Geopolitics that are both dark and cold : The Danish series 'Borgen' returns with a focus on a crisis brewing in Greenland.

From the top floor of a hotel here, the view of Disko Bay, a vast inlet in western Greenland dotted with icebergs, was captivating.

But the Danish actor Sidese Babett Knudsen stared out the window what appeared to be a frozen ghost city glinting in the early September sun, she looked more pained than enthralled. Knudsen was in Greenland to shoot scenes for a new season of ''Borgen,'' the acclaimed series that seemingly came to an end nearly a decade ago.

In the intervening years, her character Birgitte Nyborg, Denmark's first female prime minister, has undergone some changes that were making Knudsen uneasy. ''She goes bad places,'' the actor said of the revived Birgitte.

''Which intellectually is interesting, but is actually a bit hard to do because I feel this incredible responsibility to take care of her.''

That dilemma of beloved characters going bad places is at the heart of the fourth season of ''Borgen'' which after a long hiatus and a February debut on Danish public television, begins streaming on Netflix on Thursday.

In its fundamentals, the show is unchanged : It still navigates a surprisingly engaging path through a politics thicket, and it still focuses on the double bind that women in positions of power face in their public and private lives.

But now the stakes are higher. Instead of episodic stories of interparty sparring, this ''Borgen'' follows a single plotline across the entire season : Large reserves of oil are discovered in Greenland, and geopolitical tensions erupt around issues of sovereignty, climate change and decolonization.

And all this among characters who themselves have grown not merely older, but darker : less ''West Wing,''  more ''House of Cards.''

When Birgen aired what seemed like its final episode on Danish television in 2013, the show was already on its way to becoming an international hit; eventually syndicated in 70 countries, it would be the start of Hollywood careers for several of its stars, including Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen and Pilou Asback.

Knudsen's immensely likable portrait of  political idealist who was both a determined leader and a vulnerable woman [the first episode famously had her struggling to fit into the suit she planned to wear to an important debate] may even have helped audiences accept the idea the idea of a female prime minister.

Denmark elected its first, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a year after ''Borgen'' debuted in 2010.

But it also turned Birgitte into a feminist icon globally.

''I was in London once,'' Knudsen said. ''And a woman came up to me and told me that she had something on her refrigerator that said, ''What would Brigitte Nyborg do?''

The World Students Society thanks review author Lisa Abend.


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