THE BRIDGE: So what if CBC goes for light entertainment

So what if CBC goes for light entertainment
By: John Doyle
Date: March 3, 2010
Source: The Globe and Mail


Note: The below is a copy and paste of just the part about THE BRIDGE. To read the full article please click on the link above.


The Bridge, which starts Friday (CTV, 9 p.m.) is as dark as Doyle is light. We are thrown into the murky world of Toronto cops, where rogue officers feed on corruption, good cops have little choice but to turn a blind eye, and the bosses try to manipulate everybody. At its centre is Frank Leo (Aaron Douglas in a fine, utterly compelling performance) who, outraged by the bosses’ treatment of a fellow officer who committed suicide, decides to run for office as head of the police union. As soon as he’s elected, a toxic issue surfaces that could harm him and the entire union.

In the hands of writer Alan DiFiore – who did many of the finest, most moody episodes of Da Vinci’s Inquest, there is little traditional melodrama but plenty of acrid, low-key drama that paints a grim picture of the insular police world. It’s a fast-moving, splintered narrative. Occasionally it suffers from an overcooked thumping soundtrack, but it takes us into a nasty, hushed world of urban crime, corruption and heady male malevolence. The atmosphere is dark, oppressive and the little bits of lightness are the more shocking for that.

Right now, I’d guess, The Bridge is not the sort of TV drama that CBC is interested in making and airing. It has gone the populist route, getting viewers interested in the fun of Battle of the Blades and Republic of Doyle. This kind of TV fare fits well with existing hits such as Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Little Mosque and 18 to Life. There’s no harm in that. CBC has decided it’s not HBO and it isn’t interested in being an HBO-style channel. It’s also unlikely that CBC would be interested in Crash and Burn, another acrid, blackly comic drama that recently ended its run on Showcase. Paranoiac realism is not CBC’s bag right now. Perhaps it should be, but the argument about CBC’s mission and mandate, in these times, is for another day.