An Autistic Character on “The Bridge”

I just started watching “The Bridge.”  I missed the first episode, so picked it up on episode two, and I am little more than half way into the episode.  I had read nothing about it, but noticed pretty quickly that the lead female character (in this episode, anyway), Sonya Cross (played by Diane Kruger), seems like she is a high functioning autistic (aka aspie).  So I put the episode on pause and searched online to see whether there is a discussion of this.  And voila, there is.

Emily Shire, writing at Salontitled her piece:

Finally, a realistic autistic character on television: FX’s “The Bridge” succeeds because detective Sonya Cross’s autism doesn’t define her character, or the series

She elaborates:

Since “Rain Man” premiered 25 years ago featuring an Academy Award-winning Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant with profitable memory recall, Hollywood has mined the entertainment possibilities of characters with autism… No one can accuse Hollywood of producing a shortage of characters on the autism spectrum, but how authentically the disorder is portrayed is another story.

I have been told I should check out the sit com “The Big Bang Theory,” but it looks like formulaic schlock from the commercials.  And of course there are main characters in “Bones,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” that I assume the writers and actor understand to be autistic, but at a minimum exhibit some markers that they are.

Shire continues:

While depictions of any sort of disabilities or special needs can often make a television episode feel like an unnaturally heartwarming bowl of saccharine, “The Bridge” makes Sonya’s autism one integral but hardly dominating element in a complex plot… In fact, no character ever states that Sonya has autism, leaving the viewer initially as puzzled by her behavior as her co-workers are.

Kruger posted about her character at Autism Speaks, explaining that she went “method” to learn how to play Detective Cross, and was introduced to:

Alex Plank, a very bright and charming young man with Aspergers. Alex allowed me into his world….unafraid of what I might ask or see, he is truly the reason I finally felt capable to become Sonya.  And then something else — I fell completely in love with Sonya.  I am so incredibly fond and protective of her and I want to show all of her colors and nuances to the best of my abilities.

OK, so maybe the show doesn’t get saccharine, but Kruger certainly has.

I’m not sure whether I’ll like the show, but as an aspie myself I look forward to the development of Detective Cross character.  Because our knowledge of the motor aspects of autism are so new and nascent I don’t expect her to exhibit that, but I’ll be watching to see if it shows up.


About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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2 Responses to An Autistic Character on “The Bridge”

  1. Pingback: Flirting and Other Social Advice for Aspies | Will Opines

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