Brie Larson-led Room followed the story of a woman trapped inside a room with her son for years. The new German-language Netflix limited series – ‘Dear Child’ (Original German title: Liebes Kind), based on an eponymous book, begins with a similar premise. It follows a woman’s escape from a similarly harrowing isolation. It leads the investigators to a surprising series of discoveries in a case from 13 years before. This 6-episode crime mystery thriller, written by Isabel Kleefeld and Julian Pörksen, stars Kim Riedle, Naila Schuberth, Sammy Schrein, Hans Löw, Haley Louise Jones, Justus von Dohnányvi, and Julika Jenkins, among others.

Spoilers ahead. 

Dear Child (Limited Series) Recap:

What is the German-language ‘Dear Child’ on Netflix about?

‘Dear Child’ (Liebes Kind) on Netflix follows a woman who attempts to escape a harrowing confinement, getting hit by a car. During the investigation of this hit-and-run case, the detectives come across a series of horrifying findings. The puzzling information from the young girl who comes with her leads the investigators to look into another case from thirteen years ago.

Episode 1: Hannah

The narrative begins with a woman (Kim Riedle) getting hit by a car near a forest. She is brought to the hospital with a young girl, Hannah (Naila Schuberth). In the ambulance, Hannah amazes the medical staff with her encyclopedic knowledge. While the doctors treat the woman, Nurse Ruth (Birge Schade) tries to make Hannah feel safe. Hannah says that the woman is her mother, Lena. She also says that Lena’s blood type is AB+. Thankfully, the doctors check the woman’s blood type and realize that it isn’t AB+. Detective Aida (Haley Louise Jones) learns details about the hit-and-run case from police officer Ines Reisig (Seraphina Maria Schweiger).

Meanwhile, detective Gerd Bühling (Hans Löw) gets intel that the police might have found Lena Beck – who went missing over 13 years ago. He informs Lena’s father, Matthias Beck (Justus von Dohnányi), about it. Gerd mentions that the woman has not been identified as Lena yet and asks Matthias to wait till the morning. But Matthias does not wish to miss any more time after learning that their daughter may still be alive. He gets in a car with his wife Karin (Julika Jenkins) and drives to the hospital. Before Gerd can reach there, the couple goes to see the woman in shock. However, the patient is not their daughter Lena. So, Matthias gets emotional and creates a scene. Gerd tries to keep him under control. Moments later, the Becks notice Hannah walking towards them, which makes Karin emotional.

Episode 2: Großvater (Grandfather)

Hannah is a spitting image of Lena when she was a child. So, it makes the Becks suspect that Hannah is their granddaughter. But it also begs the question – who is the woman who claimed to be Lena? What is her exact relationship with their young girl? To find that out, Aida asks Gerd to share Lena’s DNA proof. The detective also learns that Gerd was the Becks’ neighbor in the past. So, she makes him admit that his personal feelings won’t interfere with their investigation. Soon after, Hannah tells Ruth that Matthias is her grandfather and that she has met him in the past. It adds another tangent to the mystery.

Meanwhile, Hannah keeps baffling others with her behavior. She keeps her hand flat open whenever someone enters the room, as if she is expecting a reward. It is her habitual behavior due to the years of conditioning by the abductor. She calls it one of her Papa’s rules. Later, she gets taken to child psychologist Dr. Hamstedt’s (Özgür Karadeniz) nursing home. By then, Gerd tries to find out the patient’s real name. But she keeps calling herself Lena. Although the woman has a scar on her palm similar to Lena’s, Gerd recognizes it as pretty recent. While he keeps trying to find the truth, the woman asks the doctors to see if she is pregnant.

On the other hand, Aida starts investigating around the forest area where the woman was hit by a car. A local employee objects to Ines looking around their workplace. Regardless, Aida plans to enter the facility, which could have possibly been the Home where Hannah and Lena were held captive. Besides, she hopes to find and rescue Hannah’s younger brother, Jonathan (Sammy Schrein). Without waiting for permission according to the protocols, Aida orders the police force to enter the area. Unfortunately, the officers enter a minefield, and one of them gets severely injured by a bomb.

