THE CHESTNUT MAN is an excellent Danish noir suspense and mystery series streaming on Netflix. A great 6-episode binge-watching length, the series takes the lead character, a female police detective, through various crimes in the hunt for a serial killer.
THE CHESTNUT MAN begins when a dead woman, a mother, is found on a playground. A hand was cut off. Nearby is a chestnut man. A chestnut man is a stick figure that Danish children make with chestnuts for the body and head and matches for the arms and legs. Detective Naia Thulin (Danica Curcic) doesn’t know if the figure is important, but she has it picked up anyway.
Before the case got underway, Naia asked Thulin to come under murder and move to the IT department where she would have more reasonable hours. She is a single mother of Le (Liva Forsberg). Naia’s foster father, Aksel (Anders Hove), who considers Le to be her grandfather, is the one who takes care of Le most of the time while Naia works.
Naia is assigned to work on the case with Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), a detective she doesn’t know. At first he seems like a real weakling, but as the case progresses, he proves to be just as much of a detective as Naia.
While the investigation into the playground murder is underway, Rosa Hartung (Iben Dorner) returns to work after a year of absence. Rosa is a minister whose daughter disappeared a year ago. A man confessed to murdering her daughter and is in prison, but the body has never been found.
Simon Genz (David Dencik), the police forensic expert, tells Naia that the chestnut man’s fingerprints match those of Rosa Hartung’s dead daughter.
With that seemingly impossible news, the mystery and suspense that make up the series are underway. More murdered mothers are found with severed body parts and chestnut brown men with the fingerprints of the Hartung girl nearby. The murdered mothers were all abusive or negligent.
The tightly wound mystery that follows the killer’s pursuit is full of false leads, suspicious characters, danger and the hope that Rosa Hartung’s daughter is still alive somewhere. I started to suspect several characters who seemed guilty. I was also concerned that Naia’s daughter, who was neglected by her overworked mother, was making Naia the target of the killer.
The series was created and written by Dorte Warnøe Høgh, based on a novel by Søren Sveistrup. There were only male directors and only one woman working on just one episode in the writers room, but the series did well to explore the personalities and backgrounds of the police officer Naia and the minister Rosa.
The secrets of the story were carefully revealed to maintain suspense and mystery as the police struggled to prevent more murders and find the killer. General, THE CHESTNUT MAN is a very good noir mystery.
Here’s The Trailer.
I was surprised when the killer was finally revealed. Did you think of it in advance or were you surprised by it too?
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