When the Danish political drama Borgen returned after 10 years with a fourth season, the appropriate title Borgen: Power and Glory was given to the entire season. This fascinating drama has always been about what it takes to get and keep power. Sidse Babett Knudsen returned in her role as political powerhouse Birgitte Nyborg.
In Borgen: Power and Glory, Birgitte Nyborg has a Ministry job. She and the new Prime Minster, Signe Kragh (Johanne Louise Schmidt), struggle to learn to work together and stop stabbing each other in the back. The overarching storyline in the season forces them to cooperate.
Oil is discovered in Greenland. Birgitte’s immediate reaction as a member of the New Democratic party is that Greenland can’t be allowed to develop it because of Denmark’s commitment to climate change mitigation. Since her Ministry is the one that will decide what happens, her stance is immediately attacked on all sides.
Hans (Svend Hardenberg), from Greenland, wants the development and all the billions of dollars that come with it. He wants it to finally give Greenland their independence from Denmark. Many Danes want the money the development will bring. They learn the Canadian company doing the drilling is partly owned by a Russian mafia bigwig. The Chinese buy into it. The Americans want a say in what happens, too.
All that global maneuvering combined with threats to her job, make Birgitte change her stance and support the development of the oil. It’s not the first time in her career Birgitte has done something that didn’t agree with her morals and principles in order to retain power. The suspense through the entire season about whether power or principles will finally prevail for Birgitte is very well written, touching, and relevant. More relevant than ever.
Magnus is 21 now. A new actor, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, plays the part. He works with an environmental group and steals pigs headed for slaughter. He influences his mother’s ultimate choices. Brigitte’s daughter Laura (Freja Riemann) is played by the same actor, but we don’t see much of her because she’s living in New York. Brigitte’s ex-husband Philip (Mikael Birkkjær) is still around, too.
Everyone looks older, sometimes grayer. At 53, Birgitte struggles with hot flashes and inappropriate emotional outbursts. But the ten year gap has only strengthened the exceptional acting talent of the cast members.
Katrine Fønsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) is head of the TV newsroom now. Her old boss Torben (Søren Malling) works under her as a journalist. Katrine married Søren (Lars Mikkelsen) and they’re raising their two his and hers kids.
I didn’t like Katrine’s story arc in this season. She had trouble being the boss. The team made her life hell on social media and she was forced to work with people she wanted to fire. I thought the way her story worked out was entirely wrong for the character, who had always been tough minded and strong.
Several episodes were filmed in Greenland, where the melting ice and lack of snow cover were heartbreaking to see. A number of subplots took place in Greenland as well.
The excellent writing in this series is reflected in Birgitte’s suspenseful and well handled arc about the use and abuse of power. She made many bad choices. The worst move she made was to secretly hire her old enemy, the slimy Michael Laugesen (Peter Mygind), as her spin doctor.
The season ended on a great note with the final scene being Sidse Babett Knudsen beaming a bright “we love you, fans” smile into the camera as she drove off. The ending also left open the possibility that Birgitte’s story could continue in a new way. I hope it does.
Everything about his series has been consistently good over all 4 seasons. I recommended Borgen on this blog back in 2013, and I still recommend it. It’s a brilliantly executed study in character and personality. All 4 seasons are on Netflix.
What did you Borgen fans think of this new season?