Borgen (TV Series 2010–2013) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
33 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Is Borgen convincing?
Nick Palmer9 February 2013
I'm a big fan of the series, but it probably helps that I'm the only British politician (I was an MP for 13 years) who grew up in Denmark. To complement rather than repeat the other reviews, a few words on how realistic it is.

The multi-party negotiations are entirely plausible - that's how Danish politics works, and there are parties that switch allies from time to time. The balance between idealism and scheming is also really well done - most British and American movies and TV series portray all politicians as ruthless power-mongers, but generally politicians like to think they're doing the right thing, just like anyone else. The character are recognisable types - in particular, the far-right leader is clearly modelled on Mogens Glistrup, the entertaining, folksy and erratic founder of the current Progress Party.

The series is maybe a bit weaker on the big political issues, since it has to tackle something complex in an hour, and an issue like Afghanistan can't really be analysed in any depth in that time. The episode on a thinly-veiled Sudan with the smooth, corrupt Northern leader and the plausible Southern leader with some uncomfortable views is gripping but stereotyped. But it works brilliantly with smaller issues, especially those that interweave with the private lives of the protagonists. Above all, it creates sympathetic yet flawed political figures with a non-political private life, so much more like real politicians than the one-dimensional figures that the media try to make us.
78 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Well sketched characters, excellent direction, topping pace.
irishsounds11 February 2012
I am not one to watch lengthy part series - not at all!! This one just grabbed me and held me tight. The Danes and Sweedish do quality TV, especially in casting and character direction. Compared to many US productions, where characters are often like cardboard cut-outs, this series gave us believable real live human people. Brilliant photography and beautiful direction.

The story too was very well crafted, looking deep into human behaviour, morals and ethics in power, and the consequences of actions taken.

It is a series I will watch again in the future, if just to enjoy the rich texture.

I highly commend the production team and recommend this excellent series.
43 out of 48 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An English view of a Danish political drama
Tweekums5 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Nine o'clock on Saturday night has become European drama night on BBC4; until now that means murder mysteries; a genre that works in any language. Borgen, the latest offering in this slot is different though; it is a political drama set in a system quite different to that which I am used to so I was initially sceptical about how interesting it would be. Thankfully the dramatic elements didn't require an understanding of the Danish political system and the political elements weren't hard to follow even though no time was wasted explaining the system. The series opens with an election where the surprise winner is Birgitte Nyborg Christensen, potentially Denmark's first female Prime Minister. She doesn't have an outright majority though so must deal with the various other parties to form a coalition. She does this but her majority is slim so when anything goes wrong her government is in danger. The series doesn't just deal with the parliamentary aspects of politics; the media also plays a large part of the series. For the media side of the story we follow reporter and newsreader Katrine Fønsmark, who conveniently used to be in a relationship with the PM's spin doctor Kasper Juul. Once Birgitte is PM the series is fairly episodic with each episode dealing with a different problem; there are some ongoing background stories and occasionally something we thought was dealt with earlier on comes back to effect characters; although as the series progresses her work begins to affect her marriage.

