Why Are We Ignoring ‘The Bridge’?

I started seeing commercials for a new show, The Bridge (FX), a few months back. It’s about a serial killer terrorizing both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The bridge at the heart of the story is the Bridge of the Americas connecting El Paso, Texas to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and the murders force police officials on each side to work together in bringing the murder spree to an end.

The show aired a few weeks ago and stars Diane Kruger (TroyInglourious Basterds) playing Det. Sonya Cross and Mexican actor Demián Bichir (Che, A Better Life, Savages) playing Det. Marco Ruiz. Kruger’s character has a minor form of autism, which causes her to be a cold, rational (some might say robotic) detective for El Paso PD. Detective Ruiz with the Chihuahua State Police is virtually her opposite: friendly, charming and compassionate. What the two share is a passion for their work and an antipathy toward corruption.

Besides the show’s addressing of immigrant issues and the soaring murder rate south of the border, what surprises me most is the lack of attention the show gets in the Latino media, or any media, for that matter. You would think that a show about the border, illegal immigration, Mexican drug cartels and the murder rate in Juárez compared to El Paso would garner some reaction from Americans of any background. I would’ve expected a show with plenty of Latino cast members who speak Spanish on screen almost half the time to see the Latino media buzzing.

And yet, I haven’t heard anything. I haven’t seen a Facebook post or a tweet. I haven’t seen the headlines of a review.

Actor Bichir has said the show will depict how life really is along the Texas-Chihuahua border, and just four episodes in, the show already has the feel of being both Latino and American without trying to be either. The scenes in Mexico, which are more than few, are shot entirely in Spanish — with English subtitles, of course. No group is stereotyped on either side of the bridge, and Det. Ruiz, a family man and a clean cop, is one of the two heroes. Though he may flaunt the law here and there, like attempting to break into a trailer without a warrant, he would never do something stereotypical of Mexican police officers like, say, accepting a bribe.

There’s shadiness among both the Mexicans and the Americans, however, and the serial killer keeps leaving messages asking one controversial question: Why is one white body worth more than 10 brown ones? referring to the high murder rate in Juárez and the low murder rate in El Paso. It’s an important question to ask, especially for Chicagoans. Because if the people of Chicago think America’s drug use and drug laws are ravaging their streets, they should see what it’s done to Juárez.

The people at FX have really tried to air a show that would reach out to Latinos and raise important issues, and it’s a shame that most of America — even Latinos — don’t know about the show or couldn’t care less about it.

I guess it’s not as sexy as Latinas in maid outfits or a Latina MILF living in a modern family.


[Photo: daveynin via Flickr]

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