The Bridge

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Bridge TV Poster Image
Canadian cop drama looks at the politics of police work.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show isn't out to convey specific positive messages or lessons; it takes a frank look at the complex nature of negotiating police work on the streets and at the station.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Officer Leo has the best interests of his division at heart. On the other hand, some storylines feature police corruption and brutality.


Guns are visible, and shots are sometimes fired. Weapons dealing and gang violence are frequently discussed. People are shown being hurt (hit by cars, hit, etc.), but bloody wounds aren't often visible. A police officer attempts suicide. A suspect dies while being tackled and cuffed. Police brutality is a theme of the show.


Prostitution is discussed; prostitutes are often witnesses to crimes. Officers are shown walking around in towels in the locker room. Flirting and making out are visible; one scene shows a man trying to remove a woman's blouse.


Words like “hell” are audible. The word “s--t” is muted out.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The officers frequently drink (beer, hard liquor) after hours. Drugs and drug gangs are frequently discussed, and drug paraphernalia is occasionally visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this Canadian crime drama frequently focuses on the political aspects of police work, guns are visible, and shots are sometimes fired. Crimes like weapons dealing, drug peddling, and gang violence are frequently discussed, and people are shown being hurt, though it doesn't get particularly graphic. The show tackles topics like police corruption and brutality, and there's plenty of interpersonal drama among the characters, too. Still, overall the series is milder than its U.S. counterparts.

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What's the story?

THE BRIDGE follows officer Frank Leo (Aaron Douglas) as he fights crime on both sides of a bridge that connects the wealthy and the poor in his jurisdiction. While he protects and serves the public, he also fights for the rights of his fellow officers as division union representative. In between patrolling the streets with his partner Tommy Dunn (Paul Popowich), he cultivates the support of commanding officers like Staff Sergeant Bernie Kantor (Frank Cassini) and Chief of Police Ed Wycoff (Michael Murphy). But being a union leader isn’t easy, especially when Leo has to deal with issues like brutality and corruption among the ranks, not to mention the politics of the upper brass. Luckily he has attorney Abby St. James (Ona Grauer) on his side.

Is it any good?

This Canadian police drama, which is loosely based on the life of former Toronto police union head Craig Bromell, mixes typical crime stories with the behind-the-scenes drama of police unions and administrative leadership. It also highlights some of the logistical and political issues that police officers have to deal with on a daily basis.

As is typical with most Canadian police dramas, the series isn't as gritty as many of its American counterparts. But there's still some strong content, including lots of drug activity. Some viewers may find the continual talk about the abuses of management -- as well as the depictions of police corruption -  uncomfortable. But overall, the show offers fans of cop dramas solid entertainment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what, if anything, makes this Canadian show different from U.S. police/crime dramas. How does the amount of violence compare?

  • How does the media contribute to the way that people view police officers in real life? How do you think that police dramas impact the way that people view police officers in their communities? What about the kinds of things we see on police-themed reality shows?

TV details

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