Episode 3: Das Haus (The House)

Dear Child (Limited Series) Recap & Ending Explained
Haley Louise Jones in Dear Child (2023)

Gerd admits that Lena got the scar on her palm by mistake when she was young. But the escaped woman got it from the abductor, who wanted to replicate the mark on Lena’s palm. That’s why he also made this woman use bleach turning her hair blonde like Lena’s. After enormous torture from him, the woman agreed to call herself Lena and to obey his demands. After remembering how she was tortured, she finally tells the truth to Gerd. She says her real name is Jasmine Grass, and she was kept in isolation for five months. Jasmine also notes that she hit the kidnapper with a snow globe.

By then, Aida faces the danger of suspension for not following the protocol. Still, she enters the facility with a team of officers to check for the culprit and for Jonathan. Inside, Aida finds a man with a severely disfigured face. She suspects that is the culprit. Then, she finds Jonathan under the bed. Aida says that Jonathan did everything right – as the kidnapper used to say to make them feel validated. That’s how she makes him trust her. Afterwards, Jonathan is brought to the same facility as Hannah’s. Once he enters, Hannah asks for the cat, Miss Tinky. After the nursing staff leaves, she tells Jonathan that their Papa will soon come to rescue them and take them to their new home. The snow globe that Jasmine hit the culprit with was the culprit’s gift to Jonathan for Christmas. Miss Tinky was a gift for Hannah.

Gerd reaches the investigation site and enters the Home. He lies on Jonathan’s bed to see a drawing of Matthias on top. Gerd realizes this is why Jonathan recognizes Matthias as his grandfather. While looking around the facility, an officer notices a bomb. Luckily, everyone escapes just in time before it blasts. Afterward, Aida and Gerd learn that the DNA of the disfigured-faced man does not match the kids. But Lena’s DNA matches with Hannah’s and Jonathan’s. So, they are definitely her children. However, they have different fathers, which opens up another set of mysteries.

Episode 4: Regeln (Rules)

Before the kidnapping, Jasmine was an ambitious copywriter with a successful career. Right after landing a job at a media firm, she was kidnapped by a masked man. In the present, she decides to prematurely leave the hospital to get back to her normal life. Her father hopes she will return to their native place in Freiburg. But she insists on staying in her city apartment and refuses to let him stay with her. Nevertheless, a police officer is assigned to stay vigilant outside her building. She enters her flat and tries to get back to her previous life. But it becomes nearly impossible with the creeping paranoia of her painful memories. She hears a knock on the door and gets terrified. The woman mentions that she brought the groceries that her father asked her to. But Jasmine cannot keep her anxiety under control.

Meanwhile, Aida’s team digs through the forest to find a skull and strands of blonde hair. While a hair sample matches Lena’s, the skull is not hers. It makes the police realize that there are other victims. The news channel picks up the news about Jasmine’s abduction and Lena going missing So, the Becks have to contend with the press people hovering around their house. Aida and Ines question the employees from the security company. But none of them had noticed any such abduction. Instead, they file a complaint for entering their facility without prior permission. Afterwards, Aida checks who Hannah calls her Papa. She shows her the disfigured person’s face and then a security company employee’s. Hannah calls them both her Papa. She also calls Tom Cruise her Papa, which makes Aida suspect the truth in her words.

While Matthias tries to form a connection with his granddaughter, Gerd meets Jasmine to find out if the disfigured-faced man is the kidnapper. Jasmine remembers it as the man whose car hit her. But she does not tell Gerd about this. Instead, she accepts that the driver is Lena and Jonathan’s Papa to misdirect him. The kidnapper’s voice still makes her act exactly as per his wishes and keeps her under his spell.

Episode 5: Geschenke (Gifts)

The police team discovers a few other pieces of skeletons in the forest. Gerd believes Lena was already pregnant when she was abducted, considering Hannah’s age. Aida concocts that perhaps Hannah’s father kidnapped Lena. However, she does not want to rule out the possibility that there is more than one culprit since Jonathan has a different father than Hannah. Matthias decides to bring Hannah home against Karin’s wishes. Gerd tries to persuade him against it. But it doesn’t help.

