Season 1 of FX’s The Bridge was far from light viewing, tracking as it did the tireless work of a brutal serial killer along the El Paso-Juarez border.
But Season 2, premiering tonight at 10/9c, promises to serve up a “very different” — and darker — narrative, for Sonya Cross, Marco Ruiz et al.
Having spent its freshman run aping its source material, the Danish/Swedish series Broen/Bron, The Bridge moving forward will follow multiple story lines, including the discovery of a Mexican cartel member’s body on U.S. soil, Marco’s dealings with corrupt colleagues, intrepid reporters Frye and Mendez’s ongoing investigation into the Millie Quintana Money House, and Charlotte juggling of allegiances, between the U.S. government and the Mexican cartel.
With Season 2’s showrunner, Meredith Stiehm, having returned to Showtime’s Homeland, Elwood Reid takes the reins from here on, “and his vision for the show is darker, for sure, but also more complex,” female lead Diane Kruger shares. “There are many different storylines that sort of happen at the same time and seemingly are not connected.”
As Season 2 opens, Sonya and Marco (played by Demian Bichir) have retreated back into their respective worlds after catching a killer yet not without significant loss, namely the life of Marco’s son. Yet as Ruiz continues to process that grief, he also realizes that someone within his own ranks wants him dead. And yet he’s caught in a web that casts shadows on his own reputation. Because of the Policía Estatal’s special “dynamic” with the cartels, “Sonya has reason to believe that Marco is compromised, and she distrusts him quite a bit,” Kruger previews. “Theres a big fallout over whether she or not she believes that he’s taken too many steps into the darkness.”
Kruger says that Sonya’s “father-daughter” bond with El Paso PD Lieutenant Hank Wade also will be “tested and tried,” but in a way that ultimately makes her character ” a much stronger, independent woman,” Kruger says. “It’s a great season of personal maturity” for the Asperger’s sufferer.
Among Season 2’s new faces, there’s Jack Dobbs (played by Aussie actor Nathan Phillips), the brother of the man who brutally raped and killed Sonya’s sister at age 18. According to Kruger, “[Sonya and Jack] have a relationship which is clearly not healthy,” accelerated as it is by the former’s need to retain any ties to her fractured family. “Sonya’s sister was the person in her life, and she has never been able to move on,” Kruger says. “So when [Jim Dobbs] is about to die, meeting his brother presents this strange fascination, of being with somebody she shares history with.”
More overtly ominously, Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) will literally cross “the bridge” as Eleanor, a mysterious and bracingly hard-boiled woman with an unsaid agenda. “It’s a cool character, very much a Tarantino-esque type,” Kruger teases. “When our characters finally meet, Eleanor is so odd and different that on some level Sonya is fascinated…. Those two women do a little dance around each other.”
In addition to that dance, Kruger is still tangoing with her portrayal of someone living with Asperger’s, endeavouring to accurately depict the condition — even if it means putting a few viewers ill at ease.
Having immersed herself in research during Season 1 and working closely with a consultant who has Asperger’s, Kruger admits the challenge continues to be “really daunting,” yet it’s a portrayal she is resolved to keep true. She cites a death scene where another character goes to comfort Sonya with a simple touch on the shoulder. The Bridge’s adviser suggested that Sonya would “completely overreact” to the intrusion on personal space “and probably scream,” but after shooting that particular take, a writer wondered aloud if a quieter reaction would play better.
“I kept saying, ‘No, no. We have to have it this way,'” Kruger relates. “I find myself really trying to protect the integrity, even though it’s going to make people uncomfortable. We’re just going to have to be OK with that.”