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After the first two seasons of Borgen I admit I was very keen on seeing more about this, even though I was wondering where they could possibly take the story of former opposition politician, then Prime Minister of Denmark.

Season 2 ended with…

…. spoiler alert …

… the announcement of new general elections by an invigorated Birgitte. Season 3 opens with a Birgitte who had been defeated in those elections and needs to find a way to keep herself entertained and busy in the private sector. It pays the bills, but we know that she cannot be too happy, being unable to live her urge of making the world a better place. No surprise then that soon enough there is a way for her back into the treadmill of politics, and she grabs the chance with enthusiasm. Less opportunity this time for family feuds and emotional upheaval, even the boyfriend sidekick that makes the occasional appearance is used to further her political cause. This is a tougher Birgitte, one that appears liberated from the political institutions that were, and feels she can reinvent the political system. The other women in play are less stable against emotional turmoil, especially former journalist come party spin doctor Kathrine sometimes behaves like a teenager after her first rejection, but maybe that is a realistic scenario and just appears as uncomfortable to watch on screen as it does in life.

The show continues to work its way along a “human West Wing” track, with the superbrains of Sorkin’s White House soap replaced with people more easy to identify with, to the point of me trying to figure out how I would deal with the decision-making situations at hand. This cumulates towards the season finale, when the question comes up whether moderate political success can be turned into prestige by way of shortcuts, and what the right thing to do is given a very specific set of choices. That these discussions about the fate of the Danish government take place in the casual settings of corridors or broom closets makes Borgen a pleasant alternative to the glitzy American productions with similar topics. But the true strength of the show is the feeling of the importance of politics, as a process of shaping society rather than the mere urge to run it.

If Season 3 really was the final season, as Price indicated, that is a clever move. All conceivable scenarios have been worked, and by replaying earlier scenarios the show would risk losing credibility. Still sad to say good bye though…

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