Dear Child (Limited Series) Recap & Ending Explained - 1
Kim Riedle in Dear Child (2023)

Jasmine takes out a piece of glass and tries to kill herself in the bathtub. But the neighbor’s voice stops her from that suicide attempt. All of it may just be her imagination, but it highlights the omnipresent fear in her mind. Turns out, the kidnapper also keeps a watch on Jasmine’s apartment through minute cameras placed in her apartment. Meanwhile, Lena’s ex-boyfriend, Florian, pays a visit to her house and meets Karin. He now has a family consisting of a wife and two sons in another town. The men, who may have had a sexual relationship with Lena before the abduction, are asked to come for a DNA test. That includes Florian. The DNA tests reveal that Hannah is Florian and Lena’s child. However, he has been living in France for 12 years. So, Gerd rules him out as their suspect.

The security company in the forest, which filed a complaint against the police for entering their facility without permission, withdraws it. A man personally comes to the office to do the process, which raises Gerd’s suspicion about him. Gerd goes to Jasmine’s apartment to check if there is anything suspicious. In the bathroom, he sees a box for hair bleach and notices a camera on the ceiling. He tells her that there were other women before her who the culprit had killed. She gets upset at him. Once he leaves, she changes into another outfit with a full-sleeve sweater. Gerd keeps a vigil outside her building to catch the culprit as per his gumption.

Episode 6: Für Lena (For Lena)

Despite the frenzy of the press people, Matthias brings Hannah to their house. Karin worries about the impact that the chaos would have on the young girl. Since Matthias refuses to listen to her, she leaves the house. She feels terrible for Jonathan being left behind. So, she goes to the clinic to be with him. Gerd keeps a watch on Jasmine’s building to check if she contacts someone from the outside. Jasmine calls the culprit and agrees to leave as he tells her.

In the middle of a distraction, Jasmine sneaks out of the building. Gerd follows her but misses her around the corner. But he sees a man entering a big van on the other side. He probably realizes that this is the same security company employee who came to meet them at the station. So, he starts following the van. By that time, Matthias realizes that Hannah is not in the house. She enters the culprit’s van before Jasmine does. While following the culprit’s van, Gerd asks Aida to check if any connection between the security company heads and the Becks exists.

Dear Child (Limited Series) Ending Explained:

Who was the culprit, and what was his motive?

Aida goes to visit the Rogner and Sons’ security company’s office to check for any connections with the Becks. But the receptionist cannot find anything in the records. Aida enters their office to see the portrait of Rogner Sr in his old age. Then she sees a photo of him in middle age with his family. In that photo, Rogner Sr’s daughter is seen holding her son, Lars – the same employee who visited their office. Lars’s mother looks strikingly similar to Lena. So, Aida deduces it as the reason why Lars was obsessed with Lena and committed further crimes. She meets Jonathan, who accepts that Lars’s mother looks like his mother, Lena. He reveals that he did not leave their home because Hannah told him to.

During her journey with Hannah and the culprit, Jasmine learns a few details about Lars Rogner. He was raised by his grandparents and, thus, was seeking to be in a normal family. When Jasmine was hit by a car, Hannah ran behind her and told Jonathan to stay back. Lars noticed that and followed the child. Since she loved this new mom and wanted her to stay alive, Lars decided to let her go to the hospital. He told her the details she should share with the authorities once the ambulance arrived. In the middle of their journey, Jasmine asks him to stop so that she can go pee. She convinces him by mentioning the bathroom break timings that he made her follow for five months. So, he stops his van near a seashore.

Once Jasmine gets down, Lars takes out the knife from underneath her sweater’s sleeves. Earlier, he had noticed her keep it there. Then, he brings her out in the open. She requests him to look the other way. Once he does, she removes the piece of glass from her pad and pretends to have fallen ill. When he approaches to check on her health, she stabs him repeatedly with the same glass. Gerd arrives there just in time to ask Lars where Lena is buried. He mentions she is in the garden of her house. That is where Lena and Lars had crossed paths.

After the culprit’s death, Hannah walks towards the ocean with Jasmine. She finally removes her sunglasses and accepts sunlight as a part of her new reality. The police find remains of Lena’s body in the garden. Matthias and Karin join a support group to open up about their difficult emotions. Hannah and Jonathan stay at Dr. Hamstedt’s facility and walk on the path of recovery. Jasmine also returns to her new life without the fascistic rules that the sadistic culprit had bound her to.

Read More: Everything Coming to Netflix in September 2023

Trailer:

Dear Child (Limited Series) Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Dear Child (Limited Series) Cast: Julika Jenkins, Kim Riedle, Naila Schuberth
Dear Child (Limited Series) Genre: Mystery thriller
Where to watch Dear Child

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