The Nurse (2023) Netflix Miniseries Review, Recap & Ending Explained: Netflix’s new four-part Danish mini-series “The Nurse” is a compelling Hitchcockian drama about a newly-joined nurse confronting her perpetually growing suspicion about the macabre nature of a seemingly benign colleague. Netflix’s ‘The Nurse’ is based on a true story, which later was collected in a book form by journalist Kristian Corfixen, “The Nurse” tells the story of a grotesque serial killing case in a small suburban hospital in Denmark.
The Nurse (2023) Netflix Miniseries Recap:
In 2012, when Arne Herskov, a resident of the Danish City, of Nykobing Falster, fell ill, he was taken to the hospital by his brother Kenny (Dick Kayso). Arne does not seem to have any significant health issues. The hospital doctors tell Arne can leave the next day. He was advised to spend the night in hospital care as a precautionary measure. In the night, a spectral figure seems to enter Arne’s room. The next morning, Arne is found dead.
The shocked and dumbfounded Kenny is told by the hospital authorities that a significant amount of Diazepam and Morphine was found in Arne’s blood. The hospital concludes that Arne committed suicide by an intentional overdose. Arne did suffer a tragedy in the form of his son’s death. It did not seem too unlikely to most. But Kenny never believed it.
In 2014, Pernille Larsen (Fanny Louise Bernth) moves to Nykobing Falster with her young daughter. Primarily to be near to her young daughter’s father, the ex-boyfriend of Pernille. As a newly-graduated nurse, Pernille could not wait to start work in the local hospital. It’s the hospital where Arne died. On her first day, Pernille makes good impressions with her new colleagues. She gets particularly impressed by the enigmatic and most adored nurse in the hospital, Christina (Josephine Park).
Christina and Pernille’s friendship blossoms as they start taking the emergency night shifts. The exhilarating experience of saving a life, peddled by the infectiously spirited Christina, gets Pernille high as well. Christina calls this a ‘Dream Team.’ Both women seem to find a true friend in each other. Apart from the highs of saving lives, they also experience the lows of failing to save them frequently on the night shift. Too frequently, as Pernille soon starts to notice.
As we move past the first episode, we, along with Pernille, start to wonder about Christina. Pernille starts to doubt Christina’s passion for saving lives. What came across as the usual heroism of healthcare providers, soon starts to look like a perverse fantasy of Christina. Pernille could not help but notice the odd behaviors of Christina, as well as the blatant lies. It seems Christina could not let a single moment go without it being about her.
Things escalate fast when three patients die on Christina’s night shift and none of them seemed on the verge of death when Pernille had reviewed them before. Soon, Pernille’s aversion towards Christina’s braggadocio gets replaced by suspicions about something much more sinister. Christina seems to be a serial killer.
The Nurse (2023) Netflix Miniseries Review:
Created and directed by Kasper Barfoed, “The Nurse” takes its time to get the audience hooked. But when it does, the tension is palpable like in any Hitchcock work. Amidst the beautiful Nordic sceneries, the macabre nature of the tale stands tall. Like the slowly affecting poisonous overdose of the medicines, the series also turns its central relationship on its head gradually.
The relationship between Pernille and Christina is the backbone of this story. Furthermore, Bernth and Park had to be top-notch to get the story propelled forward. And they do just that. Park’s Christina is just about the right amount of unhinged with a touch of mystery. And Bernth portrays the resilience of Pernille perfectly. The last episode, in particular, is a fine example of both actresses’ excellent turns.
Netflix’s The Nurse Explained:
How did Pernille convince others of Chrisina’s killing spree?
Pernille expresses her concerns about Christina to her boyfriend, Doctor Lunden (Peter Zandersen). Lunden is a physician in the same hospital. At first, he does not believe her. Like most of the others, he also considers Christina ‘the best nurse’ in the hospital. Pernille finds very few takers of her theory. One of them was an old colleague of Christina, Ida. Ida told Pernille that there was a root cause analysis one time in 2012. This refers to the case of Arne. Ida tells about the amount of Diazepam and Morphine found in Arne’s health system.
Ida also tells Pernille that deaths significantly decreased when Christina moved from Ida’s department. This solidifies Pernille’s suspicion. But everyone in the hospital, barring one nurse named Ditte, and everyone around the city seems to know and like Christina. Pernille has no one else, barring Ditte, to confide in. And Ditte also does not seem too keen to fight against Christina without any solid proof
Just when it seems that Pernille is alone in her fight, Lunden turns around. He has done his research even after dismissing Pernille’s theory about Christina. Lunden notices that most of the deaths under Christina’s care never had any heart condition. He also finds the average death in a year decreased in Christina’s previous department by a whopping count of forty when Christina left.
Why Did Christina Kill?
When Pernille becomes sure that Christina is overdosing on the unsuspecting patients with Diazepam, then the obvious question pops up to her and to Doctor Lunden. It is “Why?” There lies the most intriguing part of this ‘Serial Killing.’ For Christina is not a serial killer, but a ‘Serial Saver,’ if that makes any sense. Christina injected Diazepam into the patient’s body to get them on the verge of cardiac so that she could try saving them with her well-rehearsed heroic repertoire of life-saving actions in the hope of another ‘Fantastic Work, Christina’ from the awestruck audience, which includes doctors and other workers.
As the series is based on true events, we find that the real Christina Aistrup Hansen was diagnosed with severe Histrionic personality disorder. A disorder that makes the person crave immense attention from everyone all the time. This desire to be almost worshiped created apathy in her, where the lives of her patients became justifiable collateral damage to her.
The Seemingly Benign Premonitions
The series did show some premonitions about Christina’s killing knack early. Christina admitted in the first episode that the life-saving experience is a tremendous high. ‘High’ here refers to addiction. She said this jokingly and innocently but it proves to be true. She was addicted to saving lives. If there were no lives to be saved, then she would endanger lives to save them.
Another small premonition was when Pernille’s young daughter told her about learning about ‘average’ in math class. She asked her mother what ‘average’ means. Pernille does not answer that. Just like the entire hospital body does not notice the ‘average’ death counts year by year. And how the average gets decreased when Christina is not around.
The Meeting of Two Timelines
In the last episode, Pernille, with help from Lunden, finds the necessary proof in a nail-biting fashion. She then officially informs the police. Based on her testimony and proof, Christina is arrested. Christina gets life in prison, which later becomes 12 years in prison. When Pernille comes back to join the hospital, she finds most of her colleagues resenting her. The enigma of Christina was strong. However, hope comes from an unexpected source for Pernille.
The 2012 timeline’s remaining member, Kenny, finally meets Pernille under the pretense of getting checked. He thanks Pernille. Kenny always believed in Arne not committing suicide. When Pernille gets Christina arrested, Kenny is relieved to see his brother’s killer get the punishment.