Netflix's chilling Nordic Noir uncovers the identity of a gruesome serial killer with a horrible past. Who is the Chestnut Man?
Netflix's newest psychological thriller 'The Chestnut Man' is a chilling story of murder, mystery, and madness that will get you hooked till the end. The six-episode Nordic Noir is based on the book of the same name written by Søren Sveistrup and directed by Kasper Barfoed and Mikkel Serup.
In 'The Chestnut Man,' two detectives get tasked to solve a series of gruesome murders. The serial killer leaves behind a Chesnut man figurine on the crime scene, which serves as his calling card for the murders.
But beyond the murder mystery lies a heavier tale of loss, childhood, parenting, and abuse.
Who is the Chestnut Man? What does he want? Let us answer all your burning questions about the series. Here is everything that happened in Netflix's 'The Chestnut Man.'
Naia Thulin (Danica Curcic) is a female police investigator. She wanted to transfer to the cybercrime department to spend more time with her daughter. Her current fieldwork is taking most of her time away, and she feels guilty for not being around with her often.
She asks her senior, Nylander, to write her a reference for the job. However, Nylander assigns her to a murder case instead. She partners with Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), a Europol Liaison officer that recently moved to Denmark.
Meanwhile, the media is in a frenzy after Rosa Hartung (Iben Dorner) decides to return to parliament a year after her daughter gets kidnapped. Rosa's 12-years-old daughter, Kristine, is reported dead, but they never found her body. The police arrested Linus Bekker after he confessed to killing the politician's daughter.
Detective Hess and Thulin went to the crime scene to investigate a 37-year-old murdered woman named Laura Kjaer. Laura has a 10-year-old son, and they lived with her new partner Hans Henrik Hauge. Her lifeless body lay on the playground. One of her hands was missing, and the police found a chestnut man doll near her body.
They brought the chestnut man figure for investigation, and Forensic expert Simon Genz (David Dencik) discovered Kristine Hartung’s fingerprints on it. Baffled, Thulin requests Nylander to open Kristine's case, but Nylander refuses.
Hess and Thulin get forced to resume the investigation with limited support from the office. Kristine's fingerprints continue to puzzle the two detectives. They never recovered the young girl's missing body, and they are sure that the murder case somehow is related to the politician's daughter.
Just like most serial killers, the chestnut man has a pattern and reason behind their murders.
Soon enough, the Chestnut Man strikes again. Another mother gets killed. Her name is Anne Sejer Lassen, and the police found her dead near her house. Both of her hands got amputated, which later got recovered on a package taken from her husband.
Because of the brutal nature of the murders, Hess theorized that the chestnut man has no arms and legs. His next victim will likely have both of his hands and legs amputated. They must act fast before it is too late.
But Hess' initial theories are very far from the truth.
Soon, Hess discovered an anonymous report filed to social services about Laura and Anne. Both mothers got accused of tolerating the abuse that their partners do to their children. Laura's boyfriend, Hans Henrik, was a pedophile. He would bring Laura's 10-years-old son, Magnus, into a secret underground cellar behind the garage and take lewd videos of him.
Meanwhile, Anne's husband physically abused their daughters. Authorities found bloodstains all over their house.
Thulin understood that both mothers knew about their children's abuse. Yet, they turned a blind eye to their suffering. The detectives traced this pattern and found another report against a single mother named Jessie Kvium.
Jessie has a 6-year-old daughter, Olivia. The two tried to reach Jessie, but they were too late. Jessie was already dead.
The Chestnut man wanted to protect children by killing their irresponsible mothers. The killer believes that a mother must protect her children at all times. When she fails to do so, she must get punished.
The Chestnut man has problems that are rooted deeply in a conflicted childhood. But of course, his sense of justice is illogical. If he wanted to protect and avenge the children, he should have punished the direct perpetrators too.
After Kristine’s fingerprints get discovered on the chestnut man figure, Hess decided to re-investigate her missing case. He found out that Linus Bekker confessed to killing the girl using a machete. However, the pathology report only found blood traces on the murder weapon, no bone residue. That means that evidence against Linus is insufficient.
Furthermore, Linus only confessed to the murder after Tim Jansen confronted him with the machete. During the interrogation, Linus revealed he has schizophrenia, which causes him an altered sense of reality. Tim took advantage of his condition and urged him to confess to killing Kristine. Linus took the blame, and the case was closed. However, Linus seems to know who the true Chestnut man is. He is proud of taking part in his crimes.