Having watched the first series I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it and look forward to the inevitable screening of further series. The stories are fairly engrossing and the main characters are all believable and interesting to watch; I was so engrossed that I forgot that I was watching a subtitled programme in a language I have no knowledge of. Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen and Johan Philip Asbæk who play lead characters Birgitte, Katrine and Kasper put in great performances and are ably supported the cast of quality secondary characters. I can't comment on how accurately the political system is portrayed but this certainly works as a drama for somebody that doesn't know the Danish system.
19 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Incredibly gripping, totally addictive, a TV series of absolute genius
robert-temple-111 February 2012
This is a review of Seasons One and Two (20 episodes). Season Three will commence transmission on Danish Television on March 1, 2013, so we all have a long time to wait for the continued episodes. The first thing that needs to be said is that Season Two is far more powerful, intense, and dramatic than Season One in terms of the personal stories of the main characters. These become incredibly harrowing and tragic, so that this series continues to deepen and become more profound as it goes along. This series exceeds the brilliance and captivating character of both THE KILLING and MAD MEN (see my reviews), so that Danish TV drama seems to be reaching a pinnacle of such excellence one can barely conceive of anything higher than this. The performances, the direction, the ingenious, bold and confrontational scripts, the cinematography, the editing, the production values, are all so superb that criticism of them is impossible. The characters are all played with such force and fervour, such intimacy and conviction, that I fear Danish actors have surpassed the British, who until now were the best in the world. The most sensitive and wide-ranging performance is by the young Danish actor Pilou Asbaek, who plays the Prime Minister's 'spin doctor' (yes, the Danes use that English phrase). Asbaek's acting is a miracle of perfection. His range of moods, his expressiveness, his eyes, his face, his changes of voice, go far beyond anything ever imagined by Lee Strasberg, and could be described perhaps as 'hyper-Method'. Nearly at the same level of perfection as Asbaek are the stunning and brilliant performances of the two female leads, Sidse Knudsen as the Prime Minister and Birgitte Sorensen as Katrine the journalist. These three should all win International Oscars if there were any justice in the world and such awards existed. There is never one instant in the approximately 20 hours of this series when any of these three is anything other than mesmeric. They come alive as characters with such vivacity and conviction that one has to have a cold shower and calm down before facing the sad fact that one does not really know them and that they are really fictitious characters played by actors. One night my wife lay awake worrying about them, because of their personal problems. That is how it gets you! I don't believe I have ever seen a television series of this total intensity in my lifetime. What is so extraordinary is the well-rounded nature of the characters, who are seen from all sides and in all moods. This is as far from cardboard cutouts as it is possible to get on screen. The borderline between television and reality is obliterated by this magnificent series. The scripts are so clever that there is not a second's peace, one is swept along as by a raging torrent of events. The camera-work, with lots of travelling shots following frantic people as they move from one crisis to another like rabbits running from a farmer's gun, is electric. Many desperate political issues are faced head-on with the confrontational insistence which goes way beyond 'in your face' and reaches the level of 'seared into your brain'. Nothing and no one is spared. Politicians are killed, resign, are annihilated, commit suicide, are humiliated and their reputations obliterated with the rapidity and relentlessness of soldiers in the World War One trenches. In this series, politics is war to such an extent that one marvels that Denmark still exists and has not disappeared from the map of the world due to all that strife. If ever there were an advertisement for avoiding proportional representation at all costs, this series is it. This shows coalition politics from the inside with all its viciousness, betrayal, immoral compromises, back room horse-trading, duplicity, insane ambition, and ruthless destruction of people. No American or British series would have dared go this far. The Danes will seemingly stop at nothing to show a kind of hyper-reality on screen, and they have entered some kind of higher dimension of truth. This is not drama, this is war. You name a controversial political issue or international dilemma, and it is there. (For instance, there is a double episode dealing with the Sudan situation, which in the series is called North and South Karhuna.) The things which are said on screen about Greenland are astounding, and in Britain would surely have led to libel, abuse, or other legal actions for years to come. This is so no-holds-barred that the absence of any referee means everybody gets it in the eye. Sidse Knudsen rises above all this violent melée as a kind of lonely, triumphant goddess. As Prime Minister she portrays decency more convincingly than anyone since Gregory Peck. Her horribly narcissistic and loathsome husband, who abandons her out of wounded vanity, is one of the most hateful screen characters in years. He is played with despicable, self-pitying candour by Mikael Birkkjaer. Their teenage daughter, who goes to pieces mentally under the strain, is brilliantly played by the young actress Freja Riemann. The little son is touching and perfect, played with enormous, soulful eyes by child actor Emil Poulsen. Soren Malling, the police partner of Sophie Grabol in THE KILLING, brilliantly plays the TV-1 News editor. One of the most poignant performances is by Lars Knutzon as Bent Sejro, the Prime Minister's mentor. The revolting political villain Laugesen is played with such gusto by Peter Mygind that one wants to wring his neck. But the most watchable, delightful, naughty, impish, ruthless, pathetic, adorable, hateful, chameleon-like character of all is the compulsively magnetic and beautiful Birgitte Sorensen. 'Borgen' is the nickname of the Danish Parliament building (Christiansborg), just as Americans call Congress 'the Hill' and the British call Parliament 'Westminster'. This series is about courage and conviction carried to their ultimate limits, just as the production itself is drama carried to its ultimate perfection.
69 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Intense- Classy- Great Dialogue and Acting
sam fox10 March 2012
We all know a great TV show when we see one and this one is a great one. I am so tired of American drama that seems to all be written by one crew and all has one plot of killing a person then trying to figure out who did it. Borgen has gripping dramatic plots that is accentuated by great acting. The acting is intense and spectacular, and you have to see it to believe it. The dialogue is well written and the scenes are addictive and gripping. And no commercials or loud sickening music that is needed to keep the audience watching most of the cheesy American TV series. All the characters have there own personalities and show a sense of individualism that is so very refreshing.
40 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Most likely the best political television series ever made...
PGMHeuts30 May 2012
It is just impossible for me to find the words to describe this Danish television series. It gives an incredible in-depth (and probably honest) view of politics, one you have never experienced before. After watching the first season of this show, one is already deeply impressed by the acting and the story line. Guess what: season two even beats season one. The private life of prime minister Birgitte Nyborg gets a more important part. Young actress Freja Riemann is magnificent as her daughter Laura. Also the other actors are of extremely high standards. To mention a few: of course there are Sidse Babett Knudsen (as Birgitte Nyborg), Johan Philip Asbæk (as Kasper Juul) and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen (as Katrine Fønsmark) in the leading roles, but smaller roles - showing great acting - are played by Ole Thestrup (as right wing politician Svend Åge Saltum) and Peter Mygind (as the chief of the tabloid - low quality - newspaper Ekspress). Television can not get much better than this. I'll be looking forward to the third season as I've never been looking forward to any television series' next season before. This series is an absolute must- see!
29 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the best shows I've ever seen
ludvikjahn19821 November 2013
I've always liked Danish cinema: the properly written stories, the superb acting and the well developed turns which yet do not seem unbelievable. Having been curios whether the quality I got used to can be attainable in a television show I decided to give Borgen a chance. Now I wish I didn't : I unfortunately became addicted. :) Since others wrote so many things about the first 20 episodes I wish just to continue focusing on the last 10.

