This is my review of Borgen – Series 2 [DVD].
Although now established undeniably as a soap opera, Series 2 of Borgen is not afraid to tackle such issues as who should represent Denmark as an EU Commissioner, rejected as too dry by the compulsively odious Michael Laugesen, Editor of the tabloid rag "Ekspres". In a fast-moving tightly woven plot which manages to cover many issues, both political and domestic, we see Birgitte Nyborg both steelier, more calculating and ruthless as she gains experience in the exercise of power, but also personally more vulnerable in seeking excuses not to sign her divorce papers, unable to face up to the fact that her husband Philip wants a permanent split. The effect of this on their children is also handled sensitively.
A major parallel thread is the evolving relationship between the ambitious, idealistic journalist Katrine and the talented but emotionally scarred spin doctor Kaspar, who loses his emotional detachment when a right-wing move to reduce the age of criminal responsibility touches a raw nerve from his troubled past.
Although a few plot twists may seem implausible, this is absorbing drama, by turns tense, humorous and moving, with some interesting character development and consistently high standard of acting including at the level of minor characters, such as Birgitte's humourless PA who demonstrates that efficiency may count for less than empathy – serving Birgitte's long-suffering young son Magnus a bitter lemon – or the psychiatrist caught smoking in her private office to relieve tension.
Some of the political scenes are rushed through at a frenetic pace which proves hard to absorb via subtitles, and my opinion that "Borgen" is not a good advertisement for coalition government has not changed, but it has reinforced my respect for a small nation with an understandable pride in its essentially liberal-minded, progressive, democratic and egalitarian values.