2010, 2011, 2013

Borgen (2010)

Borgen is a remarkable, unique Danish television show that may have established it’s own genre. Every other TV show to focus on politics that I have ever seen has added elements of fantasy; normally these shows and movies are “political thrillers” where someone always dies; occasionally they’re comedies. Either way, there is a balance between realism (in some cases) and concessions to entertainment. Borgen is not one of those shows. Borgen is very much like the most realistic fictional TV show ever made about national government politics.

There are no murders/deaths and the scandals are real political scandals – this politician overspent, that one had an affair, that one has minor secrets in his past. It’s both a blessing and a curse, because Borgen is not exactly entertaining in the traditional sense.

And, for me, this is where its biggest flaw comes in. In order to add entertainment, we get soapy personal relationships. The balance is pretty reasonable in the first two seasons, but in season 3 things go off the rails a bit and, frankly, I had a really hard time caring about Torben’s marital woes.

But I think most of us can overlook this flaw for most if not all of the show, a show that is otherwise extremely remarkable and daring in its commitment to telling a story entirely based in a recognizable reality that matches our own.


  • Genre: Political drama
  • Created: by Adam Price
  • Written by Adam Price, Jeppe Gjervig Gram, Tobias Lindholm
  • Directed by Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, Rumle Hammerich
  • Starring:
    • Sidse Babett Knudsen as Birgitte Nyborg
    • Mikael Birkkjær as Phillip Christensen
    • Freja Riemann as Laura Christensen
    • Emil Poulsen as Magnus Christensen
    • Pilou Asbæk as Kasper Juul
    • Morten Kirkskov as Niels Erik Lund
    • Iben Dorner as Sanne
    • Hanne Hedelund as Jytte
    • Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as Katrine Fønsmark
    • Benedikte Hansen as Hanne Holm
    • Søren Malling as Torben Friis
    • Lisbeth Wulff as Pia Munk
    • Thomas Levin as Ulrik Mørch
    • Christian Tafdrup as Alexander ‘Alex’ Hjort
    • Anders Juul as Simon Bech
    • Lars Knutzon as Bent Sejrø
    • Dar Salim as Amir Diwan
    • Stine Stengade as Henriette Klitgaard
    • Jens Jacob Tychsen as Jacob Kruse
    • Kristian Halken as Erik Hoffmann
    • Julie Agnete Vang Christensen as Nete Buch
    • Jens Albinus as Jon Berthelsen
    • Lars Mikkelsen as Søren Ravn
    • Peter Mygind as Michael Laugesen
    • Flemming Sørensen as Bjørn Marrot
      Lars Brygmann as Troels Höxenhaven
    • Bjarne Henriksen as Hans Christian Thorsen
    • Petrine Ager as Pernille Madsen
    • Søren Spanning as Lars Hesselboe
    • Ole Thestrup as Svend Åge Saltum
    • Marie Askehave as Benedikte Nedergaard
    • Jannie Faurschou as Yvonne Kjær
    • Signe Egholm Olsen as Anne Sophie Lindenkrone
    • Fadime Turan as Aicha Nagrawi
    • Claus Bue as Parly Petersen
    • Mette Kolding as Inger Hansen
    • Laura Allen Müller as Nadia Barazani
    • Alastair Mackenzie as Jeremy Welsh
    • Claus Riis Østergaard as Ole Dahl
    • Mille Dinesen as Cecelie Toft Phillip
  • Composer: Halfdan E
  • Country of origin: Denmark
  • Original language: Danish
  • No. of seasons: 3 series
  • No. of episodes: 30
  • Producer: Camilla Hammerich
  • Running time: 58 minutes
  • Original network: DR1
  • Original release: 26 September 2010 – 10 March 2013

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