Episode Three, Series Two, BBC Four, 9pm

TV review: Borgen, The Last Worker

Tom Leece is Film and TV editor at Fourth & Main

After two years in power but now minus her mentor and her marriage, it's no wonder that tonight Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) was getting a little misty-eyed for the good times.

Remember when political advice came with relevant references to Julius Caesar? When she and Phillip would bicker over driving directions and play Pictionary with the kids? “I miss the way it used to be”, she concedes.

Birgitte isn’t the only one. Beleaguered Labour leader and coalition pillar Bjørn Marrot (Flemming Sørensen) wanders down the dim corridors of power past the paintings and busts of long gone politicians. A shipyard welder who we learn worked his way up through the unions, Bjørn now finds himself assailed by sly rumours and the “white collar academics” in his party’s leadership. What ever happened, he asks, to loyalty and solidarity?

These elegies for the glory days get short shrift from Bjørn’s fellow Labour ministers, who are all for disobeying their leader and scrapping the state’s early retirement fund to finance Birgitte’s new welfare package. It’s just the kind of coalition calamity, days before a seaside seminar at which the future of Denmark is to be discussed, that the prime minister doesn’t need. Especially when she finds that on the home front Phillip (Mikael Birkkjær) is readying the kids for an introduction to new girlfriend Cecilie. Sometimes Birgitte only seems able to rely on Kasper and, of course, Kim, the ministerial driver with the devilish wit.

The Danish coast and its spectacular sea views are a welcome change from the ministry’s doom-laden halls. The political scene has been steadily darkening for Birgitte – only one cabinet member, the Green politician Amir (Dar Salim), has not been caught up in some intrigue or other – and Kasper’s warning to not let her anger cross the divide between her professional and private lives hits home. In a breakfast table conversation with Laura (Freja Riemann) and Magnus (Emil Poulsen) that felt more like a cabinet meeting, Birgitte took a concessionary approach to the ongoing domestic upheaval. Such goodwill gestures may not hold, though, if she finds herself on the receiving end of many more blithely insensitive phone calls.

Speaking of blithely insensitive, it’s getting harder to root for Kasper (Pilou Asbæk), no matter how troubled the spin doctor may be. There he was with his own rose-tinted perspective of the past, cherry-picking memories from his relationship with Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen). It’s true that while the perpetually sidelined Lotte (Rykke Lylloff) isn’t much of a character yet, she’s enough of one to feel for. And while she may not always keep Kasper at arm’s length Katrine is hardly the instigator. The journo has plenty to be getting on with, not least Ekspres editor Michael Laugesen’s (Peter Mygind) refusal to report on the day’s agenda.

Fans of the first season know that while there’s a whole boogle of weasels (I looked it up) at Borgen none are as bad as treacherous Troels Höxenhaven (Lars Brygmann). At first it doesn’t seem so terrible that Katrine could be forced to rake up mud on the Justice Minister, until it emerges that she’s been party to something that will go against all of her ethics. Maybe it will make her think back to dithering editor Torben Friis (Søren Malling) and the happy times at TV1. You know. The good old days.

Best scene:

Borgen’s Labour party has never been cast in the best light, and the subtext tonight seemed to be that it has strayed far from the virtues of its union roots. Political leanings aside, it was hard not to feel for Bjørn Marrot, wrung dry for pathos by veteran actor Sørensen Flemming, as he reminisced with Birgitte at sunset.

Best line:

“I owe you a prawn sandwich.” (Bjørn Marrot, to Thorsen). Just plain odd, but better than shady backroom deals with sacks full of kroner.

Handy Danish vocab:

If Phillip and Cecilie can’t work it out then why should we, some may say, but the Danish for left and right is “venstre” and “højre”.

Magnus Watch:

It was time for big sister Laura to shine this episode, but we now know that while Magnus (Emil Poulsen) may be an attentive listener at breakfast he’s not above bending the rules during the after dinner games.

Tom Leece is Film and TV editor at Fourth & Main

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
This year's Big Brother champion Helen Wood
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Full company in Ustinov's Studio's Bad Jews
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
Music
Arts and Entertainment
Reviews have not been good for Jonathan Liebesman’s take on the much loved eighties cartoon
Film

A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend

Arts and Entertainment
Untwitterably yours: Singer Morrissey has said he doesn't have a twitter account
Music

A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album

Arts and Entertainment
Full throttle: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in God's Pocket
film
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie Minogue is expected to return to Neighbours for thirtieth anniversary special
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be Lonely Island's second Hollywood venture following their 2007 film Hot Rod
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment