Making a difference

This is my review of Borgen: Series 3 [DVD].

I have met someone who enjoyed `Borgen' starting with Series 3 Episode 9, but recommend watching this from the beginning of Series 1 to understand all the relationships and the context of events!

Promoting this as the last in a series of three is a strategy worthy of Birgitte Nyborg, leaving the audience wanting more yet with the door open for another series in the future, although enough loose ends have been tied to make a 'satisfactory ending'.

Birgitte opens Series 3 as a glamorous, jet-setting corporate executive with a suave English architect as her love interest, but disappointment over the loss of principle in the Moderate party and the addictive challenge of influencing events through negotiation lure her back into Danish politics. In the second major ongoing thread of the saga, the cynical and emotionally conflicted Kaspar Juul has perhaps unconvincingly left the cut and thrust of politics for the at times trivial world of the TV political chat show. Katrine Fønsmark, now the mother of his child, is excited by the risk of leaving her star role as TV presenter to act as Birgitte's new spin doctor.

The new series takes a few episodes to 'settle down', with the political twists delivered at the usual cracking pace, and too many scenes handled in short sound-bites as one struggles to catch both the subtitles and the actors' body language. It is sometimes as if the writers cannot bear to leave any angle uncovered. Once episodes begin to concentrate on fewer issues, such as the overuse of hormones in pork, or complex questions of immigration or the rights of sex workers, real `hot topics' in many European countries, the series improves.

It's a relief yet unnerving when the subtitles disappear and Birgitte begins to converse in flawless English, somehow changing her character in the process.

'Borgen' maintains its edge over most series by covering often in some depth a range of personal issues to at least some of which everyone can relate: a woman's problem in juggling a small child with a career, the ongoing intimacy or moments of jealousy after a relationship has officially ended, the strain of working with an ambitious young boss who wants to work in a different way.

Yes, this is essentially high class soap opera, but it is often moving, humorous or thought-provoking. Consistently entertaining, it avoids a conclusion that is either corny, oversentimental or predictable in its detailed outcomes.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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