevin can walk even though he jumped down an apartment building after his father died. His cover of being bound to wheelchair serves him well as Stephanie's murder accomplice.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Emil engages in this when he talks to the police. It's subtle, such as translating a Dutch phrase that is almost exactly the same as in Swedish, and claiming not to see the four animals "hidden" in a painting.
    • Subverted with Elsa's lie about thinking trying to kill Saga would make her stay. It is found plausible enough to not be questioned further, given whatever Ambiguous Disorder she usually displays, but the disorder is genuine.
  • Office Romance: In season four, John and Barbara end up dating.
  • One-Word Title: Its Swedish and Danish titles, respectively, Bron and Broen.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Saga will tell you who she's had sex with and how, the exact size of her boyfriend's penis, and if you ask about her sister she'll inform you that she jumped in front of a train when she was fourteen… but if you ask how she knows so much about Munchhausen by proxy she'll avoid the question.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Taariq speaks Danish with an Iraqi accent… except when he's shouting at a man to let go of a girl, then it's just clean Danish.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: At one point, Hans discusses his future replacement with Saga, while she discusses the serial killer they're looking for.
    Hans: Whoever takes over for me should be glad they have you.
    Saga: Extremely focused, single, successful, good at planning.
    Hans: See?
    Saga: That's the perpetrator's psychological profile.
    Hans: I think you should go home and get some sleep.
  • One of Our Own:
    • Season one: Lillian asks how a police car could be missing for 24 hours without being reported stolen, making Saga realize that the perp could in fact be a policeman.
    • Season two: Saga figures out that Martin killed Jens and reports him. The Danish police in season three feel both that she did the right thing and that they can't really trust her.
  • One-Woman Wail: Dramatic, violent scenes play a man's voice singing in this style.
  • Organ Theft: In Season Three, the killer's trademark is posing the victims as if for photographs (such as the first being set up like a family breakfast) and the victim has something on their body removed...only for the missing body part to show up at the next murder.
  • Overprotective Dad: Laura's father, to the point of refusing to let her tell the police what the guy who shot her looks like. Justified given her sexual history.
  • Parental Neglect: Anja and her "family"; she finds shelter with a friendly but very unstable man.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Saga averts this when informing Anja's mother that they might be unable to find her missing daughter alive.
    • Subverted a little later in the same episode, when Saga tells Lasse that his boss is gonna kill Anja if they can't find him first, and this finally convinces Lasse to betray his idol by giving a description of him.
  • The Plague: In season two, the lead eco-terrorist's ultimate goal is to spread a lab-developed form of the pneumonic plague at an EU climate conference.
  • Plot Parallel: In season two, the main villains are conspiring to unleash a deadly plague on the population under the guise of bringing attention to animal rights, which is generally considered a noble cause despite extreme measures. Meanwhile, the woman Martin and Mette hired to take care of their children is making their son Nikolaj ill in order to make herself seem indispensable and get praise for how much she cares for the children.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: The first suspect in season 3 thinks the first victim was this, running gender neutral daycare centers and wanting gay people to get married in church as she was.
  • Porn Stache: Stefan, the Swedish social worker. It doesn't help that his dress sense and even the style in which some of his scenes are shot evoke the 1970s.
  • Posthumous Character: Sage's younger sister Jennifer who's been dead long before the start of the series. Some of Saga's issues stem from Jennifer's suicide which came as a complete surprise for Saga who had landed their parents in jail because their mother — who had Münchausen syndrome by proxy — continuously poisoned Jennifer. It also becomes clear in the therapy sessions Saga has in the last season that the reason she became a police was guilt from Jennifer's suicide.
  • Pun: A Swedish one, quite naturally. The Swedish word "fall" can mean both "fall" (downward tumbling motion) and "situation", so when a season three victim says that the baby won't survive the fall, the killer replies that no, not everyone survives the situation.
  • Red Herring: Several suspicious characters are not the one Saga and Martin are looking for.
    • Season one:
      • Stefan kills Sören, but he's not a serial killer.
      • Jesper is guilty of rape, but not murder.
      • Lasse gets manipulated to kill a psychologist on behalf of the real killer.
