New TV series 'The Bridge' is Hollywood's latest view of the border

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by ANGELA KOCHERGA / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @AKochergaBorder

kvue.com

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 15 at 8:21 AM

EL PASO -- "The Bridge” is Hollywood's latest view of the border and has residents portrayed by Hollywood as troubled and violent on screen. The crime drama airing on FX is set in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.

“They portray it like it’s a really dangerous place, most of the movies I’ve seen,” said Brandon Cook, an El Paso resident.

Until now most of the images of the border have been on the big screen of lawmen in a lawless land.

In the 1982 film "The Border," Jack Nicholson plays a conflicted Border Patrol agent. In the movie trailer the announcer says, “Within every man there is a border. Once he crosses it, there’s no going back.”

In "Lone Star," a 1996 movie, a troubled sheriff tries to unravel a murder mystery in a region where bloodlines extend to both sides of the border.

In "No Country for Old Men," Tommy Lee Jones is a tired sheriff who has to cope with a violent cartel killer in the 2007 movie.

“It’s just all out war,” the West Texas sheriff laments as he describes the increasingly violent border.

The new series "The Bridge" adds a new twist to the border crime drama story line. A woman police detective in El Paso, played by Diane Kruger,  teams up with a police officer in Ciudad Juarez. Well-known Mexican actor Demian Bichir plays the Chihuahua State police officer investigating a serial murder case.

A body left in the middle of the international bridge that connects El Paso and Ciudad is at the center of their investigation.

“I think it’s going to be interesting,” said Ernesto Dominguez, an El Paso native. “I just hope it’s as close as possible as to what’s really going on here.”

Many who live on the border say up to now, Hollywood’s version has been borderline at best.

“The border in general, I don’t think they do it justice,” said Mike Murphy, who moved to El Paso 10 years ago.

His parents in Nebraska are often concerned for his safety.

“They worry about me getting shot in the middle of the city,” said Murphy.

For the third straight year, El Paso was ranked the safest large city of its size in the United States, according to research by Congressional Quarterly. 

“People who live in different parts of the country, they don’t realize El Paso is a lot safer than they think it is here,” said El Paso resident April Cook.

Just across the border in Ciudad Juarez, which had been Mexico's murder capital, the killings have declined sharply since a spike in violence a couple of years ago.

Though hopeful the new series will explore the complexity of the border, some residents have set  the bar low when it comes to Hollywood’s version of the border.

“As long as they don’t insult us, I’ll be okay with it,” said Michael Wyatt.

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