Character of the week: Martin Rohde

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Martin Rohde is a detective for the Copenhagen Police and, to an outsider, could seem to be a laid back, friendly, family man. Martin is, in fact, incredibly passionate about his job, thriving on the chaotic and frenzied environment in his police department. That is, until he becomes part of a bi-national investigatory team and must work with the rather unusual Detective Saga Nøren. Their personalities clash at first, but could they actually have traits which perfectly complement one another?

It’s difficult to find an on-screen professional couple whose relationship is purely platonic – most of them get together at some point, even if it’s just for the briefest of romantic encounters. But Saga holds no attraction for Martin; in fact, he is married to Mette, his second wife, and has four children, making him very much unavailable for romance. Or so it would seem.

After an unexpected departmental infidelity, Martin slowly begins to reconnect with Mette, finally realising he has a lot more to lose than he once thought. His feelings of regret and remorse are exacerbated when his family is put in danger, and when tragedy strikes, Martin’s troubles return, his paranoia festers, and Saga begins to suspect the worst.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Martin is that he shares qualities with some of the flawed characters around him. Throughout the series, the boundaries between law enforcement and law breaking can be blurred, and it is not always easy to discern what distinguishes him from the schemers he encounters. Like taking justice into their own hands and making a mess in the process, conflating violence with justice, and, most worryingly, suffering a somewhat dysfunctional family life as the result of psychological damage. When all these traits are laid out one-by-one, it can seem that the only thing separating Martin from the criminals is his police badge.

At the time of writing it is unknown whether we shall see Martin again in season 3, but for the time being we can only appreciate what an outstanding character Martin is, and enjoy his complicated but entertaining relationship with Saga.

Actors Kim Bodnia and Saga Noren talk about their fascinating characters at Nordicana 2014.

Purchase both seasons of The Bridge here.