The Bridge, Season 2

Dept. of Scandi Noir Stand-Ins


When it was announced that the latest season of The Bridge was going to be on HBO Go, I was intrigued. I had missed the first season of this Malaysian remake, and finally decided to check it out.

But who has time to catch up these days? I was going to jump right into Season 2. I knew nothing about Season 1, other than that it was based on a crime noir series out of Sweden. There was also an American remake of which I was somewhat familiar with. But that was in 2013, and well, a lot has happened since then.

Season 1 of The Bridge was released in 2018 and was based around the discovery of a body in the middle of the Tuas Interchange, the bridge connecting Malaysia and Singapore. Due to its “position” on the bridge, the jurisdiction of the body was the catalyst of the first season’s main storyline between the police detectives of the two nations, and the ensuing joint investigation. 

Season 2 opens with the discovery of a grisly murder on a boat that was found by the Malaysian Coast Guard on the Straits of Malacca, with ties to Singapore and Indonesia. This made it the perfect case for the ICD, an intergovernmental policing unit between the nations of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

It was a bold choice by the producers to not pander to the audience. They could have easily written in a whole bunch of exposition into the opening episodes in order to introduce a new audience to the world they were building. That would have seriously hampered the pacing of the series. But instead, through some rather good writing, the first season’s important details are peppered throughout these first four episodes. Forgetting that this is a second series is easy, as all the first season’s details are treated merely as background information for the audience to justify a character’s actions. (Also, I’m happy to report that we’re four episodes in and there are no flashbacks as yet.)

The writing is particularly refreshing for a locally made (it was produced by Viu in association with HBO Asia Originals) series. While we’re on the subject of characters, the casting in this is excellent. Rebecca Lim returns as Serena, an intense and uptight, “things are black and white” Singaporean detective. She stars opposite Ario Bayu’s Heri, a more laid back, look at the big picture kind of detective from Indonesia.

The tension starts from their very first meeting via video conference (something we’re ALL familiar with in the age of COVID-19) and their distrust ratchets up from there. Bront Palarae’s Megat, who is a bit like Heri in temperament, is the character that stands between the both of them (so to speak) having worked with Serena in the past (Season 1). What this series does well is give each character their own voice. One that felt authentic to where they were from (Singapore, Indonesia or Malaysia). One that never felt forced.

Malaysians of a certain age will certainly recognise the faces of Wan Hanafi Su (who is very excellent in everything he does), Pete Teo, Louisa Chong, Patrick Teoh, Chew Kin Wah, Douglas Lim, and Zahim Albakri playing a dodgy Englishman. The last three, however, pulled me out of the show slightly, with Kin Wah and Douglas playing fairly stereotypical Phua Chu Kang-like Chinese characters. And I really wish they had gotten an actual Englishman to play the role of Peter Harris, as opposed to Zahim and his slightly dodgy English accent.

Season 2 of The Bridge is now showing week to week on HBO GO and if, like me, you haven’t seen Season 1, you can jump straight into this without missing a beat. The writing is solid and won’t have you feeling lost. But if you’re also like me, then you’re a completist, and will most definitely be going back to catch the first season.

The Bridge
HBO/HBOGO/Viu, 2 seasons, 10 episodes (Season 1), 5 episodes (Season 2, as at time of publishing)
Creator: Hans Rosenfeldt (Original Series)
Directors: TJ Lee, Jason Chong, and Zahir Omar
Cast: Rebecca Lim, Bront Palarae, Ario Bayu, Lukman Sardi, Amanda Manopo, Miller Khan, Adrian Pang, Alicia Amin, Joseph Marco, Wan Hanafi Su, Pete Teo, Louisa Chong, Patrick Teoh, Chew Kin Wah, Douglas Lim, and Zahim Albakri

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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