Borgen Season 4 | The Return of a Political Genius

Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.

Sun Tzu

We can only ever be who we are. We cannot be who we are not–no matter how deep or twisted our quest for power is. That was my main takeaway from Borgen, the Danish political drama created by Adam Price.

After a nine year hiatus, Borgen returned to the small streaming screen. The Danish series follows the story of Birgitte Nyborg who becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark against all the odds.

By season 4, she is no longer the PM, but the foreign minister. Even after gaining her status and position, she loses it, fears losing it, and finally lets it go–only to find herself faced with yet another opportunity that had handed itself to her on the red carpet that had unceremoniously ushered her out.

It seems that a politician’s career never ends.

The fourth season is titled The Kingdom, Power and Glory. The series centres around Nyborg in her role as foreign minister where she navigates the implication of oil being found in Greenland. It is a find that threatens to derail her party’s green agenda, spark an international crisis with the US, China, and Russia–and push the government to the brink of collapse.

The Climate Crisis

The climate change crisis is an issue that has been on the forefront of the minds of young voters. The series thrashes out this issue is an unceremonious fashion. The gulf that exists between the generations as well as the ideals we hold dear and how they don’t hold up against the factual realities of life.

We want to develop our economies, but do we want to wreck the environment? If we do decide to wreck the environment, who gets what in the deal? And lastly, will this big oil find create more issues than what it could potentially solve?

The bottom line, however, is that no matter how big or small a player is; they’re all interconnected and therefore interdependent. Every player holds a piece of the puzzle firmly in their hand and it’s up to them to use that piece to negotiate the best possible outcome–all the while not knowing how any of it is going to turn out.

The Has-Been?

In politics, the world moves fast; and the thought on everyone’s mind is: yes, Nyborg was brilliant. But is she still brilliant? Are the shining stars of yesterday still burning bright or are they but a fading a glimmer of their former selves?

Even when threatened by the new, Nyborg neither embraces it nor dismisses it. She takes on board what she needs to and discards all the rest. At times, she listens intently to the advice of her advisors and at other times, she ignores it entirely. At times, she does exactly what she is told; and at other times, she blatantly disregards it. Despite the changing times, Nyborg remains a political genius.

If it appears that she changes, it is not because she is the one who is changing; but like the bamboo, Nyborg changes according to the prevailing circumstances.

Indigenous Rights

This issue has always been one that is close to my heart. Borgen does a particularly savvy job of thrashing out the various viewpoints that emanate from a diverse group of people who have all been lumped together.

Those who want to join the new world order. Those who don’t. Those who would just like to be part of an equitable deal for once in their life. Those who would like to maintain the traditions of their ancestors. Those who feel that this new world has becoming a confusing one; where they try to maintain some semblance of continuity between the past and the present.

Like Nyborg, they’re on the receiving end of conflicting advise; with all interested parties telling them what is good or best for them.


At the heart of the whole story, however, is the loneliness of it all. The leaders and the decisions they make end up casting them aside and alienating them from their closest friends and allies. At the very end, they continue to wield the power that they do not or perhaps cannot let go of.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that a friend today is an enemy tomorrow and vice versa. In the world of politics, there is neither foe nor friend; there are neither the powerless nor the all powerful.

Perhaps the true heart of the story is that it shows a variety of people from all walks of life seeking to get a slice of the pie that we must all share–regardless of our politics and whether we like it or not.


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