This episode will be streaming online for two weeks from September 1 to 15. Catch episodes of "Borgen" that aren't currently streaming via our recaps here.
Previously on "Borgen"
Birgitte had to decide the value of a human life. The president of Turgisia traveled to Denmark and threatened to withdraw his sizable investment in Danish wind energy if the PM didn't arrest and hand over a Turgisian political assailant (he was sure to be assassinated in his home country) whose visit coincided with his. Meanwhile, her relationship with Phillip became further strained when her dad overstayed his welcome. Katrine and Kasper also had a falling out after he tried to fight her new boyfriend. (Click here to read the complete recap for this episode.)
This week's episode: "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil"
Continuing the theme of quoting communist dictators, tonight's episode of "Borgen" was framed around Vladimir Lenin's wise words that "Trust is good, but control is better." In fact, we learn that the Denmark depicted in "Borgen" has a few things in common with the Russian revolutionary's police states. The discovery that the Solidarity Party's headquarters were bugged by the government ultimately leads Birgitte (Sidse Babett Knudsen) to betray one of her friends in parliament and causes Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) to question her newsroom's unethical practices. All the while both women reach the lowest points of their romantic relationships.
Birgitte is spending much-needed (but not necessarily desired) quality time with her family when Kasper (Pilou Asbæk) barges into her garden with the news that the Solidarity Party has found hidden cameras at its headquarters. And what's worse? Her office may be responsible for the bugging. Birgitte is forced to go into work on her day off and investigate the matter. As soon as she heads to the office, one of Phillip's (Mikael Birkkjær) business school students, Freja, drops by to give her professor an internship recommendation form to fill out on her behalf.
The Watergate-esque scandal falls under Minister of Justice Troels Höxenhaven's (Lars Brygmann) jurisdiction. After telling Birgitte that he doesn't recall approving the surveillance project (after all, more than 3,000 such buggings occur in the nation every year), he takes a TV1 interview with Katrine to reassure the public that the government would never spy on a legal political party. He says that the office space used to belong to a publishing house "that sympathized with revolutionary movements," but has no comment regarding whether the CIA was behind the incident. The interview is more of an ambush as TV1 cuts to an interview with an expert who says he's 90 percent sure the CIA installed the equipment because the surveillance cameras are one of the smallest and most advanced in the world. How's that for ethical journalism? Katrine seems to be morally upright only when it comes to defending the people she's dubbed worthy of protection. Everyone else can just eat cake.
Birgitte meets with Solidarity Party leader Anne Sophie Lindenkrone (Signe Egholm Olsen) to reassure her that she wasn't aware of nor does she condone the tapping of her party's headquarters. She tries to write it off as a misunderstanding, but it doesn't work. The PM therefore promises to rebuke Troels, offer a formal apology, and establish a hearing on the existing control of Intelligence headed by someone of her choosing, if any wrongdoing is found. She speaks too soon. In fact, Troels finds out the following day that the cameras do indeed belong to Intelligence. They were installed by former Prime Minister Lars Hesselboe (Søren Spanning) when the rooms were occupied by people on the European Union terror list. Suffice it to say that Anne Sophie isn't satisfied. "He hadn't asked Intelligence to remove it when we moved in," she tells reporters after meeting with Troels.
Troels then calls for a press conference without consulting Birgitte in order to save his flailing reputation. He ends up hurting his image instead of helping it. In addition to back peddling that the publishing house Reaktion used the Solidarity Party headquarters for suspicious meetings after the party had already moved into the space, he says that the party was never a target for surveillance ... then hints that a particular party member may be under investigation. Oh, what a tangled web you weave, Troels.
Birgitte is livid at this point. She scolds him for holding a press conference without her approval then demands the truth. But she can't handle the truth. Intelligence has apparently been keeping tabs on Anne Sophie. Troels presents her with a six-year-old recording of Anne Sophie suggesting kidnapping Hesselboe' two teens while arguably under the influence of alcohol during a party. Birgitte forbids him from using the recording, which is shaky evidence, at best. She doesn't mention the audio when she meets with Anne Sophie later that day. The PM asks her old pal, who she introduced to politics, to take it easy on Troels, for her sake, during his hearing. His resignation would hurt her cabinet. "You have no political interest in letting down my government, right?" she asks. "You want me to belittle the constitution for old friendship's sake?" Anne Sophie responds.
