By Sam Adams | Criticwire July 10, 2013 at 9:00AM
What: FX's new drama The Bridge, in which detectives Cross (Diane Kruger) and Ruiz (Demian Bichir) track a serial killer working both sides of the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
When: premieres Wed., July 10 at 10 p.m. New episodes weekly.
Though some critics feel the decision to withhold the information that Kruger's brusque, socially awkward detective has Asperger's Syndrome leaves viewers at a disadvantage, they're (near-)united in praise for Demian Bechir's performance as her Mexican equivalent, and for the show's exploration of its border territory.
David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle:
Setting plays a significant role in The Bridge -- in that regard, it's like The Killing without rainfall. The Bridge makes potent use of dry, lifeless desert, the teeming streets of Juarez and the dusty roads through Texas and Mexican back country. Even the El Paso squad room is an underpopulated office in which the fluorescent light is as punishing as the Texas sun.... A few missteps notwithstanding, The Bridge crackles with intelligence and great acting at every turn.
Matt Zoller Seitz, New York:
There are a few lackluster characterizations and performances, and scenes in which supposedly hardcore professionals seem more naive than they might be in life, presumably to make it easier for The Bridge to set up little lessons in sociology, history, and politics. But this show’s worth watching regardless of how you feel about its bits and pieces. It’s an attempt to make an epic on an indie-film budget.
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix:
[W]hat makes The Bridge special, and potentially great, is an attribute more often applied to real estate than TV drama: location, location, location.
James Poniewozik, Time:
[W]hat’s most compelling about The Bridge is that it emphasizes not the psychology or forensics of the case but its context.
David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Bridge is a very dark show, both literally (everything seems to happen at night) and figuratively (morality quickly grows murky). It's artfully directed, but intensely grisly. And its atmosphere is far more coherent than its sometimes sketchy narrative. But it does string you along. With barbed wire.
Chuck Barney, San Jose Mercury News:
It's a pleasure to watch [Kruger and Bichir] play off one another, and it's fascinating to see how The Bridge ambitiously moves beyond a simplistic serial-killer saga to become a gritty, complex exploration of cultural differences, class issues and border tensions.... FX may have struck dramatic gold again. This series is mesmerizing. It sucks you in like a good book and has you yearning for more.
Alison Willmore, Indiewire:
It's a darkly fascinating setting, and its one that The Bridge is set on taking full advantage of -- which may be why its procedural aspects feel particularly stilted and stale. The series has so much to work with that whenever it settles back into being another serial killer story featuring another dedicated but socially inept detective, it's deflatingly rote.
Maureen Ryan, Huffington Post:
It's not necessarily a problem if Cross is a cipher to those around her; it could be a problem if she remains a brusque cipher to the show's audience.
Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter:
The Bridge is mandatory viewing for drama lovers, but it will be interesting to see where the writers take it and whether they have the big-league ability to make the evident potential materialize. One thing they've hopefully learned is that sometimes holding back information isn't mysterious, it's just confusing.
Brian Lowry, Variety:
Although there are elements here that merit continued attention, most notably Demian Bichir as a dedicated Mexican cop, there are too many missteps to ensure safe passage.
Alessandra Stanley, New York Times:
An excess of ambition may be part of the problem with The Bridge. The cinematography and music are moody, evocative and overly intrusive -- the filmmaking is too self-conscious ever to relax into true creativity. The intersecting story lines are all perhaps too similarly bleak in tone and even hue. Comic relief isn't necessary to a good crime series, but contrast helps a lot.