      • Also, while he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, he is not a sexual predator and not a threat to Anja, who gets offed by Jens because she saw him leave Lasse's apartment complex.
    • More turn up in season two:
      • The Animal Wrongs Group bombs a petrol tanker and poisons the food supply, but it did not develop The Plague.
      • Oliver is guilty of peeping on and then attempting to kill his sister, but he is not the mastermind behind the eco-terrorist conspiracy.
    • Gertrud, the real ringleader of the conspiracy, may not have been the real ringleader after all.
    • And in season three:
      • Lise posts a video after the first two killings coolly ranting about the victims, but she isn't the killer.
      • The victims are all found with a burn mark in their mouth that has a letter branded on it, which Saga says is part of the Babylonian alphabet. They actually make up the serial number of the sperm-donation case that resulted in Emil.
      • Claes is seen carrying a shovel after Annika mysteriously disappears, but he had nothing to do with her vanishing and not only is she alive, she's not the killer.
    • The fourth season suggests that Julia and Ida are actually Henrik's daughters. In fact, a completely different character turns out to be his one surviving daughter, although it's hinted that there are feelings developing between him and the other two.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Interestingly, both Martin and Saga have moments of both blue and red oni. Henrik is constantly in between though.
    • A common thread throughout the series, actually. In Season 2, Caroline is the blue to her sister, Bodil's, red. Hans is the blue to Saga's red.
  • Removed from the Picture: When Saga has to receive her mother's possessions, she finds herself cut out from photos of herself and Jennifer. Later Henrik takes for himself a photo of his daughters with Frank, cutting the latter off.
  • Revenge: The first-season serial killer's real goal.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The idea of the fourth season's murders. A petty criminal and police mole named Tommy was killed by his cohorts when his treachery was discovered and the police did nothing to bail him out. Tommy's girlfriend Susanne/Stephanie and son Kevin/Brian murder loved ones of the people they hold responsible for Tommy's death, wanting them to experience their pain of losing a loved one forever. As an extra insult, they use common execution methods.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • We never learn what Elsa did to be in a high-security prison, nor why she is not allowed to have contact with her daughter.
    • When Henrik tries to talk Saga out of jumping in front of a train, and fails, we clearly hear the train hitting something. But what?
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The police believe the fourth season killer is on one, because they use execution methods to kill their victims. It seems to fall apart when two of the victims are a horse and a child with kidney failure, but it turns out to be true.
  • Running Gag:
    • Saga's boss explaining "She meant to say 'How are you?'" Martin's insistence that Saga needs a hobby, and the Swedes waking Martin up early in the morning while he's sleeping.
    • Saga trying to pronounce Danish names in Danish, and inevitably mispronouncing them as the way the vowels flow together is tricky for Swedes to accomplish.
  • Russian Roulette: Lukas forces his debtor Marc to play Russian Roulette to intimidate him in the third season.
  • Scary Black Man: Lukas, the gangster posing as a charity worker, in the third season.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Two variations are used in the finale, for Mette and her kids — a shack in the countryside, which they're locked inside with a live grenade, and for August — bricked up behind a false wall in a secret location.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Saga asks Martin why he cheats, he says he probably feels the need to prove his manhood "or something".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In the third season, Morten is a violently-deranged ex-soldier afflicted with PTSD after being taken prisoner and tortured in Afghanistan.
  • The Sociopath: Saga's evil mother, Marie-Louise, who psychologically wrecks Saga every day throughout the entirety of season 3, caused her sister Jennifer to commit suicide with Münchausen by Proxy, and in the end even manages to get Saga fired from her job by posing her own suicide as murder, the murder being framed on Saga.
    • Jens Hansen / Sebastian Sandstrod in season 1 can be interpretaded as this due to how much he seems to enjoy manipulating people, but he ultimately has a Heel Realization in season 2.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In the last season with William and Leonora. He pays a great deal of money and goes through hell trying to get the antidote for his daughter - then, as he gives it to her, he learns that she was never poisoned and the antidote is actually the poison.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Martin reads Mio, min Mio by Astrid Lindgren to his son.
