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Stars of The Bridge: 'Our show has been very good at predicting things in society'

With The Bridge about to embark on its final run, stars of the hit series Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhardt tell Gemma Dunn what to expect from the new episodes


Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhart star in The Bridge

Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhart star in The Bridge

Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhart star in The Bridge

Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhart star in The Bridge

Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhart star in The Bridge

Fifty-two chauffeured Porsches, a viewpoint over the Oresund Bridge and the Choir of Young Believers playing in the background - you'd be hard pushed to think of a better way to bid farewell to The Bridge.

An elaborate curtain call, maybe. But as its stars Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhardt will admit, the Scandi-noir crime series - synonymous with the famous sports car - was never going to go quietly.

Even more so now the international hit - BBC Four's highest-rated drama - has impressively relocated to BBC Two for its fourth and final series.

Moving the action on two years, the concluding chapter sees Helin and Lindhardt reprise their roles as Saga and her innately talented Danish partner, Henrik Sabroe, in a case that promises to test them both professionally and personally.

Add to that Saga's prison stint, having been accused of her mother's murder, and Henrik's struggle with the unexplained disappearance of his own children, and it's not set to be an easy ride for the duo.

"But you do come closer to us; it's a lot about their relationship this season," offers Helin (46) of Hans Rosenfeldt's creation.

"The characters are so well-written and complex and they fit so well together that people are interested in seeing how they solve their lives."

The overarching theme, however, is identity, with the trigger-point the refugee crisis and the timely murder of the head of immigration.

"She gets stoned to death," reveals Lindhardt (43) of the grisly attack. "And, right before, they find out that she has been celebrating throwing someone out of the country - with champagne.

"We actually have a case in Denmark where our Minister for Integration did that. She celebrated with cake and put it on Facebook.

"But that happened after this was written. Our show has always been very good at predicting things - tendencies and trends in society."

As for the anticipated twists and turns. "There's some," he teases. "But it's very much about, 'What are we if we are not what we think we are?'. Often, as human beings, we identify ourselves with what we do.

"At least in my country, if you meet a person you don't know at a dinner party, the first thing you'll ask is 'So, what do you do for a living?' That is how we identify ourselves and others. 'I'm an actor'. Which is not true. I'm a human being. Acting is just a tiny part. The show has a lot to do with identity in that way."

"Saga wonders, 'Why do I live?', 'What do I do here?', 'Who am I?'," says Sweden-born Helin, in agreement. "And I had the sense that taking away the police identity from her (while in prison) would see Saga on shaky ground and that was a really interesting path to take."

And having played Saga, known for her leather trousers, abruptness and unintentional rudeness, since the show's inception in 2011, no one knows the Malmo detective better.

Though it's certainly not a role to take lightly.

"During the years, it's got easier and easier, but it takes a lot of effort. It demands a lot of concentration and focus," she confides.

"I was very irritated at her to begin with; I didn't understand how she functioned and then I realised the loneliness of being stuck in a disability.

"Then, I started getting interested and I started to care for her."

What does she make of Saga being hailed a role model among fans?

"I've heard 'feministic role model'," she responds with a smile. "I take it as a compliment. I get very happy, as I think that's something to aim for, for women and all humans to be able to say what they need and want.

"It has affected me to think like her for so many hours. But it's very useful, actually, to use her rationality. To just see things as they are and not to go into it with too many emotions."

Though Helin has been wary not to become too heavily invested.

"I actually investigated it with a brain surgeon and she told me that if you go to behavioural therapy you can change the brain by doing things in new ways, so I figured Saga has changed me to some extent," she notes.

"Of course, I'm still me, but I can feel that I have ways of thinking in certain situations that's not the way I used to react to things before.

"It's fascinating and scary, because, if that's the case, you can really choose actively who you are. What if we were to put Trump into this kind of therapy?"

That aside, was it the right time to call time on the cult hit? "The perfect time," she responds, labelling the final scenes some of the most beautiful, but the most difficult.

"It was emotional, but I am happy with the ending and I am kind of relieved and content.

"I'm not sad, because I can talk to her any minute," she finishes. "I am proud."

The Bridge, BBC Two, Friday, 9pm

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