Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Week's Bridge - The Unguarded Moment



Air Date: Friday, March 19th, 2010 @ 10pm on CTV (Canada)
Written By: Dannis Koromilas and John McFetridge
Director: Stuart Margolin

Episode Synopsis: A cop is badly wounded during a robbery at a restaurant and is held hostage along with the other customers. Frank is determined to get the cop out alive. But when the Chief orders the undermanned SWAT team to stand down, Frank has to convince the Sergeant in charge to go against the Chief’s orders. Frank quickly takes over as negotiator but when the thieves refuse to make any demands for money, the situation becomes even more bizarre. If the thieves don’t want money, what do they want? As Frank races against the clock, the wounded cop’s chances of survival are quickly diminishing right before his eyes.


All that is from CTV (although I got it - and the picture - from a very well-run Aaron Douglas fansite The Chief's Deck - where I get most of the information about The Bridge).

I was hoping to include the commercial for the episode, I caught it briefly on the TV in McDonalds while I was there with my kids but I haven't seen it again and it doesn't appear to be online anywhere.

Oh well, as it says, I co-wrote the episode with Dannis Koromilas, who developed the show. This episode in which a couple of cops are taken hostage during a robbery and one of them killed is, like many of The Bridge episodes, based on something that happened in Toronto.

It's a timely episode because just this week the killer has been granted, "temporary unescorted prison absences."

When we researched the story it was very emotional and complicated from a storytelling point of view. There were internal problems in the police department between the rank and file and the officers (which is what the whole series is about), there was a shift change during the hostage taking, there were personalities involved, inexperience, unknown elements inside the restaurant. And drugs were a very big factor.

It was a mess.

I wasn't in on all the details about the creation of The Bridge (well, I wasn't in on any of them, of course) but almost all the material we discussed in the beginning was complicated and difficult. We're all influenced by The Wire (and in my case by writing multiple POV novels) and we were eager to dive into the material.

But it's a network show, not cable, so it's more episodic. The kind of character development you see over a season of The Wire - where tensions between characters builds, where consequences take time to play out but you know they will - were played down in favour of 'crime of the week' stories.

Some people really like The Bridge, and I'm glad about that. Some people really don't. The National Post called it the first, "right-wing pro-union show."

And this review is worth reading: http://the-legion-of-decency.blogspot.com/2010/03/guy-with-movie-in-his-head.html

49 comments:

jimhenshaw said...

John,

Thanks for the kind words and the link. If there's a writer who can bring something unique and special to this series, it's you.

Best,

Jim Henshaw

John McFetridge said...

Thanks Jim, but I think my lack of experience in TV writing really showed. It was a learning experience, that's for sure ;)

meshel73 said...

John, I was going to send you the link to the entry on the Chief's Deck but I see you already have it :) I usually get the trailers from the CTV widget but there was no trailer on there this week.

~ Michelle

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