I have to admit that I was really afraid of watching the third season. Having read unfavorable opinions I just did not want to spoil the satisfaction which I felt on finishing the second one. But seemingly against all odds I got deeply impressed again. Surely, politics and real world problems occupy sometimes a too big stake with questions getting debated on at a speed one can not easily follow, but the characters remained likable, flesh and blood, and the screenplay do not let them down. Sidse Babett Knudsen's performance is impeccable as always and Brigitte's way towards inventing herself again in politics as well as in personal life provides enough fuel for the story. I can imagine that Danish viewers find some detail exaggerated or too shallow, the presented relations or roles too embellished compared to the reality and the style on some places preaching but I just live in a country where the quality of the politics and the media is extremely low, the people vested with high positions can hardly be revered and the decisions made on governmental level are too often arbitrary. It was therefore interesting to see that there are places where this sector can be approached without any chance of laughter coming from the other side.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Political dynamite
jc-osms6 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
At last, a TV drama worth watching. I came to "Borgen" on the back of good advance word and in the wake of other Scadinavian successes like "The Killing" and "Wallander" and wasn't disappointed. Excellently written and with a universal relevance and resonance in the political story lines (sleaze, corruption, foreign intrigue, political in-fighting etc), particularly considering Britain's own current coalition government took office about the same time the series was first produced. It all seemed real to me, the sets, the dialogue, the story lines as well as the portrayal of the different characters. Spread over 10 hour-long episodes afforded ample opportunity to get inside the skin of these characters and follow their development. Yes, one or two of the plot developments have the faint whiff of contrivance (the child abuse of spin-doctor Marcus, the marital problems of the Prime Minister and the rebelliousness of investigative reporter Kirsten) but the clever plotting and idiomatic dialogue keep it grounded. Each episode is different but linked thematically which invites continuity. The acting is superb, especially the three leads mentioned above. Good titles and theme music too!
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
High quality viewing experience
xeverin6 February 2012
I have seen series one (i.e. episodes 1-10).

This drama portrays the parallel developments in the formation of a new government in Denmark, and the activities of the major TV company TV1 where we see the newsroom. In each case there is a strong female lead seeking to balance the demands of ethics and principle, against the realities of their day-to-day working lives. There is also considerable coverage of how the demands of politics affects the home life of the first female prime minister.

The spin doctor character provides a direct link between these two worlds (as the PM's adviser, and as the ex-boyfriend of the journalist).

The writing was very sharp (perhaps particularly in the first half of the series). I don't think the political elements are as unrealistic as some seem to be claiming, but neither is it a documentary and clearly some aspects ring more true than others. The episode concerning Greenland I know had many people reaching for information about that topic.

Appointment viewing for the 5 weeks over which it was shown in the UK.
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
It cannot get better than this?
Les Phillips16 February 2012
I have so enjoyed "The Wire", "The Sopranos" and "The Killing" to name a few, that I absolutely had to post this, my first review. Borgen is totally absorbing.

The human characterisation is immense and is simply the best (in my opinion) series, film, broadcast I have ever seen. Thank goodness for subtitles!

It is a fascinating insight into how government works in a democratic society and how it "maybe" deals with so many issues that affect us all. If you hate politics and politicians, this series will temper your feelings. My scepticism and my cynicism towards government will not be as entrenched as it has been having seen this production.

