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Borgen: Season 3

Release Year:         2012
Studio:         MHZ Networks
Format:         Colour; NTSC; Widescreen, in Danish with English Subtitles
Rated:        Not Rated
# of Discs/Episodes:         4 / 10
Running Time:         584 minutes
DVD Release Date:         January 21, 2014
Creator:         Adam Price
Screenwriters:         Jeppe Gjervig Gram, Adam Price
Directors:        Louise Friedberg, Jesper W. Nielsen
Actors:          Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Soren Malling, Pilou Asbak
DVD Features:         SDH subtitles
E:Top Picks Rating:         10/10

MHZ Networks Write-up:  
BORGEN is a modern Danish political drama about the personal costs and struggles for those who climb to the top of the political and the newsbroadcasting worlds. In this third and final season of BORGEN, Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is a very different person than the confident prime minister who spoke at the lectern in Parliament. She is no longer prime minister. It has been two years since she called an election in which she failed to win the required number of seats to maintain the existing government. She has since left politics and is now a high-paid business consultant, serving on several corporate boards. During a canned speech in which she describes a government whose values she no longer recognizes, it becomes too much for her. She can no longer brush off the recurring question of what she would do if she were prime minister. Perhaps it’s time to get back in the game.

Jon Ted Wynne Review:  
BORGEN is back! The third and final season of this brilliant Danish political series is one of the most anticipated DVD releases of 2014 for fans of top quality drama.

Season Three is set two and a half years after the end of Series Two. Birgitte Nyborg is no longer prime minister and a number of relationships from the previous two seasons have changed dramatically. Most significantly, star journalist Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) is still working at the TV station and has had a child with Kasper Juul (Pilou Asbaek), with whom she got together at the end of Season Two, although they are soon separated. Her balancing of motherhood with career is one of the main story lines in Season Three. This develops even further when she quits her job to work with Birgitte as Birgitte re-enters the world of politics.

Another switch is less focus on Kasper Juul (who is now a secondary character) and more emphasis on Torben Friiss (Soren Malling), the head of the top TV station known for its exemplary coverage of politics. Torben’s story arc is fascinating to watch as he is forced to deal with a young, trendy new boss who is more interested in ratings than news. Kasper is seen initially clean-shaven and with longer, tousled brown hair, a stark contrast from his buzz cut and stubble beard which helped give him his haunted-by-personal-demons look in the previous two series

With Birgitte out of office, the logical question remains: When/if will she get back in? Her return to politics is at the heart of episode one and is what hooks the viewer back into the series.

The next two episodes focus on Birgitte’s failure to be welcomed back to her former party. The solution? Create a new party. This is where Season Three really takes off. The formation of the party gives us more of an understanding of Birgitte’s personal integrity. For example, she will not accept desperately needed donations to her party if there is the slightest hint of promises to the donor. The founding of the New Democrat party and Birgitte’s straightening out of its principles take up episodes two and three with the requisite development of the key relationships, as well.

The middle episodes see the New Democrats struggling to win public support as they weigh in on some issues of the day while continuing their commitment to political integrity. Issues like the ethical treatment of animals and issues surrounding sex trade workers are hot button contemporary concerns. BORGEN handles them fairly and in such a skilled way that the viewer is drawn into the wheelings, dealings and compromises that are at the heart of modern-day politics.

Then, while the New Democrats seem to be making great progress with public opinion, Birgitte is dealt a stunning blow to her health which she insists on handling on her own. Will her stubbornness topple her house of cards? Or does she find her way out of this set-back as well? It isn’t easy for BIrgitte to admit to any form of weakness. Pride goeth before the fall?

The balance of the episodes remind us that relationships and politicking- is what we love about BORGEN. The politics are intriguing, the relationships keep the intrigue personal.

Birgitte’s illness, dramatically speaking, is a brilliant touch, a reminder that nothing is more humbling than our own bodies when they fail us in some way. Even after she finally allows her family in on her secret–which her doctor strongly recommends for the sake of her recovery–there are still challenges to be overcome, adding to the dramatic narrative, especially as election day creeps closer. Tensions mount, involving betrayal, desperation and illicit affairs. The deceptions cause more than one breakdown.

A more critical eye might find flaws where I’ve found none. Truth be told, I’ve been swept up in this magnificent series since the beginning. It is astonishing that BORGEN simply gets better and better.