Kristine’s mother, Rosa, had a very passionate fight against child abuse and negligence. Her rigid policies resulted in many parents losing custody of their children. They all held Rosa responsbile.
Rosa revealed that she got adopted as a child. She grew up under the care of her loving foster parents. The politician is grateful for her childhood and wants every child to have a similar loving home.
Benedikte Skan is one of the parents who lost custody of their child due to Rosa's policy. She also blamed Rosa for her loss. As revenge, she and her boyfriend Jacob Rasouli abducted Rosa's son Gustav.
Authorities found the couple in the woods, but they were already dead. They managed to recover Gustav safely. Thulin found the couple's missing body parts in the foundry near Benedikte’s apartment. However, there were no chestnut man dolls around their dead bodies.
Detective Tim Jansen concluded that the couple was the serial killers. They stole chestnuts from Rosa's garden, and they killed the mothers to frighten Rosa. Of course, it does not make sense, and Tim Jansen is not good at his job.
Nylander wanted to close the case, and Thulin is longing to go back to her daughter. However, Hess is unconvinced of the theories.
Hess' intuition proved to be correct. When Rosa found a chestnut family in her house, we knew the mystery is far from solved.
During the prologue scenes of the film, three dead bodies were found on Orum's farm on Mon island in 1987. Investigator Marius arrived at the crime scene and saw an injured foster kid. However, someone killed Marius before he could help him.
Hess dug the 1987 case and found chestnut figures in the crime scene pictures. He went to Mon island to investigate and met John Brink. John revealed that Orum and his wife were earning money by fostering two twins. Orum and his wife were horrible foster parents. During the investigation, John found the foster children in the basement. John also uncovered several VHS tapes that recorded Orum and his wife sexually abusing the children.
In one video, we saw the couple locking a boy in a room and forcing him to make chestnut men. John believes that Orum eventually felt guilty and killed his family before committing suicide by shooting himself. The foster children that survived were Toke and Astrid Bering.
Hess asked where the two surviving foster kids are living now. However, John seemed to have no clue. When they were at the house of John's sister, Hess found a picture of Toke, and everything finally clicked.
Toke is no other than the Forensic expert Simon Genz. He is the one who found Kristine's fingerprints on the chestnut man figures.
It turns out that Toke and Astrid Bering were first assigned to the same foster family where Rosa, Kristene's mom, was also getting fostered. Being the first foster kid, Rosa could not help but feel insecure about the twin's arrival. Rosa lied to her foster mother that Toke hurt her. The Petersen family sent the twins away following Rosa's accusations. The twins ended up in the Chestnut Farm, where they got abused by Orum and his wife.
As a result of the child abuse, Astrid grew up to be a drug addict and was diagnosed with depression. Meanwhile, Toke grew up to be a psychopath and became the forensic expert Simon Genz. Simon's job in the police force allows him to easily track irresponsible mothers, and make them his next victims.
Simon also kidnapped Rosa’s daughter Kristine to take revenge. He believes that Rosa Petersen Hartung was responsible for their messed-up childhood.
Simon lured Rosa to the chestnut farm. Meanwhile, Thulin found out that the chestnuts used in the crime scene only grow in Mon island. She asks Simon to go with her to the island, not knowing he is the serial killer they have been looking for.
Simon captured Rosa and Thulin. He was about to chop Rosa's body in the basement, but Hess managed to save her. Simon then burned the house to kill Hess and Rosa and took Thulin hostage. After several intense moments, Hess managed to rescue both Rosa and Thulin. Simon got killed in a car accident. A thick tree branch bludgeoned him in the chest.
After Simon's death, they were all left in the dark about Kristine's whereabouts. Thankfully, Astrid, Simon's twin sister, called him to ask for updates about Rosa. The call got traced, and they found her hideout. They found Kristine locked in a cottage house where Astrid was hiding. Based on her statements, it seemed that Astrid tried to protect Kristine from Simon.
The film ends with the case finally solved. Kristine returns to her family while Thulin transfers to the Cybercrime unit. Hess and Thulin are more likely to pursue their underlying romance. While Linus Bekker, the man who got wrongfully convicted for killing Kristine, gets released.