THE BRIDGE “The Unguarded Moment”Review

THE BRIDGE (CBS)

THE BRIDGE defied expectations, at least my expectations and in its second episode “The Unguarded Moment” became a generic procedural. Did I think it was going to be a socially important yet entertainingly addictive show like The Wire, with realistic people, delving into their prince-and-pauper lives from the perpective of a Robin Hood with a bit of Jack Bauer’s ruthlessness to him? Perhaps not. But I did not expect to be watching a case-of-the-week procedural, not after the messy yet potentially arresting pilot.

A woman is given a bag of money; she is to go to Singapore. She has done this before. Why is she working as a waitress if she gets paid to risk life in jail making marijuana deals (weed, not the hard stuff. They make sure to point this out to the audience, which is like pulling out a blue Crayola and writing “Likable Character Making Bad Choices” across her face). The restaurant she works in is held up by two men toting guns. They are clearly working with the woman, though The Bridge bizarrely does not confront this immediately and instead they make her seem like an innocent bystander. Like we’re not going to connect the dots after she’s been given a bag with a few million dollars.

Frank Leo appears to sort the whole thing out; a police officer having breakfast was shot in the chaos, and he is now the primary hostage. Leo talks a lot. He talks to the Canadian SWAT team. He looks frustrated. He juts his jaw, furrows his brow. He yells and looks serious.

One of the female hostages is raped. I’m not sure why this has happened. Is it to show us that hostage situations are bad? The policeman with a bullet in his stomach was quite convincing. Is it to show us that female hostages are more vulnerable? I wonder what would happen if it was a male being raped. Probably censorship. Probably wouldn’t happen.

Frank Leo’s love interest makes a cameo. I blinked and almost missed her. The last episode ended with Frank’s friend coming to his house, his wife in his car. He’d killed her, one of those pesky beat-her-up cases. Not a word of that was mentioned this episode. In fact, maybe two characters from the pilot appeared in this episode. Maybe three. Even though the pilot was a torturous 90 minutes long, even though quite a lot (too many, I thought) things happened in the pilot, it seems they weren’t important enough to be even mentioned in the passing in this episode.

The plot was preposterous, the characters dull, the directing good. The direction the show is taking is utterly bland. A hybrid between The Usual Suspects and The Wire this ain’t. Which is disappointing. It had potential.