The Viewer: Borgen. Birgitte Under Fire

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Birgitte Nyborg. Camo chic. Image via

The Viewer has developed an unhealthy fascination with Birgitte Nyborg. She believes that, like Birgitte, she is essentially a good hearted person who, through the machinations of others, is perpetually criticised and wilfully misunderstood for simply trying to do the right thing by everyone.

For anyone preparing to accept this idea without question, I feel it’s only fair to inform you that only one of our glamorous, intellectually driven, emotionally sensitive protagonists is currently confined to a flame retardant basement with restraints on the walls and yogurt stains all over the TV.

It’s not Birgitte.

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Minor translation issues are the least of Katrine Fønsmark’s problems. Image via

Series 2 of Danish political drama Borgen finds us accompanying Birgitte and her adviser Kasper (A.K.A Mad Ken) Juul on a visit to a military base in Afghanistan. The pressure is on the the Prime Minister to make a decision regarding the withdrawal of Danish troops from the region, and to add peril to an already fraught situation, five soldiers are killed in an attack while Birgitte is there.

One of them had his picture taken with Birgitte moments before he was shot. The Viewer, although disappointed, has stated she is prepared to forgive this contrivance because the costume department lashed out on military uniforms for the cast. They all look very smart.

It’s unclear whether the uniforms were a deal breaker in the Series 2 contractual negotiations, but all the main players got one. Even reporter Katrine Fønsmark, who is conveniently located at the military base when the wounded soldiers arrive for treatment. On her return from the frontline, her new employer, evil tabloid owner and opposition leader Michael Laugesen, is insistent that her report blame the deaths on Birgitte because she failed to withdraw the troops.

She won’t do it. He shouts. The Viewer cheers her on. Someone has to be on the side of justice and humanity. Even if it’s because they think if they applaud loudly enough they might fulfill a childhood dream and get a special uniform of their own.

Katrine is also involved in a will they, won’t they, of course they bloody well will, it’s just a question of when relationship with Kasper, who has attempted to evade his destiny by finding himself a new girlfriend. Her flat is much nicer that Katrine’s and she has a wealth of quality kitchen utensils, but he accidentally calls her by his former beau’s name during a conversation and his clumsy attempts to gloss over it have us all cringing.

Even The Viewer recoils. That’s a rookie mistake for a political adviser of Kasper’s calibre and he goddamn knows it.

Ep11_PhilipStill, there’s always someone worse off, and in Borgen, it’s always Birgitte Nyborg.  Hubby Philip, for whom the novelty of being married to the Prime Minister wore off on Day 3 when he realised she wouldn’t have his dinner on the table every night by 5pm, is pushing for her to sign divorce papers. She loses them once, contrives to lose them twice and he is forced to corner her in their once harmonious beige living room where she confesses she doesn’t want a divorce.

Does she sign the divorce papers? Will Kasper’s new girlfriend castrate him with an oyster knife, rendering any possibility of a reconciliation with the freshly fringed Katrine impossible?


The Viewer plans to be wearing this when she watches the next episode. Presumably without the beard. Image via wikipedia

You’ll have to watch it to find out. The Viewer will. When she’s not browsing military surplus websites, hoping to pick up a set of Royal Danish Army fatigues, boots and helmet in time to watch the next episode.

At least, I think that’s what she’s planning to do with it.

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