CTV’s New Cop Show Misses The Mark

The number of successful hour-long dramas in the history of Canadian television can be counted on one hand. The latest attempt, CTV's The Bridge, is up against long odds.

Aaron Douglas stars in CTV's new police drama The Bridge.

The number of successful hour-long dramas in the history of Canadian television can be counted on one hand: Street Legal, Da Vinci’s Inquest, North of 60, Road to Avonlea, and Due South. The latest attempt, the 13-part, Toronto-shot series The Bridge, is up against long odds.

The Bridge stars Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica) as beat-cop Frank Leo, who is having one hell of a bad year. His mentor commits suicide, two of his colleagues are caught on tape beating a kid to death, a snitch has infiltrated his unit, his home is bugged by top brass in the department, and his father admits to stealing from the police fund. Even worse, when three uniforms go missing, two homeless people are run over in broad daylight, and some drug dealers get the shake down, Leo finds himself at the centre of a wildcat strike and an internal investigation.

In its two-hour Friday-night premiere, The Bridge threw in every police-drama cliché around: rapid-fire edits, shaky hand-held camera work, testosterone-soaked car chases, and a blisteringly-loud soundtrack, including hard core rock and overwrought opera. Douglas is convincing enough in the lead role, but he spends too much time clenching his jaw and snarling clunky dialogue (“All I ever wanted to be was a cop.”) The female characters are also shamelessly one-note: the hot lesbian cop, the cowardly traitor cop, and the sexy new District Attorney, whose budding romance with Leo is entirely unconvincing. 

The Bridge marks the second collaboration between CTV and CBS Paramount (the first being the infinitely-superior Flashpoint). Still, with the full thirteen episodes ordered by the two networks, and with few competitors in the infamous Friday Night Death Slot, The Bridge might just beat the odds after all.

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