When I get a tweet from @andnowyoutellme saying that I need to check something out, I know two things for sure: 1) A beautiful, sexy, usually European actress is involved, and 2) I am about to fall in love.
That brings me to Borgen.
Borgen (the nickname for Denmark’s parliamentary building) is a Danish drama from the producers of The Killing (the original version) that recently started airing in the UK and is available to the U.S. via Link TV. The show has been compared to The West Wing because of its subject matter: politics and the people involved, from the politicians to the press to the PR spinners. “
The aforementioned beautiful, sexy actress is Sidse Babett Knudsen, who plays Birgitte Nyborg.
And yes, I am in love with both actor and character.
As Borgen begins, Birgitte, leader of the Moderate party, is in the last three days of the race for prime minister. Although she is open to advice, she’s not willing to run a dirty campaign. So when her campaign manager approaches her to support a damaging rumor about an opponent, she says, “I’d never forgive myself if I came to power that way.” “In that case, I doubt you ever will,” he responds.
Against the odds, though, Birgitte gains ground during a debate — in which she wears a much-discussed purple dress — when she abandons her prepared speech to speak passionately and honestly to voters.
Like The Killing, Borgen focuses on a strong, capable woman in a mostly male world. But unlike Sarah Lund, Birgitte has succeeded in more than her career; she has a wonderful, happy home life with a supportive husband and well-adjusted kids.
The Guardian posted an interesting article last week about how Borgen and The Iron Lady both reveal that much of the struggle for powerful women is due to the fact that they are charting new ground. While men have recognized patterns of behavior and paths to power, women have to find their own way in everything from clothes to attitude to handling dissent. It’s a good read — and the exploration of how women approach political power makes Borgen even more compelling.
One of the best testimonies to the intrigue of Borgen is that by midway through the first episode, I completely forgot that it was in Danish with English subtitles. So don’t let that put you off — I promise you’ll be glad you watched. Especially in the midst of the U.S. election season and with a central character like Knudsen.
Who’s going to watch Borgen with me? Does it look like your kind of show? If you’ve already started watching, let us know what you think.