Superb acting by all the cast. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Credible and fascinating insight into Danish politics
Emil Bakkum17 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Danish TV series Borgen describes the professional and personal lives of the ministers in a Danish cabinet, with a heavy focus on the prime minister Birgitte Nyborg. The theme fascinates me, since I am a political (unpaid, of course apart from the personal satisfaction) activist myself. It is easy to empathize with the main characters, since the political system and culture in Denmark and the Netherlands (my native land, located in the northwest of Europe, in the immediate vicinity of Denmark) are comparable. Be aware that the cultural aspect may pose some problems for viewers, who are used to the presidential system. The role of a prime minister in a coalition is significantly different from the role of for instance the American or French president. Borgen is made for the patient ones. With ten episodes of 55 minutes each you need to invest a full nine hours of your precious own time. Personally I enjoyed every minute of it. The reason is twofold. First, although to many people politics may seem to be boring, it is actually a world of fantasy and suspense. Beneath the efforts of the politicians to look just like common people lie professional skills of bonding, representing, managing, and yes especially competing. Outsiders who enter this world, even when they come from a business environment, are often amazed at the shallowness of the personal relations. It is a battle - with the annotation that the winners and losers are not really persons, but cliques. The leader of each clique is powerful, but also the instrument of his clique. He or she needs to be exceptionally dedicated and focused. In the end the leader considers himself (not the program of his clique) to be the solution to the political questions. This is the topic of the series Borgen: the transformation of a fairly warmhearted woman (Nyborg) into a hard-hearted prime minister. Power is addicting. During the process she even accepts the disintegration of her own family. It makes her mad, but her personality has become too self-centered to leave room for doubt. The second reason for my appreciation of Borgen is the high credibility of all of the events in the script. Each of the ten episodes has its own little tale of an urgent political affair. I consider myself to have a good insight into political life, and can find essentially no faults in each of the tales. They concentrate on the management of the affairs by the cabinet, in particular by the prime minister. Therefore much attention is paid to the contacts with the media. To sum up just a few of the affairs: a bugging scandal (sounds familiar to you?), blackmail by a foreign dictator, allegations of corruption, conflicts with the business community, violation of human rights (...?). This series is truly above-average. Since I find critique always more interesting than praise, here are some comments. Episode 2: I find the speech of Nyborg at the final election debate futile and childish. Episode 6: the cabinet almost succumbs to the threat of a dictator to cancel a large industrial order by a dictator. Why? Politicians will always give the highest priority to their own reputation, and an industrial backlash does them little harm. Episode 9: Nyborg forces her husband to resign from a job, that might damage her reputation. Of course this is thinkable, but here we surpass the limits of humanity. Episode 10: Because of opinion polls Nyborg decides to change the distribution of ministers in her cabinet. In reality politicians attach little value to polls. If you like stories such as this one, consider reading my other reviews.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fictional political TV-show, which focus in the human aspects of the life of politicians
Weiter-reviews14 November 2011
The show follows the newly elected Prime minister of Denmark Birgitte Nyborg and her Spin- doctor Kasper Juhl. While the first season was criticized for being a far cry away from any realistic depiction of politics, the second season have climbed to be a great story about the life of politicians in Denmark. While the drama is sometimes is exaggerated compared to that of real-life (which is to be expected) the stories are however quite believable as many of the themes are inspired by true stories and problems Denmark's politicians have faced during the last 20 years. While the characters went from stereo-types in season 1, many of them have grown into dynamic believable characters in the second installment. If one can survive the pretentious opening titles and the dumb-wise Machiavellian quotes, the sopping drama from time to time, especially in the first run, second season we offer a rich and engaging story which must be applaud for its eminent storytelling and drama which is both entertaining and relevant for anyone interested in politics. Also one should not forget that this is a drama, not a depiction of real politics in the traditional sense, but is much more focused on the human cost and complications of being a politician. Cliché? perhaps but it's still being well executed. A fine 7/10 is rightly awarded here.
26 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A little slick, but still riveting
paul2001sw-18 February 2012
The international success of Danish political-crime thriller 'The Killing' perhaps played a major part in the UK screening of 'Borgen', a drama set entirely within the Danish parliament. And the two shows have something in common, in their relatively unhysterical portrayal of political life (and for U.K. viewers, an intriguing insight into how a political system might evolve when locked in a state of permanent minority or coalition government). I loved the wheeling and dealing in both series, but (aside from the lack of a killing alongside the politics in 'Borgen') there are differences. In short, Borgen, with its fantasy liberal prime minister, beautiful people, and stories wrapped up in self-contained episodes, is just a little bit slicker than 'The Killing' was; and I don't mean that as a compliment. But this is comparing it to a very high standard. There's still some good acting, some clever scripting, and a subtle portrayal of the increasing loneliness of life at the top: you can imagine that this is the way that government really is run (although perhaps the programme also tells us something about how the Danes would like to perceive themselves: 'The Thick of It' could not have been more different but also rang true, and I can't believe that Danish government is so utterly different from that in the UK). It's still riveting entertainment; and moreover, seems to have anticipated the actual outcome of the recent Danish election.
13 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Politics, policies and the cost of power
Swayamdeep Singh25 February 2015
Borgen is a political drama about a female party leader Birgette Nyborg who becomes Denmark's prime minister. This show is quite different from top political TV shows like House of cards and VEEP. I love VEEP and HOC, but both of them give a very cynical view of political players. Politicians in Borgen are not just power hungry individuals who just want to grab more power. They push policies for the good of the Danes and according to their party's ideologies. Birgette Nyborg is a principled politician with shrewd political craftsmanship. She is an idealist and tries to hold on to her ethical value as long as she can.

