I’m not sure how Borgen qualifies to be called ‘noir’, but since it is considered part of the ‘Nordic Noir’ collection of TV shows, I’ll use that term as well.
I watched the Danish show Borgen (and The Killing) thanks to an anonymous commenter on this blog, so a big “thank you” to the commenter in question, because both of these shows are among the best shows out there.
Borgen follows the personal and political lives of a female Danish prime minister (Birgitte Nyborg, played by Sidse Babett Knudsen), her ‘spin doctor’ (Kasper Juul, played by Pilou Asbaek) and his girlfriend, a TV reporter (Katrine Fonsmark, played by Birgitte Hjort Sorenson). The writing and acting are top-notch, with numerous issues (political, personal, media-related) covered in intelligent, thoughtful and nuanced ways.
What sets Borgen apart from The West Wing, with which it does have some similarities, are the emphasis on the private lives of its characters and its continuing storyline. Both of these are most welcome, but they can’t overcome The West Wing’s advantage in having Aaron Sorkin, the greatest TV writer ever (IMHO), on board, so The West Wing remains my all-time favourite post-1970‘s show.
I have only watched the first two seasons of Borgen but will soon be watching Season Three, after which I may offer additional comments. In the meantime, I highly recommend this series to those looking for first-rate TV with some powerful messages for the world and time in which we live (though I’m not saying I agree with all of its points of view). ****. My mug is up!