A few weeks ago, my parents told me they’d started watching a thrilling new show they thought I’d like. They pretty much only watch British crime series, so I was surprised when my dad described the show as a fictional political drama all about Denmark’s first female prime minister. Why my parents thought this topic deserved to be called “thrilling” or why they thought I’d be interested was unclear, but I figured since I’d already binged New Girl one-thousand times during quarantine, why not try something new? Let me tell you, Borgen is the greatest show on Netflix you definitely aren’t watching yet.
Named for Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, which houses Denmark’s three governing bodies—Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister’s offices—Borgen is like a Danish version of The West Wing, and is so much more fascinating than I expected it to be. As mentioned, it follows Birgitte Nyborg, played by Sidse Babett Knudsen (who some fans may recognize as Theresa Cullen from Westworld), after she is unexpectedly elected the country’s first female prime minister. The real charm of the show comes from its stellar cast, which also includes Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) as Nyborg’s publicist and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as an ambitious young journalist. And much like Aaron Sorkin’s American political drama, Borgen oscillates between complex political puzzles and the personal dramas of its characters, all with dialogue that moves along at a rapid clip.