Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, being a crime writer. But I think I am actually enjoying Borgen even more than The Killing. And I loved The Killing. (Just to be clear, it’s the Danish The Killing I’m talking about here, not the American; I didn’t watch that, so I can’t comment.)
The real heresy for me, as a crime writer, is that what I admire about Borgen is that it doesn’t rely on an ever-increasing body count to keep the viewer’s interest. In fact, so far, there have been no murders in it all. Just one death by natural causes.
Now such an admission may end up getting me thrown out of the CWA. And it’s not to say that I don’t still enjoy a good, twisty, grisly serial killer thriller. But it is interesting to see how the writers have managed to maintain the drama and tension without recourse to gore. The political shenanigans are of course fascinating. But more than anything it’s the fantastically well-written and superbly performed characters that keep us hooked.
My wife and I were watching it the other night and we were engrossed by the domestic tensions in the Danish prime minister’s house. Birgitte Nyborg (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen) is working flat out to keep her coalition together, her husband (played by Mikael Birkkjærs) is bearing the brunt of the household duties. I think we both identified with it a little, especially as from the beginning of this year my wife started working fulltime, with me stuck at home making the kids’ teas, nagging them to do their homework and practice, picking them up when they have after school activities, etc.. The whole thing was very close to home. Except, of course, that they are better looking than us, and have a fancier coffee pot. Funny the things you pick up on.
Anyhow, I think we were both seeing the parallels in our own relationship and perhaps feeling a little inadequate compared to our screen counterparts. And maybe also musing on the inadequacies of our other halves next to the paragons in the drama.
During one bedroom scene my wife commented of the husband: “He doesn’t snore.”
To which I could only reply: “You’re not the Prime Minister of Denmark.”