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TV Review: Borgen

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This review contains spoilers.

borgen01_hrBorgen would be my guilty pleasure, but I do not attempt to hide my love for it. It's produced by the same company as The Killing, so if you have ever seen that crime drama you can imagine how good Borgen will be! Borgen is a Danish political drama - imagine The West Wing but with beautiful scenery and sultry Scandinavian accents - which focuses on the life of the leader of Moderate party, Birgitte Nyborg, who will become Denmark's first female Statsminster (or prime minster). It concentrates both on her political struggles with other parties, unruly members of her own side and parliament, as well as showing how becoming the Statsminster impacts her life at home. Furthermore, it observes four other characters - Torben Friis, Head of News for a TV channel, Katrine Fonsmark, reporter on the afore-mentioned TV channel, Kasper Juul, Birgitte's spin doctor, and Bent Serjo, Birgitte's closest ally and finance minister.

Don't worry if you know little about the Danish political system - my housemate tried to use this as a reason for not watching it - it's all well explained in the show. The first episodes of the original series cover an election so you get a feel for how they vote and what each party stands for. The subsequent episodes then focus on Birgitte's being in power and what that is like in a country that always has a coalition. I thought this was particularly interesting as it came out near the beginning of our current government. I will say no more - go and use that hour you spend procrastinating on Facebook whilst stalking old friends for no good reason to watch the first series. You never know, you may become addicted like me!

So onto the new, much awaited series! At the beginning of the episode we are reminded that Birgitte Nyborg has left politics by showing her in business meetings in Hong Kong. I thought this was a really good way to approach it and is very typical of Scandinavian dramas. This highlights that this series will continue with the same method, which is definitely a good thing. Another coherence is that the same 4 characters are still focused on. I really liked this as you want to see their development as well as Birgitte's. The viewer then experiences the revolution in Birgitte's mind about her involvement in politics as she slowly realizes that its new leader, Jacob Kruse, is destroying her beloved Moderate's party. The rest of the episode then focuses on her failed attempt to win back the leadership. It is made clear at the end that Birgitte will not give up though. But what will her next step be? Borgen leaves you desperate to know what happens next.

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