The screenwriter of hit series Borgen says the main theme in the show’s latest season – the darker side of holding power – drew inspiration from Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who has been criticised for centralising authority. The theme has become relevant in the upcoming election in which Danes will pass judgement on Frederiksen’s leadership during three chaotic years, plagued by a pandemic, war and economic turmoil.
A screenwriter and popular TV chef in Denmark, Adam Price has won international acclaim for Borgen, which returned for its fourth season this year, depicting the experiences of veteran lawmaker Birgitte Nyborg, played by Sidse Babett Knudsen.
The show, especially popular among Britons with an affinity for the Nordic Noir genre, has often left Danes baffled over its ability to foreshadow political developments in Denmark, including the election of the country’s first female prime minister.
“We have a premise for Borgen … Can you remain in power and still remain true to yourself?,” Price told Reuters during an interview in Copenhagen. In the fourth season, which aired in February, Nyborg evolved into a darker character focused on clinging to power, drawing parallels with Frederiksen who has centralised authority around her office.
“Naturally, we are also inspired by elements in the character of our current Prime Minister,” Price said, adding that Nyborg’s character was also influenced by many other current and former political personalities.
Critics say Frederiksen’s top-down leadership was partly to blame for the rushed and illegal order to cull all mink in the country during the coronavirus pandemic, a scandal that could hurt her chances of returning for another term of office.
Whether Birgitte Nyborg will return for a fifth season was not up to Price, he said, but a potential new series could take her to Brussels and the European Union’s power centre.
“I’m sure a lot of people in the UK would enjoy that, especially if we weren’t very friendly towards Brussels,” Price said.