The Tunnel – Season One

Did you see the Danish/Swedish TV Series called The Bridge? The series had three seasons that aired in 2011, 2013, and 2015. Depending on where you live and what language you speak, the series is also known as Bron or Broen. The stars were Kim Bodnia as the Copenhagen, Denmark homicide detective Martin Rohde, and Sofia Helin as the Malmo, Sweden homicide detective Saga Noren.

Here’s the short and concise description of the series from Hulu:

A woman is found murdered in the middle of the Øresund Bridge – right on the border between Sweden and Denmark. The Swedish and Danish police are called to the scene. What at first looks like one murder, turns out to be two. The bodies have been brutally cut in half at the waist and put together to form a single corpse. This spectacular double murder is just the beginning of a wave of violence the like of which no one has ever seen before. The Swedish and Danish police find themselves in a race against the clock in a deadly showdown with a superior enemy, where no one will be the same when it’s over.

The series prove to be very popular and was deemed a success. So much so, that in the US, in 2013, a similar series, also called The Bridge was launched. This series ran for two seasons on the FX Channel.

The American series starred Demian Bicher as the Mexican cop Marco Ruiz from Juarez, and Diane Kruger as Sonya Cross who is based in El Paso, Texas.

Here’s the description of the US version of The Bridge from Wikipedia:

The Bridge follows two police detectives – one Mexican, one from the U.S. – and their joint effort to capture a serial killer who is operating in both countries when an American judge known for anti-immigration views is found dead on the bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, with Juárez, Mexico, menacing both nations along the Texas–Chihuahua border .

In both of these series, the hook, or the element that immediately captures the attention of the viewers was this – in each case there were two victims – the top half of the body was a victim from one side of the bridge, and the lower half of the victim was from the other country. Hence the joint jurisdiction.

Then, in a joint venture between the UK’s Skybridge Productions and the French production outfit called Canal +, we have the series called The Tunnel. This series has the same premise, only rather than discovering the body on a bridge, the two body sections are found at the midpoint of a service tunnel connecting Folkestone in the UK with Calais in France.

This channel crossing, under the sea (Straits of Dover) is for cars who drive on and then drive off the train. It is a mere 35 minute trip, so our detectives make this crossing routinely and easily. Speaking of the detectives, let’s check them out.

Clemence Poesy as Elise

Clemence Poesy as Elise

From France we have Captain Elise Wasserman played by Clemence Poésy. She’s both headstrong and quirky. She insists on the truth, she’s not really empathetic, and for her, focusing on the job at hand is the most important thing. As she said, Protocol is not optional. Basic necessities like food and sleep are required, but Elise does with as little as possible. So, yes – she’s a workaholic.

As for sex, Elise has an appetite for it, but then, only on her own terms. In this regard she’s just like Sonya and Saga. Once the sex (with someone they didn’t know beforehand) is over, these women are basically indifferent to the men they were just intimate with. When asked about what they would do next, Elise’s reply (she’s  seated at her dining table that is filled with case files) – I don’t know about you (you can leave if you want) but I’m going to work on my case. She didn’t even look up when he left moments later.

The Tunnel

Her detective partner and British counterpart is DCI Karl Roebuck played by Stephen Dillane who has done 24 episodes of Game of Thrones as Stannis Baratheon. Roebuck is the opposite of Wasserman. Where she can easily keep to herself and march to her own drummer, Roebuck likes people – especially women. He’s fathered five children with three different women. In this series, he’s even going to sleep with someone involved.

However he can also act like a loose cannon. His instincts may be right, but his timing isn’t always on point.

Another character that we have returning from the previous shows is the reporter. Here he’s called Danny Hillier. This is a guy who sleeps around, tells his boss at the local newspaper in Folkestone off, and couldn’t care less about anyone besides himself.

Danny is going to be used as a conduit of information by the villain of the story, who wants his views made public.

Speaking of the villain, they take great care to keep his identity from us for as long as possible. This guy’s agenda is to reveal certain truths (and flaws) about the society he lives in, which is both Europe and the UK.

His methods are not limited by laws in any way, which isn’t pleasant, but definitely insures a high-body count.

What I liked best about The Tunnel is that despite having a foundation that is very much like both of the series that came before it, this seems both fresh and interesting. There’s the usual friction (mostly on the surface) between the French cops (below)

and the Brits. But as the pace quickens, and we get deeper into the story, this aspect seems to dissolve.

There’s the great and beautiful wonders of the British countryside mostly in and around Kent. There’s the intricacies and inner workings of The Euro-Tunnel itself. Plus the French countryside.

Tunnel Ep 05

But mostly there’s Clemence Poesy and Stephen Dillane as the leads. I think that they’ve each done a marvelous job of both capturing your attention as well as holding it. Which is not to short-change the supporting casts.

I think this series is well worth your time, and while it does take its time in unveiling what is truly at stake, there are enough twists and turns, chases, and tense and involving situations to make this series (10 episodes) a winner.

This series is available via Amazon to watch on their streaming service. Or you can acquire the DVD of the First Season from Amazon as well.

There is a Season 2 which has already aired on PBS.

Check out the trailer:



3 thoughts on “The Tunnel – Season One

  1. Woah, I think I’ve just found myself a new show to watch. I love these Danish crime shows (honestly, they are the creepiest, most intense shows ever) and I’d be interested to see Clemence Poesy star in something again. Will definitely be checking this out, cheers for the tip. Are you by any chance sharing your work on any other movie/tv platforms at the moment?

    • Hi – thanks for the comment. You will enjoy this one. I know I did. As for Danish Crime show – I recommend both seasons of Dicte, and for a really top notch political drama, Borgen has three seasons.

      To watch the tunnel you can either buy the DVD or buy the season on Amazon Prime. I also think it might be available via PBS.

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