DVD: Borgen: Season 1 (15)


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The Independent Culture

"Caesar was murdered by his friends, too." Denmark's answer to The West Wing involves a lot of walking and talking along corridors, spin-doctoring, conniving and clandestine meetings at the dead of night.

Why can't we make political dramas this gripping and sexy?

Sidse Babett Knudsen plays Birgitte Nyborg, the idealistic leader of the Moderate Party, who is gunning – successfully – to be prime minister of a coalition government. She's assisted by wise Bent Serjo (Lars Knutzon), her crafty spin doctor, Kaspar, and her understanding lecturer husband, Philip (Mikael Birkkjaer). She's also helped by her appalling opponents, the vile Michael Laugesen and the bumbling Prime Minister, Lars Hesselboe, whose unhinged wife unravels in a Mulberry store; this leads to all sorts of trouble. Meanwhile, Hesselboe's political aide is having an affair with TV newsreader Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) – until she discovers him dead in the sack from a heart attack. Cue her pal, Kaspar (Pilou Asbaek, excellent), to clear up the mess.

But this is more about the backstabbing that takes place in Borgen, the nickname for Denmark's Parliamentary building, than Killing-style crimes and misdemeanours. It's an absorbing drama with a captivating performance from Knudsen, possibly the most fully rounded female character currently on TV.