    • When Saga gives John a book about handling PTSD to pass on to his eight-year-old daughter Julie, who is in the hospital after being grazed by a bullet, John points out that Julie still struggles with My Little Pony books.
  • Spoiled Brat: Laura in Season Two, as her father constantly dotes on her and never calls her out on her bratty behaviour. She seems to grow out of it towards the end.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Annika in Season Three, to the point she resorts to blackmailing Claus to force him to keep including her in his life.
  • Start to Corpse
  • Street Urchin: The final season gives Danish teenaged sisters Julia and Ida who mostly live in the streets, frequently stealing stuff to sell and get by, refusing to be fostered or go to a faculty.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Jens Hansen first tries to set this up with Henning and the family of the guy who was killed by the cops, and then with himself and Martin.
    • He ultimately succeeds one season later when Martin, blaming Jens for the breakup of his marriage, poisons him in prison and ends up getting arrested. Though at that point, he has found that Vengeance Feels Empty, making his plan become less meaningful.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: A spectacular example in the very final line of the show, when Saga answers the phone with her name but no "Länskrim Malmö".
  • Suicide, Not Murder: Saga's mother probably killed herself and framed Saga for killing her.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The photographer who outed Benjamin and Anna's affair (which it turns out Benjamin anonymously tipped her about) goes to Benjamin's grieving mother's apartment and blurts out: "It was not my fault that your son killed himself!"
  • Teacher/Student Romance: In Season Two Laura is having an affair with her teacher. It does not end well.
  • Theme Serial Killer: Used in all seasons, although the early episodes sometimes misdirect it and the real theme is sometimes an important part of the solution:
    • First season: Hot-button social issues.
    • Second season: Environmentalism.
    • Third season: Initially believed to be homophobia. Actually copies of artworks owned by the killer's endgame target.
    • Fourth season: Judicial execution methods, and victims selected in order to cause grief to the real targets.
  • Title Drop: Hollow Talk is mentioned in the intro song.
  • Together in Death: Invoked by Henrik. When they find Alice's remains but not those of their daughters, he says he suspected they were dead, but he thought at least they'd be together.
    Henrik: Without their mother, how will they manage?
  • Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Rasmus is a kind of naive you don't necessarily expect from someone working for the police.
  • Too Much Information: Saga is extremely prone to this, with her Ambiguous Disorder rendering her unable to tell where the line goes between personal information that people want you to share and personal information that no one wants to hear.
    • You'd think she is immune to this because of her usually stone-faced expression, but she does look slightly grossed out when informed, without her asking, that Mette has kidney stones.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • In series 3, let's see, Saga witnesses her first partner lose a foot in an explosion and feels responsible. Then her abusive mother, who had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, shows up and starts a campaign of intimidation, including blaming Saga for her sister's suicide. Saga's father, from whom she was also estranged, dies. Then Hans, her boss and friend, who always had her back, is kidnapped and tortured. Then she's mismanaged to the extreme by her new boss, who assigns an incompetent colleague who has a grudge against Saga to investigate her. Then her mother commits suicide in a way that frames Saga for murder. Hans dies. She forgets to search a suspect for weapons, and her colleague's daughter is consequently shot. Her new partner, whom she grew close to, turns out to be a drug addict. She inadvertently provides the murderer with the means to kill himself. And finally, she's suspended while being investigated for her mother's death. All this leads her to a very bad place. In season four, her psychologist has a lot to work with.
    • Henrik undergoes one from Series 3 to Series 4. He struggles with drug addiction the whole series. His wife, Alice's, body is finally found, but not his daughters. He falls in love with Saga and prevents her from committing suicide, and is delighted when she gets pregnant. Then she has an abortion specifically so she won't lose him, and he finds that his eldest daughter died from appendicitis years previously.
  • Turn in Your Badge:
    • Briefly discussed and defied; once the case becomes personal for Rohde, it's suggested that he be taken off it. He matter-of-factly states that if he is, he'll just keep investigating on his own time, so he's kept on.
    • In the final sequence of the show, Saga throws her badge off the bridge.