Borgen brilliantly captures the alienation at the top and the personal cost of power. Politics is one part of the script, personal life of prime minister is another. Focus on personal issues adds another layer to the brilliant drama. In HOC power corrupts and corrupts, in Borgen power isolates and isolates. Underwoods don't have children, so they don't have much to worry about their family. Birgette has a family with young children. But finding time for family when you are running a country is difficult. Slowly idealist Birgette not only gets isolated in the parliament, but in her home too. A situation perfectly summed up by her friend and close aide Bent Serjo : "It's a terrible contradiction. In parliament we fight for the modern family where both parents work. But for a MP's marriage to work, the spouse has to stay home."

"A government pursues policies necessary for its survival."-Lars Hesselboe, Birgette's predecessor. Borgen is a show about politics and policies which brings out the nuances of multi party politics. It depicts how difficult it is to achieve political consensus for passing a policy. Birgette grows into the role of prime ministers. Amidst all the politics, she keeps in sight the need of Danes and keeps pushing the policies in which she believes. She works hard to handle the political tightrope of coalition government. Different parties have different agendas which are usually polar opposite of each other. Ministries are allotted to different coalition members, who keep fighting for more influential posts. Voting on key issues becomes complex. Sometimes coalition members don't support and Birgette has to cut a deal with the opposition. Opposition does not let go any chance to twist government's arm to slip their own agendas into policies.

Denmark has a grueling media which includes sleazy tabloids and investigative journalists who bring out the "real news". Birgette has got Kasper Juul , her spin doctor to manage the media. She makes the policies and he sells them. Borgen has its share of political thrills. Both are always working overtime to save the government from being outvoted in parliament. Sometimes Kasper feeds information to his ex-girlfriend Katrine Fonsmark. Like Birgitte , she is an idealist . She tries to strike a balance between ethics of journalism and demands of TV executives.

The biggest strength of this show is the impeccable script. Every single episode has something different to offer. Dialogues are good. Political intricacies and intricacy of ethics is exceptionally handled. In 10 episodes, it covers variety of political issues like immigration, foreign intervention, autonomy to states, security issues, corruption in defense projects, etc. We get to see dirty tricks like smear campaign, power bluff, and wheeling dealings. Halfway through the season, focus shifts from office to home of the prime minister. There is a different mood from there on. As series moves towards its final episodes, more information about characters personal lives are revealed. From political issues to personal, a lot has to be covered in one hour episode. The way script handles all of these plots and subplots is brilliant. The incredible script is complimented by the brilliant performances from the cast, specially Sidse Babett Knudsen (Birgette Nyborg), Birgitte Hjort Sorenson (Kristine ) and Johan Philip Asbek (Kasper).

Borgen is a work of fiction. It is not real and it is not supposed to be. But it is definitely more realistic than any other political TV series. If you are into political dramas, do yourself a favour and watch it. An exquisite political drama with a multi-layered script. 10/10
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Surprising Find, A Definite Masterpiece
I didn't watch the West Wings (Sorkin's style annoys me), so understandably I feel equally lukewarm towards the ADHD fast-talk-fest of Newsroom. I can't stand House of Card's format with Spacey talking at the audience. I find Veep funny but repetitious. All of which my wonky other half watch with glee. I watch Scandal, yes, but Scandal is not a pure political drama, but a fast-paced raunchy fashion show soap opera with spin-doctoring toppings. So basically, a political drama has to be really exceptional to keep me.

