The Chestnut Man is a thriller series on Netflix about a series of murders in Copenhagen committed by a psychopath who leaves chestnut figurines at the scenes of the murders. From this creepy clue, two detectives hunt for a killer linked to a politician’s missing child.
The minister of social affairs in Copenhagen, Rosa Hartung (Iben Dorner) returns to parliament one year after her daughter Kristine went missing and was reported dead by the police. Her body was never recovered but a felon confessed to committing the crime and was convicted.
Meanwhile, two detectives, Naia Thulin (Danica Curcic) and Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), investigate the house of the murdered woman, Laura Kjaer. Her hand has been amputated and there is a ‘chestnut man’ figurine on the scene of the crime.
Forensic expert Simon Genz (David Dencik) finds the apparently deceased Kristine Hartung’s fingerprints on the chestnut man figure causing a series of complications.
With limited resources, the detectives try to solve this mystery and answer the questions on everyone’s minds—Is Kristine still alive and who is the chestnut man?
The Chestnut Man ending explained in detail:
The series of murders
Another woman, Anne Sejer Lassen, was found dead with her left and right hand amputated in the woods near her house. Kristine’s fingerprints on the chestnut man figure procured from both crime scenes were the only link between the killings.
Further investigation leads the detectives to find out that both Laura Kjaer and Anne Sejer Lassen were careless, ignorant mothers.
Laura’s boyfriend was a paedophile and recorded her son, Magnus, in an underground cellar hidden in the garage. Anne’s husband physically abused their daughters. Probably, both mothers knew about the children’s abuse yet neglected it.
A similar pattern was observed with a single mother Jessie Kivum so they decide to lay a trap for the chestnut man. He outsmarts them and Jessie is found dead near a cottage.
The chestnut man had a very strong philosophy that mothers who fail to protect and care for their children must be killed as innocent children must not suffer.
Linus Bekker confessed to killing Kristine Hartung using a machete. It is later revealed that Linus explained that he was a diagnosed schizophrenic and altered reality and facts due to his condition. The detectives conclude that probably, in a hurry to close the case, Bekker was influenced to confess to killing Kristine.
Rosa Hartung had been very vocal about child abuse and negligence during her political career. Due to her firm policies, many parents lost custody of their children and held Rosa responsible.
Due to her policy, a nurse Benedikte Skans lost custody of her child, who later died from a lung infection. Benedikte blamed Rosa for the loss and thus abducted Rosa’s son, Gustav, with the help of her boyfriend, Jacob Rasouli.
The police tracked the couple down and found them dead in the woods while Gustav was recovered safely. The police hurriedly concluded that Benedikte and Rasouli were the serial killers and closed the case.
Who is the Chestnut Man and what happened to Kristine?
In the prologue sequence in 1987, officer Marius found three dead victims on Orum’s chestnut farm. He found an injured foster kid, but someone killed Marius before he could help him.
Investigations of the 1987 case reveal photographs with several chestnut men. Several VHS tapes of the foster kids with recordings of sexual abuse inflicted upon them by Orum and his wife were found. It was theorized the Orum felt guilty and killed his wife and then shot himself. The foster kids that survived the tragedy were Toke and Astrid Bering.
Toke and Astrid Bering were first assigned to foster family, Petersen at Odsherred. Their sister Rosa Hartung lied about Toke sexually assaulting her which led the twins to be sent to the chestnut farm.
Orum and his wife ill-treated the twins and abused them. This probably led to Toke killing them. He thus grew up to become a psychopathic killer. He also changed his name to Simon Genz and became the forensic expert at the police department.
Simon calls Rosa to the chestnut farm to reveal the fate of Kristine. Thulin takes Simon to investigate further, unaware that he was the Chestnut Man. He captures them both and sets the house on fire to kill them. Hess arrives in the nick of time and saves both Rosa and Thulin. Simon was killed in a car accident as a thick tree branch impaled his chest.
Simon’s twin sister, Astrid, calls him to inquire about Rosa. The police trace the call and infiltrate her cottage house and arrest her. They also find Kristine locked in the room. Simon had kidnapped her to take revenge on Rosa. Kristine is reunited with her family and the case is finally closed. Thulin changes departments to be able to give more time to her daughter.
Hess goes to Budapest for a new case but promises to return as we see an underlying romance between him and Thulin. Bekker is found not guilty and is released from prison. It appears that the grisly tale had a happy ending for everyone.