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It was brave of BBC4 to decide that the ins and outs of Danish politics, with subtitles, could make must-see Saturday night TV – even in the wake of its highly successful DR stablemate The Killing, which had murder at its core.
Yet Borgen is compelling, top-quality drama. What makes it so is not the political conflict alone: there’s also the tug-of-love between TV reporter Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) and crafty spindoctor Kasper (Pilou Asbaek). Best of all, Sidse Babett Knudsen as Birgitte Nyborg, prime minister and mother of two young children, is likeably vulnerable as cracks begin to show in her coalition as well as her marriage.
The third and final season (which joins the first two as a box set) removes Nyborg from power and gives Kaspar, no longer her spindoctor, a smaller part. Nyborg’s new love interest is way too smooth – but a storyline that tests TV news editor Torben (Søren Malling) is a rewarding new strand.