Borgen, is close to being a PERFECT work of its genre, AND as a dramatic piece of work. All the right ingredients - the casting, the framing, the setting-up, the tension, the exposition of complicated back stories, the pacing, the editing, the continuity, the humanity, the suspense, the humor, the angst... Sleek, non-preachy, lots of culturally-specific yet totally relate-able pains and joy, just the right depth, just the right amount, to keep the interest, to surprise one later on. Lots of reference to US political history, edu-taining snippets of where Denmark is in the scheme of European politics. But also enough heart-breaking yet un-sentimentalized domestic drama and complicated yet un-cheesy romantic entanglement to allow for intimate connection with the key characters. My only complaint is (I'm only at 2nd season start) the obviously alpha-female leading lady is emotionally too wimpy when dealing with matters of the heart, and the improbability of a head of state of a rich nation having no government-paid nanny or private tutor for her kids.

But overall, delivery and the cast performance is as sleek and smooth as the spin doctoring in the story, qualities this genre calls for.

I just heard American TV (HBO?) is looking into adaptation. But of course. I hope this adaptation will be as good and 'true' as my current most favorite US TV show, another adaptation - of the Swedish work, The Killing. What's with these Scandinavians. They write exceptionally effective TV shows. Congrats, anyhow, the Danes.

Highly recommended, for the political/ legal/ media drama sort. Totally worth the extra step of reading English subtitles.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great acting, good overall plot, trivial subplots
signemarie8 January 2012
This a review of the entire series to date (season 1+2).

The series itself is a fictional portrait of Danish politics channeled through two interacting plot lines, one taking place in the PMs office, one in the press room. First (and major) one follows Birgitte Nyborg, a small-party leader who is suddenly most likely to become Denmarks new Prime Minister despite never running for the position. Second plot line follows young ambitious reporter, Katrine Fønsmark and her struggle to balance ambition with ethics when her ex-boyfriend (who may or may not still be in love with her) is declared PMs new chief of communication.

I really enjoyed the first 4 or 5 episodes and if I were to review them alone, they'd get an 8 from me. Unfortunately, somewhere in mid 1st season plot lines become trivial and predictable and at the same time, well-rounded characters are pushed into boring stereotypes.

The series regain some of its nerve in 2nd season when focus is more on the life of a PM than parliament intrigues, but making a sub plot more interesting doesn't save the main plot from drowning.

To me, this started out great, lost its breath, regained it a little and then remained mediocre for the rest of the episodes. To those of you expecting something as gripping and entertaining as Forbrydelsen, Borgen is likely to disappoint despite great acting performances especially by Sidse Babett Knudsen (as Birgitte Nymark), Pilou Asbæk (as Kasper Juul) and Peter Mygind (as Laugesen).

And, bonus info to all of you wondering if it is indeed possible that the leader of a small party could suddenly find herself in the situation that Birgitte Nyborg does: Short answer is yes. It hasn't happened yet, but technically it's possible.
15 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Borgen - brilliant
barbharmel3 August 2013
Borgen is a superb TV series, topical issues, political intrigue, terrific actors. The political shifts are totally credible. The development of characters in this series is truly impressive. They're rounded out, they have real depth. This is true not only of the central characters but the more minor ones too. The relationship between the media and high office is also convincingly portrayed. The way in which personal lives are impacted - particularly of course that of the Prime Minister's - has real emotional charge. BUT - and this is so important!: what on earth happened to the person responsible for sub-titles in English in Series 2? This is absolutely appalling,almost impossible to follow the story line without the subtitles. How did this go out without anyone spotting it? A really shocking flaw in so marvellous a production.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Highly entertaining
fiona_r_lamb9 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I have just finished watching the first series on Canadian television, TVO, and even though it took me a while to get hooked I am now. I do hope we get the second and third series as well.

Such a bunch of interesting characters and situations. I used to work in a newsroom of a newspaper so the media scenes are utterly captivating. The episode that jumped out at me was when it focused on Denmark's relationship with Greenland. It reminded me a little of Canada's dealings with the natives who live in northern Canada.