Now that they're no longer chums, Katrine makes an appointment to come see Kasper to arrange an interview with the PM. She walks into his office as he's flirting with Birgitte's personal assistant. He denies her interview request right off the bat. The PM doesn't want to involve herself in Troels' investigation. Katrine becomes irritated that he asked her to come to parliament only to reject her immediately. Kasper now has the upper hand in the relationship and isn't willing to call in any favors for his former flame. He doesn't miss the opportunity to insult her new beau, who's now officially her boyfriend. However, the spin doctor later crawls back to Katrine with his tail between his legs (upon Birgitte's insistence on going on air to do damage control) to grant her the interview with the PM.
Troels does some tail hiding of his own later. He tells Birgitt that he's ready to take responsibility for his actions (a.k.a. to apologize and accept a reprimand), not realizing that taking responsibility entails resigning. "Your morals must be more impeccable than those of other people," the PM tells him before asking for his resignation. Caught off guard, Troels says the head of intelligence should resign instead. Birgitte calmly asks him to stop talking before he makes an even bigger fool of himself. "This is intolerable. I'll do anything," the Minister of Justice whines. Birgitte finally shuts him up when she threatens to fire him.
That evening Katrine shows her true elitist colors. While eating dinner with her new boyfriend Ben, she realizes that he doesn't know who the Minister of Justice is because he doesn't follow politics. It was already abundantly clear before this point that she was ashamed to be seen with her spin instructor boyfriend in public. She didn't want him to visit her at work and she only hesitantly accepted his offer to accompany her to a company gala and to be his girlfriend. She basically just wanted to sleep with him.
But his naive comment was the straw that broke the camel's back. Kasper must have gotten into her head. He had made a jab earlier that day about her being unable to discuss politics with him. And he was right. Unwilling to censor herself, the journalist blurts out that her world of covering politics is more important than his world of fitness. Translation: I'm better than you. Ben leaves and the two of them don't utter a word to each other again. They run into one another at TV1 studio's halls the next day when Katrine is en route to her fancy schmancy gala, but only exchange a fleeting glance.
Meanwhile, Birgitte is having even more significant troubles in her relationship. She suspects that her husband is having an affair with his student. She had come home to find Freja's internship application one day (Birgitte even joked that she should ask Intelligence to tap Phillip) and Freja herself the next day. She had come over to collect her application and drop off home-made food in exchange. Now confronted with the scarf Freja had forgotten the day before, she grows suspicious about their relationship, opens Phil's laptop, and reads his email (she trusted shady Troels, but doesn't trust her own husband?).
She closes the laptop when he walks in and denies any wrongdoing, asking him point-blank if he's having an affair. He's understandably insulted by the question. "You're only here when you sleep. We're not counting on you anymore," he says, confronting her absenteeism head-on for once. "The two of us are sacrificing our love and sex life on this account. Not to speak of my career." Instead of licking his wounds, the PM turns confrontational. "We had a deal, Phillip. It's no use crying over it now," she says. Their son Magnus walks in while they're arguing, as Phillip is saying that Birgitte should take initiative and talk to the school psychologist about why their eight-year-old son still wets himself. Their conversation ends there, but their relationship has completely unraveled. It won't be long before they call it quits for good. If you're keeping score, she doesn't have trust or control.
Birgitte's woes follow her to work the next day. Troels anonymously leaks the audio of Anne Sophie conspiring to kidnap Hesselboe's children (this news team has it too easy; they never have to work for their scoops). What else can you expect from a desperate man who leaked his previous boss Michael Laugesen's (Peter Mygind) private emails during another point of desperation. Katrine knows Troels is behind the leak and is using the audio to completely spin the story. She doesn't want to use it because doing so would cause the public to justify Troels bugging Anne Sophie's party headquarters. She suggests that they would be acting undemocratically in the name of saving democracy. "Save that for the school of journalism. Here we make cool television," her boss Torben (Søren Malling) fires back. They end up running the story and completely altering the public agenda, which they had set in the first place.
And just like that Troels is off the hook. The major parties no longer support Anne Sophie. Brent (Lars Knutzon) tells Birgitte that she can't fire him because he's managed to spin the story. "Troels and Intelligence are now heroes that protect our Danish democracy," Kasper chimes in. She's forced to make a political decision as the PM, not as Anne Sophie's friend. She later rejects her friend's request to make a statement to the media, for her sake. "You said what you said," the PM says coldly, knowing well that Anne Sophie was young, naive, and drunk at the time. She didn't mean a word of it. Even though she's forced to keep Troels in her cabinet, she lets it be known that she doesn't trust him. "I consider you a dead man in my government," she tells him. She doesn't have trust, but she has control. Hell hath no fury like Birgitte Nyborg Christensen scorned.
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Borgen is an award-winning Danish drama series about the fight for political power and the personal consequences for everyone involved.