Borgen returns with grim power struggle over Arctic oil

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The fourth season, “Borgen – The Kingdom, Power and Glory,” will premiere internationally on Netflix on Thursday.

Viewers last saw former Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg the day after her fledgling political party won a sensational election victory. Ten years later, she is Minister of Foreign Affairs in a government led by a woman 10 years her junior.

As the season opens, Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, has just found oil.

Local political leaders see the black gold as Greenland’s long-awaited ticket to independence, undeterred by the environmental risks posed by drilling in the untouched Arctic wilderness.

Yet the Danish government – ​​particularly Nyborg, as foreign minister of Denmark and Greenland combined – has to contend with China, the United States and Russia, all of which have interests in the lucrative discovery of the geostrategic island.

All eight episodes offer viewers jaw-dropping views of the pristine frozen landscapes of Greenland – and a dive into the dark side of Birgitte Nyborg.

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‘New Dawn’

Series creator Adam Price told TSWT that the central idea for the plot came to him five years ago when he found out there was a law that said Denmark and Greenland were to negotiate revenue sharing from any natural resource discoveries.

He saw an opportunity to combine the characters’ political battles with the strained relations between Copenhagen and its former colony.

“When something is emotional and political at the same time, it’s just the perfect thing for Borgen,” he said with a smile.

He didn’t want to pick up where season three left off. After almost a decade, the world had changed, and so had its characters.

Nyborg, now single with adult children, finds herself in uncharted waters and faces several setbacks in her career, despite her years of experience.

Once altruistic, she is now hardened and cynical and ends up turning her back on her ideals to cling to power.

“She’s almost modern-day smitten,” Price said. “All of a sudden, she has to wake up to this new dawn.”

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“I really wanted to take Borgen into modern times… I basically wanted to throw (the characters) into the fire,” he said.

Sidse Babett Knudsen, who plays Nyborg, said the season’s more cynical turn “has terrified me a bit”.

“Borgen’s world has always been a bit more idealistic, kinder,” she told TSWT.

“Times have changed, so we were going to completely change the world of Borgen to follow the real world, and I was curious to see how that would work,” she added.

‘Never say never’

The actress previously swore that the third season would be her last.

“I was completely sure that I would never do it again. I thought it was good (to end after three seasons) and much better than a lot of shows that go on until they run out.

“I felt like we told our story and we were done.”

But in the end, she was “wowed” by the storyline of the fourth season and was easily persuaded – much to the delight of fans everywhere.

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“When I was working overseas, people always asked me if there would be a new season,” she says with her signature wrinkled nose smile.

It remains to be seen whether the fourth season will be an international success, but Danish fans are already won over.

It aired on Danish television three months ago.

According to data from ratings institute Nielsen, Borgen averaged 776,000 viewers across the eight episodes – in a country of 5.5 million – and an average share of 44.5%.

The show was also streamed on Netflix in the other Nordic countries, where it ranked in the top 10 for several consecutive weeks.

So, could there be a fifth season in store?

“I learned never say never, but I think that’s the end of it,” Knudsen said.

The post Borgen returns with a grim power struggle over arctic oil appeared first on TSWT.

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