The writers need to be commended for their great work, as do the cast. Wonderful show and I REALLY hope the Americans do not remake it as they did with The Killing.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Danish Political Drama
George Wright14 July 2015
After watching the sixth episode of this series, I continue to be impressed with the political drama with its impact on family and personal relationships and excellent script. As a close political observer, I can totally sympathize with the prime minister whose personal integrity shines; however, she has to balance the policies of her left of centre party with the realities of government. No easy chore, given the nature of coalition politics that she must navigate. It is set in Denmark, but the uneasy alliance is typical of minority Parliaments we have seen in Canada as well as the standoffs in the United States between Presidents and Congress. Denmark is a nation committed to democracy so the conflicts and characters ring familiar but the drama is every bit as evident as The West Wing or Madam Secretary. The language transmits well with the captioning of the wit and repartee that is a strong part of the script. The prime minister's aide is a political spin artist who creates the talking points for every controversial decision. In the meantime, he is caught up in a serious relationship with one of the nation's leading television journalists, a sub-plot that is also fraught with personal pitfalls and the need for objectivity. The relationship of the prime minister with her family is very moving and the viewer realizes the sacrifices that are part of being a public figure and how family and public life are on a constant collision course. She manages her personal life very well, just as she manages the political fallout from being in a position of power. The prime minister has amazing wisdom and grace but one can imagine how gruelling the life can be. Her husband is as committed to her and her politics as any man could be. It takes a toll however. For example, having to sell his shares in a wind energy investment that is about to take a big jump on news that the government is on the verge of a major breakthrough. He and the Prime Minister are able to make the compromises necessary to ensure their marriage. When her father comes to visit, and lonely after a recent divorce, she is the one who has to let him know when it's time to leave. All in all, this classic television show highlights in a realistic and entertaining way the management of political and personal conflict and the daily drama of the people caught up in a life in politics.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Danes bring home the bacon with Borgen. Sidse Babett Knudsen gets my vote
midgejam2 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Just finished watching season one of Borgen. I previously watched Bron/Broen and was captivated by the quality of script, acting and production. I thought I would give Borgen a try but was nearly put off by the political theme which I thought would be less gripping than murder as a focus. I need not have worried. Fortunately the same standards of script and production and maybe even better acting continue. I was particularly impressed by Sidse Babett Knudsen in the role of Prime Minister who can convey such deep emotion with mere facial expressions. I really felt her joys and her sadnesses and began to forget that this is a fictional character. I highly recommend this series which would be unmissable for her performance alone but which is a must see for so many other reasons too.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Best in television drama!
laokontas6 October 2014
The Title Says It All!

It is one of the best TV-dramas and it's sure the best political drama of all times!It is sadly only 30 episodes (10 per season) but it's still one of the best.I don't want to spoil anything so i tell you only this:

It's the story of politician Birgitte Nyborg who unexpectedly becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark

That's all you need to know before watching this!

Borgen takes a far subtler and more beguiling view of people and political relationships, even though it is shown with subtitles and is almost impossible to find on screen...
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Yes, it is the best ever
RolyRoly28 March 2016
Having devoted two weekends to immersing myself in Borgen, I can only echo the pervasive sentiment here that this is the best political and media drama series ever made. No need for political rivals to be shoved under subway trains to sustain dramatic tension. No one-dimensional heroes and villains. Borgen achieves the almost inconceivable (at least from an American vantage point) by taking complex (Sudan) and even arcane (pig farming?!) political issues and presenting them with as much nuance as a 1-hour TV episode can allow.

The degree to which Borgen can interweave politics, journalism (TV and newspaper) and human drama is extraordinary. The characters are all complex, all flawed (as we all are) and almost all sympathetic, even when they are at their worst. The writing is sophisticated, leavened by the right amount of humour.

And the acting is uniformly first rate. It is unfair to single out just one from an extraordinary cast, but Sidse Babett Knudsen, as Birgitte Nyborg, really does merit some kind of lifetime achievement award for her role. I'm not damning with faint praise when I say that she is the most believable politician that I have ever seen portrayed on screen.

By the end of the third season I was genuinely saddened to think that we'll never see these immensely interesting characters again.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the best shows I have ever seen
jk-692-23639418 September 2014
I was impressed with this show. I could not get enough of it. I felt like it was so well done and I learned about politics and a political system I knew nothing about before. There is something thrilling to me to watch a show from another country and know nothing about the actors and also having never seen any of them before. It made it very enjoyable to me. I feel like in America we have this shallow culture of fame which includes no talent people who just chase notoriety. Then when they think they are famous they start telling us how to live our life and vote or what to eat and drive etc.. Please keep your personal beliefs and personal life to yourself so I can enjoy your acting. It feels like in other smaller countries or countries where the government pays for the shows, the actors are just working actors vs.fame chasing. The downside is often shows I like from other countries never get more than one season. Anyway I would love to see the lead actress, Sidse Babett Knudsen in more things. She is great in this and charismatic to watch. I was bummed out when the show ended. I felt like it could of gone on a few more seasons. Very very good show.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
It was amazing ride for about two thirds of the road and few steps more but sadly ended in flames
andelko200126 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I just finished watching third season of this extraordinary series. At least that was the premise based on what I saw in first two seasons and that is where my great expectations were lying while I was waiting for third season to get aired. To my great regret, last of this very promising work, promising in sense of iconic status that could have get, faded away in most of aspects that harvested deserved praises with first two installments.

