The Chestnut Man is a 2021 Netflix series filmed in Danish but dubbed in English.
4 out of 10 stars. I really hate series that revolve around violence toward women and children. This is another one of those and not particularly well written.
This series consists of six one-hour episodes. The murders are pretty gruesome, all mothers who are dismembered. The killer dismembers them to match chestnut men, little stick figures made with horse chestnuts that are missing eyes, feet, and hands. But the plot doesn’t make sense unless you watch the episodes out of order.
Watch the first three minutes of episode 5 first. That’s Rosa Hartung as a child with her adoptive parents, the Petersens. They’re telling her they’ve chosen to adopt the other two foster children, Toke and Astrid Bering. Rosa is teaching Toke and Astrid to make chestnut men.
Fast forward to 41 minutes into episode 5. That’s Rosa, months later, telling her adoptive parents that Toke has been sexually inappropriate with her. It’s a lie. She’s actually jealous of the attention her adoptive parents are paying to Toke and Astrid and she wants them gone. And so the Petersens send Toke and Astrid back into foster care. The next place they are sent is to a family on a chestnut farm.
Now watch the first six minutes of episode 1. A cop is called to the chestnut farm because their cows are loose and wandering down the road creating a hazard. He ignores his barking K-9 dog and goes in without backup. What he finds are four dead family members and the two foster children beaten, raped, and kept in a dungeon in the basement. Those two foster children are Toke and Astrid who will never recover from what has been done to them. And this monstrous place they were sent to was because of Rosa’s lies. Toke kills the cop, but the police later assume it was the farmer, who shot himself afterwards.
Fast forward 30 years and Rosa Peterson is now Rosa Hartung, Minister of Social Affairs. Her 11 year old daughter Kristina is kidnapped and killed. A man confesses and is sent to prison for her murder, even though the evidence is circumstantial and he had no motive.
A year later, a series of murders begins. The victims are all mothers whose children are being abused. The mothers are murdered gruesomely with their eyes gouged out and various limbs removed, made to resemble chestnut dolls. And near each murder is a chestnut doll. All of the chestnut dolls have Kristina Hartung’s fingerprints on them. Homicide detective Thulin is put on the case along with Interpol detective Hess.
Within three murders they find the link between Rosa and Toke Bering, who disappeared at the age of 18. That’s because he took another name and studied to be a forensic scientist under that name, Simon Getz. Yep, he’s the forensic head in charge of the evidence for the murders. The good news is that Kristina is still alive. But Toke/Simon kills a lot of people before they can rescue her.
4 out of 10 stars. Too graphic. If the series had been set up chronologically it would have been more interesting to watch. Instead, everything is dumped on the viewer in episode 5.