  • Understatement: In Season One, when Martin goes on his first job with Saga, one of her colleagues says, "Do you think we should mention she's a bit...odd?"
  • The Unreveal: After the second season finale, the episode's writer stated in a live chat that the shadowy figure who killed Gertrud was not significant and would not be revisited.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A season three suspect lives this trope, describing himself as "not a particularly curious man". Henrik feels the need to explain to him that when most people discover large quantities of blood in a car they want to know what happened.
  • Utopia: Sofia tries to build one in her town by only letting "good people" move there. Saga thinks it won't work. She's proven right within the week, and her argument that it's hard to define "goodness" is a factor.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the third season Morten's pathetic attempt to find someone to connect with by tracking down his sibling-by-sperm-donation ends up triggering Emil's mental breakdown and serial murders, which included Morten himself.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Saif's father warns his son that killing Henning will not bring back his brother. Saif listens and lets Henning go, but the killer planned around this and guns Henning down in the street anyway.
  • Villains Never Lie: It's in Season One that the killer always does what he promises, including letting the victims go if his demands have been met. This proves very important in the climax because Martin knows he's also not lying about his plans for August and that Jens won't tell him what happened to his son.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Attempted in Season Two by Oliver on his sister, but Getrud manages to kill him before he can finish her off, because Viktoria is vital for The Plan
    • In Season Three, Claes does this to his dying father. Annika, being a funeral director and thus regularly around dead bodies, figures it out and uses this to blackmail Claes into being her boyfriend.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted with Jens; double subverted with the eco terrorists, who are seemingly revealed to be Unwitting Pawns in a money-making scheme, until Gertrud turns out to be a true believer.
  • Western Terrorists: Gertrud's plot to attack an EU conference in the second season.
  • Wham Episode: In finale of season two, one of Martin's colleagues if forced to kill herself after becoming infected with a superplague, while Saga is forced to turn in Martin himself after he murders Jens in prison. Doing so potentially shifts the geographical axis of the series away from Denmark.
  • Wham Line: From the penultimate episode of season three:
    Emil: Hi dad.
    • In Season One, when Saga realises the killer's endgame:
    Saga: His son died on the bridge. He wants to even the score. [to August] He wants you.
  • The Woobie: Martin. Henrik. Saga. They all lose at least one child they were responsible for to circumstances beyond their control, Martin hires a nany who poisons his son, Saga gets framed for the murder of her abusive mother, and Henrik is a drug addict whose sole comfort is hallucinating his disappeared wife and children.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Subverted very cruelly in Season One, when the killer explains no matter what Martin does to him, he'll never know what happened to August, where his body is, if he suffered or what his last words were. Saga spoils this because she actually did figure out where he was, but the end result is still that August is dead and they were too late to save him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • We never find out what happened to Veronika and her children after Stefan helped her disappear and killed her husband.
    • Likewise, in the third season, we never find out what became of Claes and Annika after they ceased being relevant to the main storyline because it became clear that neither of them was the killer.
    • After Christoffer escapes the container he was locked in and tells the police about him accidentally shooting his father and Frank keeping him captive, he's not seen again.
  • When She Smiles: Saga smiles for joy exactly once in the entire series. It's when she is certain everything is right between her and Henrik again. It results in them having sex for the first time since Saga informed him she had an abortion.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: This may have been Emil's motivation for faking an attack on himself in the third season, although it may have been for some deranged reason only he understood.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • In the first season, Ferbé, who after losing his job gets gassed to death in his car. Extra irony because he was locked in his car with a (fake) bomb before - you'd think he'd be a little more wary.
    • In the second season, the original terrorist foursome, who are gassed to death in a shipping container.
      • At the end of the second season, Gertrud is shot by a Bigger Bad.
  • You Are Too Late: In Season One, Saga correctly figures out where the killer hid August and she and the other cops do get him out...but he suffocated before they managed to open the coffin.
    • In Season Three, after being coerced into saying on live TV her relationship was a mistake, Anna has a change of heart and calls Benjamin to tell him she loves him and wants to be with him...only for the camera to pan away from the phone to show Benjamin's body, having slit his wrists in the bath.

Alternative Title(s): The Bridge


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