Borgen: The Complete First Season DVD Review



Review by Robert W. Monk | Released on DVD February 6, 2012

Following hot on the heels of The Killing, one of Denmark’s most feted televisual exports, comes this enlightening and thoroughly entertaining look into the tangled world of Danish politics. Borgen – literally translated as ‘the fortress’, Denmark’s nick name for their seat of government – follows Birgitte Nyborg, (Sidse Babett Knudsen) the leader of a small political party, who unexpectedly wins election to power.

The series uncovers intrigue after intrigue, with the focus being not only upon Nyborg and her husband Philip – played with restrained stress by Mikael Birkkjaer – but also the news team of channel TV-1, most notably star presenter Katrine Fønsmark and her troubled history with spin-doctor supreme Kasper Juhl (Johan Philip Asbaek).

The non-politically minded need not worry (although as one character quite rightly points out, politics is everything in this world) as the show concentrates just as much on the goings on and home as it does in the offices of power. The strain on personal relationships is explored in resolutely sympathetic fashion, and the audience is never in danger of forgetting that the principal players are all too human, with all the frailties and weaknesses that that condition implies.

Borgen is a high quality piece of television drama – acting, writing and directing is universally top notch. Plot lines move along at a good pace and the script is full of insightful cultural nuggets that add an extra dimension for the non-Danish audience. All in all though, the surest test for work such as this is the ‘addiction’ test – does it leave you wanting more? The answer, shouted to a rapturous crowd, is a resounding ja!

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