It was believable despite I am not such an expert in high politics to back my opinion up. Borgen was driven in very attractive way that I almost couldn't stop watching. Since I can call myself very demanding watcher who rarely get satisfaction in this age of half-baked TV and cinema products the one could expect I'd find fault in first two seasons. Maybe there were some, but I didn't notice or I was just too amused and amazed by such a piece of good work. But last season was in many ways contrasted to that impression. Feeling of recycled is very present. From private relations to relations in political arena. And I don't mean about what is part of that life by default. I meant about almost copied events and outcomes. One of characteristics that adorns those not so well written shows is writer's indecisiveness where to put characters, where to lead them and how to end it with very visible point where they took u-turn and so suddenly changed pitch of whole relationship. Characters that are there and then they are not, without giving any plausible explanation.

To cut this story short, what bought me before was absent now. Where I couldn't have found holes now I found too many. Scent of Rocky 3, 4 and 5 in sense of childish fairytale euphoria or 'Dark Knight rises' in sense of predictability and kiddish execution I get from these ten episodes doesn't help either.That is said by someone who was very prone to recommend this series. Now, well, I won't stop people from having a look but I, for sure, won't recommend or push as I did, before I watched third season.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I liked Borgan, but didn't flat out love it. Is something wrong with me? (mild spoilers in 2nd to last paragraph)
runamokprods12 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I liked Borgen, respected it, enjoyed it. But I didn't LOVE it, as opposed seemingly everyone in the universe (OK I found one Luke-warm review out of about 20 by major outlet writers - the rest were flat out raves). My wife loved it. My friends. So maybe I need to see it again? But 30 hours is a big investment in something that didn't blow me out of my chair.

It's about Danish politics, and the almost accidental rise of one woman - Brigitte Nyborg - a member of one of Denmark's 8 parties to the role of Prime Minister – after her less- pragmatic, better known male rivals self-destruct. It followers her, and those around her -- her team, the press, her political rivals -- as they try to stay balanced in the always choppy and morally confusing world of politics.

There's no question the show is extremely well acted. And the characters cover a wide range of jobs, temperaments, levels of honesty and ethics, while almost all remaining human beings (I do wish the leader of the far right party wasn't quite such a cartoon). The human problems the lead character faces as the pressure of high office takes its tolls on both her family and her ethics are believable and moving. And I loved that all the major characters are allowed to be flawed and make bad decisions while still being treated as decent people at heart.

Yet, for me there was something a bit too neat, a bit too old-school in the show's 'crisis of the week' approach, where almost every episode sometimes wildly complex political issues and situations manage to get resolved. While the personal issues are allowed to work in a more serialized way, evolving slowly over time, I don't love how the show pushes to close the book on a brand new political crisis almost every episode. It leads the show to need sudden convenient twists that can feel melodramatic at times, and sometimes makes our heroine just a little too perfect, a little too much smarter than everyone in the room for me to buy it.

Warning: mild, general spoilers for the 3rd season ahead

In the series' 3rd (and last) season, there was, for me, some compromise of what had seemed the show's own moral core. While I applaud the idea -- so lost in the US -- that effective politics is largely about pragmatism and compromise, in the show's 3rd season it starts to feel like Brigitte has become ALL about pragmatism and compromise to get what she wants , and that the show itself isn't seriously challenging her shift. Without some ideological, moral core I found it harder to care who won out. There is a clever last second reprieve that solves the problem to a certain extent. But I spent a lot of the last season feeling increasingly uncomfortable that the series itself DIDN'T seem to be uncomfortable, as it's heroine increasingly seemed a woman whose talents were exploiting the political machinery as an end in itself -- without deeply, critically questioning her character, or making us face the intriguing but uncomfortable possibility that perhaps she isn't the truly good hearted, nobly intended politician we all wished for, and that she had always seemed to be.

None-the-less, a LOT is good in the show, and given it's near universal enthusiastic embrace (and the fact I certainly quite liked it, even if I didn't love it) I may just be forced to hang onto my blu-ray set, and one day give it another go.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews