The Chestnut Man (2021) - full transcript

The Chestnut Man is set in the quiet suburb of Copenhagen, where the police make a terrible discovery one blustery October morning. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small man made of chestnuts. The ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned to the case, along with her new partner, Mark Hess. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and was presumed dead - the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung.

[Vogel] So, you talked
to the head of homicide?

Yes. They found another chestnut man
with Kristine's fingerprints.

It makes no sense.

-Why leave a chestnut man--
-I don't-- I don't know.

They think it's some kind of harassment.

How about Steen, how's he coping?

We'll get through it. We're good together.

Otherwise, let me know
if you ever need to talk.

I'm here.

That's nice of you, Frederik. Thanks.




[door closes]

[crowd cheering on video]

Hi, sweetie.

[Gustav] Hi.

Did you have a nice day?

-Yeah, It was fine.

Where's Dad? Haven't you had dinner?

No. He's been in the office all afternoon.

Oh. It's probably
the new building project.

I guess. He told me not to come in.

Steen? What is all this?

[sighs] I just need
to go through it again.


What if Gustav saw all this?

What would it do to him?

[paper rustling]

I know you're still drinking.

I have stopped drinking.

You need to stop this as well.

We have to move forward.
For Gustav's sake.

And for ours.

I can't lie about how I feel.

Yes, you can.
I do it every single day out there.

-So can you.
-But I won't.

Everything's so strange.
The fingerprints are strange.

-It's strange--
-You didn't pick her up.

-That's why you're doing this.
-You didn't either.

-Not even once did you pick her up.
-But you promised!


[crowd cheering on video]

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, honey.

Just promise me you'll take all this down.

[door opens and closes]



-[radio chatter]
-[sirens wailing]

[Thulin] And what about the lanterns?
Are they lit?

[Aksel] Sure. It looks like
a Chinese light festival here.

[Thulin laughs] Really?

-You should have seen it.
-Oh, that's too bad.

-You missed it. Too bad.

Can I talk to her?

You know what? She doesn't have time
to talk to you right now.

Okay, then say hi from me, and, uh…

By the way, she asked
if she could have her ears pierced.

-No, of course she can't!
-I have to go now.

[hangs up]

[radio chatter]

-We've already started searching for him.
-Okay. Could he be our guy after all?

No, he had an alibi for
Anne Sejer-Lassen's murder, but…

Come with me.

We came here because of an anonymous
report about the boy's neglect.

-We found a hidden basement

that Hauge built himself,
and his computer,

which we're unlocking now.

-Are you okay?
-[Hess] Yeah, I'm fine.

The room is soundproofed,
and so is the hatch.

[Nylander] Mm.

[Genz] It was all built under the grate.
I've never seen anything like it.

I've sent swabs of fiber to the lab.

We're checking for prints
to figure out who's been down there.

[technician] Thulin?
I've accessed Hauge's computer.

[radio chatter]

These folders are named
according to different months.

I don't wanna watch this.

[Hauge] Magnus?

Magnus, are you ready?

This is going to be fun, real fun.

You don't want to make Mom sad, do you?

Okay. [chuckling]
Let's take off your T-shirt.

Yeah. That's good.

Good boy.

Really good.

Oh! You're so beautiful.

I love you so much.

[Hess] You'd want to kill the stepfather.

Not his mom.

His mother knew something was wrong.
That's why she changed the locks.

If the anonymous reporter
killed Laura Kjær,

because to him, she was a bad mother…

then… then why kill Anne Sejer-Lassen?

Maybe the killer thought
she was a bad mom too.

But why? She was packing
and about to leave her husband.

[ringing tone]

[Genz] Yes?

Does the blood from the floor
at Sejer-Lassen's house

-belong to the daughter?

Yeah, and we also found some, uh, from
the sister in the bathroom and in the…

uh, in the garden room.

But it's all in the report. Why?

[sighs] I think the girls
have had too many accidents.

-What, do you think--
-Thanks, I've gotta go.

We need to get
the daughters' medical records.

[Hess] Gentofte hospital, broken clavicle.

Broken nose.

Don't look at me. Look at the photos.

And here, from
the national hospital's trauma center,

when you lived in Copenhagen.

-Fall from the stairs, huh?
-Yeah. I already told you, it wasn't me.

-It was an accident.
-We know what you did to your kids.

The question is, who else knows?

The state attorney has decided

to prosecute you
for violence against your children.

You may never see your girls again.
Do you understand?

I love my kids, okay?

I do.

Who knew?

Your wife knew.

Or she was beginning to suspect it.


I tried to get help, okay?
I even talked to someone after the report.

Wh-- what report?

[Erik] Uh, to the district.

A case worker came out,
but I put my lawyer on it,

-so nothing came of it.
-A case worker from Gentofte?

From Copenhagen.

I specifically asked if there was
a report. The case worker said no.

Who filed that report?

I don't know. It was anonymous.

[Hess] Yes.

Yeah, okay.

That's just really annoying. Thanks a lot.


-[Thulin] What's up?

Child and youth services
can't help until tomorrow.

-And only if we get a court order.
-I'll get that.

-And you're sure I can take the car?
-Sure. Take it.

[keys jingle]

Thank you for getting me out of that hole.

[thunder rumbling]


-Took a chance and came over.

-Are you off?

-Yeah, I am.


This is Hess. He's my, um…


[Hess] Can-- can I get the key?

[Thulin] Yeah.

See you tomorrow.

-[Sebastain] But where is she now?
-[Thulin] Sleeping at Aksel's.

Too bad.
I was looking forward to seeing her again.

-But there are advantages.

-We get more time together.
-Mm! [chuckles]

-You left last time, remember?
-Yeah, I'm sorry.

You know what? I'm-- I'm really tired.
I'm not really up for, uh…

No, no, no, no.
We don't have to do anything.

We'll just sit here,
have some wine and hang out, right?

I do have a wild fantasy
about us going away for the weekend.

No, no, no.
I'm not going on any weekend trip.

Like, do you even realize what I do?

No, because you can't tell me.

[sighs] Wh-- what is it you want from me?

What do you mean?

Are you dreaming of your own toothbrush
here, or me meeting your mom soon, or…

You think that's what I want?

Well, I think it's natural for you
to dream of moving in

and having your own kids at some point.

Yeah, yeah. Sure. Of course.

I don't think
I can give you what you want.

You can't, or you won't?

[puts glass down]

What the hell's happening?

Is it that bum in the car, or what?

Then what?

Can you please leave?

Now, what the fuck is this? All I do
is letting your oh-so-important job

dictate when we see each other,
and where, and how.


You know what? You are so fucking cold.

You only care about yourself.

[door opens and closes]

[Birdie chirping]

[distant thunder rumbling]

[thunder growing louder]

-[thunder crashing]
-[heavy rainfall]

[thunder fading]

[car engine starts]

I was held up when you called.

-[man] I thought you wanted to come back.
-And I do.

-So why…
-It's a bit complicated right now.

The longer you wait, the more complicated
things get down here as well, no?

-I'm calling Freymann tomorrow.
-Oof. You'd better.

[music thumping]

Hey! There you are!

You work too much.

Uh, this is Rizwan, the guy
I told you about. The estate agent.


-I just wanted to show him the flat…

…so he could give you a good price.

-Think about it.

He sells ten percent above average.

See you.

Oh, by the way,
I put the floor sander in there.



[newsreader] The investigation
into the killings

of 37-year-old Laura Kjær,
a clinic nurse from Husum,

and 36-year-old
Anne Sejer-Lassen from Klampenborg

has raised speculation about whether
there's a connection between the two.

-I need this signature.
-The killings happened a few days apart,

and anonymous sources say

-there are certain similarities.
-And here.

-The police will not reveal…
-[Vogel] Are you ready?

-…same offender.

Where are we going?

Bukke's closing the final amendments
in the conference room.

He's finally caved.

Great. Go ahead, Engells and Frederik.
I need to talk to Liv.

Liv, has the head of homicide tried
to contact me again?

No. But I've heard that the detectives
contacted child and youth services.

Why would they?

I don't know.

I called to get some stats
from Copenhagen this morning, and…

I gathered the whole department was
at a standstill due to a search.

-A search?

-[door opens]

-Hey. Hey, Liv.
-[Rosa] Hi.

-Mmm… do you have a minute?
-Yes. I'll be right there.

-Um… I'm, uh… a bit busy.
-Yes, of course.

You… you forgot your keys.

Thank you.

-Steen, what--
-I've thought about it.

What you said yesterday. About Gustav.

I think you are right.

Of course we have to protect him.

So I… I won't go on… [sighs]

We've decided to go see a movie later.

-Oh. Lovely.

I wish I could go. [sighs]

You know, um…

Maybe I can move some meetings.

I'll have a look.

-Maybe we should grab a burger before?

-[Vogel] Rosa?

[Steen] I mean… only if you have the time.


Okay. Let's talk later.

-See you later.
-Yes, honey.

I'll leave you to it.


The problem is that when we talked
yesterday, the system crashed--

-No. No, it didn't.
-I couldn't--

You told me there was no report
on Sejer-Lassen.

No, you must have misheard me--

I think you saw a notice
from the national hospital

when you looked them up in your system.

A notice that you didn't check up on.

Then you panicked,
and now the mother's dead.

You made a mistake.

I'm so sorry if we've delayed your work.

I assure you that our social workers
are working hard to manage the workload.

-Yeah. And we did talk to the family--
-Look, don't apologize to me,

apologize to the girls
who had the shit kicked out of them.

-And to the boy who was abused.
-You got a minute?

Yes, I do. I'm getting nowhere here.

I've compared the two reports.

One against Laura Kjær
and the other against Sejer-Lassen.

[Hess sighs]


"That selfish whore.
She should know better."

-The same. The wording's the same.

If the perpetrator made reports
about people who were then killed,

he might have reported
his next victim already.

Hey, you two.

We need all anonymous reports
about neglect and abuse in the last year.

Just the cases
where you found no need to intervene.

Come on! Get to it.

-Of course.


-What's all this?
-The cases from social services.

I think we have to bring in more people
to get through this quickly.

Of course. Thomsen, you handle that.

Let me know if you find anything.

And we need to talk to Rosa Hartung again.

Is there something I should know?

No, there isn't, but the perpetrator
is most likely the anonymous reporter.

He's killed two women
whom he deemed irresponsible mothers

and he left Kristine Hartung's
prints at the scenes.

It has to be a message
to the minister of social affairs.

-I get that, but I don't think

-she has any new information.
-No, but we have to be sure.

-Let me tell you something.
-[knocks on desk]

I lived in those two's living room
for three months.

Every single day, I saw two parents
go from hope to deep despair and back.

-I can't put them through that again.

And it wouldn't feel good either
if it turned out you were wrong, would it?

I'm not wrong, Hess.




[wind rustling leaves]

How far have you got?

I can't find any mention
of "selfish whore"

or "she should know better",
as we saw in the other two reports.

-Why did you take these out? Can I look?

Both Laura Kjær and Anne Sejer-Lassen
were acquited by the district,

although the children were suffering,

so I looked for others
they might have been wrong about.

These are the same five I took out.

These families seem highly dysfunctional.

[Hess sighs]

It's such a long shot.

It makes no sense.

Why not just kill them?

Why report them first?

[Thulin] Maybe he gave the authorities
one last chance to intervene,

but they didn't.

[distant siren blaring]

[Hess] What if he changed
the way he writes?

[Thulin] Mmm?

Okay, so if you were the killer
and you wrote the first two reports,

and knew we were looking for the third…

How would you write that?

The readability stats aren't very high
in the reports on the victims.

So if the perpetrator
is wanting to confuse us…


…then there are at least
two that stand out.

They're both well-articulated,
without misspelled words or typos.

And which is better written?

[Thulin] Jessie Kvium's.

"Jessie Kvium, 24 years old, lives alone
with her daughter Olivia, aged six."

"No contact with the father."

The accuser reports that Jessie's often
very drunk while with her daughter.

And the neighbors often complain
about visitors

and loud music from the apartment
all through the night.

-[loud dance music playing]
-[instructor shouting]

In, out, in, out, in, out.


In, out, in, out. Out!

And come in.

Side to side. Arms up.

[man] And on vacation, we took a walk
and then we went into this hotal.

We just went in to take a look.

-This huge infinity pool, right?
-Arms up!

So there was no question about it.
We have to go back, pack our stuff

-and check in here instead--
-Hi, Nikolaj.

Hi. Yeah.

Even though it wasn't the plan,

what else can you do there
apart from lie in the pool?

So, yeah. My point is,
I can really recommend it.

Were you at
the parent-teacher meeting last Friday?

No, my wife went.

There's something important
I'd like to talk to you about

with regards to the class culture.

Would you excuse me for a minute?


[man sighs]

That was the last time. You got that?

-I'm married.

So stop following me, for God's sake.

[door slams]

Fuck you, you smug jerk.

Take your fucking Audi
and stick it up your ass.

Fucking… door!




[echoing clang]






[slow footsteps]




[pop music playing]

[Nylander] How can we be sure
that she's the next victim?

What you're suggesting sounds risky.

[Thulin] We can't be sure,
but she's our first choice.

If we look at the number of days between
the two first murders, we can't wait.

So… what exactly are you saying?

That there's a creepy stalker out there?

[Hess] We need to find out
who sent the anonymous report.

I told you,
it was one of the moms from school.

[Hess] But we don't think so.

Know how annoying it is
to have the district on your ass?

Okay, look.
If there's anything to this report,

-you could be in danger.

-Do you get that?
-But there isn't.

You said you felt like
someone was after you.

-In the mall.
-Under the mall.

In the basement.

Tell me what happened.

-Already told this to the other one.
-Tell me.

I heard footsteps,
and they stopped every time I did.

-Did you see anything?
-No. I said that as well.

-It was dark.
-And what were you doing in the basement?


[door opens]

[cartoon playing through headphones]

What do you think? Could she be the one?

It could be her.

According to district,
Jessie Kvium's an alcoholic.

There's been meetings at school. Teachers
think she's neglecting her daughter.

And she thought
someone was following her at the mall.

[Jansen] Captain, look at this.

I think we have a problem.


-[Jansen] Yeah.
-[Nylander] God damn it.

[Thulin] Nylander, what's it gonna be?

How long do you need?

[officer] Captain,
the press is asking for a statement.

-What do I tell them?
-[Nylander] Don't tell them anything.

Guys, listen up.

[birds calling]

[Steen] Gustav?

Are you coming?

-We need time to buy sweets as well.
-Yeah. What about Mom?

-[Steen] Mmm…
-[soft clattering]

[swallowing] She couldn't
make it after all, so…

-it's a guys' night.
-[doorbell rings]

-Hi. Sorry to disturb you.

-Steen Hartung?

Yeah. I'm sorry to turn up like this,
but I tried calling a few times.

I'm Niels Davidsen, a reporter
from Background. Do you have a comment?

A comment on what?

About the murders of the two women.

There are rumors about some fingerprints.

I haven't heard anything.

Your daughter's fingerprints
were supposedly found

in connection with the murders.

We have it from a source in the police.

-I know nothing about--
-Do the prints make you wonder

if she's still alive?

Steen, we would like you
to come on the show tonight.

My son is home.
We are on our way to see a movie.

-Go away.
-Wait a second.

-Won't you please--
-[door slams]

[stairs creaking]

[sighs deeply]

[Gustav] Who was it, Dad?

Who was it, Dad?

It was nobody--

Get the glue.

-Where is it?
-I don't know.

Where we keep glue, damn it.

[yells] Just get the damn glue!

I'm going to Victor's.

[front door slams]


-[Thulin] Please move your homework.
-[Le] Okay.

-How long will you be gone for tonight?
-We talked about that.

Please set the table.

-You weren't at the lantern party either.

Why can't Sebastian
be here sometimes?

Because we have Grandpa.

And look, you don't ask him if you can
get your ears pierced. You ask me.

-You listening?

I think it's a really bad idea.

You can tear the earlobe, and it can--

But I have drawn pictures for Sebastian.

-And you said he could come over.

[sighs] But we're not together anymore.

We're good friends,
but we're-- we're not dating.

-Yeah, but he'll still sleep over, right?
-No, not any more. That's over.

-Why did you break up with him?
-It's none of your business.

-Yes, it is!
-No, 'cause that's adult stuff.

-Fuck your adult stuff.
-That's not how we talk here!

How would you know? You're never here.

-[knocking at door]

Would you please let Grandpa in?

[Le sighs]

[door opens]

[door closes]

It's not Grandpa.
It's someone from your crappy job.

Hey. I wanted to look at the floorplan
before we go.


-Sorry to interrupt your dinner.
-No, it's fine.

-The place is set for my grandpa.
-Le, enough.

-No, I'll just go for--
-No, wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait.

-Eat your vegetables.

-Do you want more?
-No, no thank you.

-It was good, though.

-You're lying.

Grandpa will be here soon, so get ready.

He is not my real grandpa.

He is just helping my mom,
because she doesn't have a dad or a mom.

I see.

You have different coloured eyes.

Uh, yes, yes, I do. Yeah.

-[Birdie chirping]
-Wow. Is that a budgie?


Do you have kids?


A wife?


-You can't keep a relationship either?
-Uh, yes.

But, uh, my wife died.

How did she die?


-You don't want to hear about that.
-I do.

Well, she…


There was a fire
in the building we lived in.

There was some… We'd just moved in,
and there was some illegal wiring.

I think… Um…

I wasn't home. But, uh, she was.

If our flat caught fire,
I'd run out as fast as I could.

[Hess] Yeah.

[Le] I'm sorry.

-[Thulin] You can watch some TV.
-[Le] Okay.

-Should we look at the floorplan?
-Yes, let's do that.

[Thulin] Where does Jessie live?

Right here.

[officer 1 on radio] Kvium's car
is coming. Englandsvej 7. Over.

[officer 2] Kvium and her daughter
are moving towards East Block 18. Over.

[Hess] Kvium has arrived at the apartment.
Sixth floor. Hess over.

[muffled voices
from neighboring apartments]


[TV host] …daughter Kristine,
who disappeared last fall.

Fingerprints have been discovered
that belong to Kristine,

who was presumed killed last year.

The police refuse to make any comments,

and say that the case is closed,

-pointing to the physical evidence…
-[phone vibrating]

-…and full confession--
-[turns TV off]

-[Thulin] I'm in position.
-Yeah. Everyone's in position.

If he turns up, we'll see him immediately.

[sighs] Shit.

What's up?

-Steen, Kristine's dad. Good evening.
-Steen Hartung's on TV.

-Good evening.
-Kristine's fingerprints

have turned up in two murder cases.

-That must be devastating for you…
-I've just heard--

-[host] Do you think she could be alive?

[Steen] Yes. I think she might be.

-[host] That must be just horrifying--
-That's why I'd like to tell people.

If you know something, or saw something
that could be connected to our daughter,

please contact the police.

-Where's Vogel?
-It might not be too late.

-And to the person who took Kristine…
-Find him now!

…I have just one plea.
Will you please give her back to us?


-When did you arrange this?
-We didn't.

[Steen] …is a good girl.

-She didn't deserve this.
-[Engells] There will be repercussions.

-You know that, right?
-Kristine deserves to be with her friends,

and go to school.

She deserves to be with her family,
she deserves to get back to life.

-[Liv] Rosa, the minister of justice.
-[host] If Kristine's watching,

-what would you like to say to her?
-We miss you.

We won't give up until we find you.


[door closes]

[footsteps approach]

Where's Gustav?

He's sleeping.

He's devastated.

I didn't mean to--

Most nights, I can't sleep, because I--
I think I hear her in her room.

When I look out of the window, I--

I see her sitting
on the swing in the yard.

-I hear her laughter in the car.

I can still feel her warm hands
in mine at the hospital

that time she had appendicitis.

Ah, Rosa.

I would never have done this…

if I didn't believe it with all my heart.

[breathing shakily]

I can feel her. I--

I know she's out there.


[whispers] Honey… can't you feel her too?

[Rosa sobbing]

[officer on radio]
Entrance B, entrance C, check. Moving on.

[music thumping from car speakers]

-[music fades]
-[ringing tone]

-[Thulin] What's up?
-What's going on?

-Why did you turn off the light?
-I figured Jessie'd go to bed now.

What's happening at your end?

Really not that much.

-He might not even strike tonight.

[sighs] We'll look like idiots.

-Well, mostly you. It was your idea.

[clears throat]

-By the way, um…

I'm, uh…

I'm sorry about your wife.

-[thunder rumbling]
-[music thumping from car speakers]

-Your daughter's pretty bright, huh?
-[chuckles] Yeah.

She takes all the credit.
And her grandpa, of course.

-She told me he helps out sometimes.
-Yeah. You can say that again.

It started with Aksel and his wife
taking care of me a long time ago.

-I was in some trouble, and, uh…

Since then, he's just been there for us.

-[voices passing by]
-[dog barks]

-And what about her-- her dad?
-He's not really worth mentioning. [sighs]

That's why I want to go to cyber crime.

-To have more time?

And I just get too many nightmares
and too little sleep.

It's hard to keep it all up.

Yes, but it's also
what makes you good at it.

[chuckles] Maybe.

[officer 1] The male with the cigarette
from earlier is approaching the entrance.

[Jansen] Do you have
a description of him? Over.

[officer 1] No, he's wearing a hood.
Medium height, slim. Over.

Hess, what's happening?

[building door opening]

[Hess] Someone just sneaked in.
Switch to radio.

What-- [sighs]

Bravo, can you tell if he's armed?
Jansen, over.

[footsteps walking upstairs]

[officer 2] Fourth floor. Bravo, over.

Fifth floor. Bravo, over.

Thulin, he's on your floor. Over.

[thunder rumbling]

He's walked past the apartment.
Hess, over.

Okay, he's going back.
Team Bravo, stand by. Hess, over.

Green light, Bravo.

[officer 4] On the ground.
On the ground! Hands, hands!

-Don't move!
-What are you doing? Let go of me!

Ah! I haven't done anything. Let go of me.

Nikolaj Møller, Mantuavej 76.

-What are you doing?
-I wanted to talk to Jessie.

About what?

-She sent me a text--
-[Thulin] What text?


-Mobile PIN number!

What the hell?

"Get over here now,
or I'll send these to your wife."

I was to meet her.
She was blackmailing me.

-Only wanted to scare her.
-Shut the fuck up.

[groaning and gasping]

[Thulin] Who filmed it?

The text was sent from a hidden number.

Half an hour ago.

-Who's with Jessie?
-Ricks. In a holiday rental she uses.

[dog barking]

-[door opens]
-[Jessie] What's up?

Can we please go home?


Go to bed.

-Where's the other detective?
-He went to get some pizza.

In the meantime, you're just kicking it
on Pornhub, or what?


So what if I was?

[alarm blares]

What the fuck?

[horn beeping, alarm wailing]

Stay here.

[phone ringing]

[sirens wailing]

[car alarm continuing]

[car alarm stops]

[wind rushing]

[owl calling]

[dog barking]


Where are you?

Someone there?

[door closes]

-[rattling handle]



[sirens wailing]

[phone ringing]

[sirens approaching]

[sirens drawing closer]

[cars drawing up]


-[car door closes]

Mummy, I'm thirsty.

-[Olivia screams]

[Thulin] Jessie!

-Hi, Olivia.

Whoa, whoa. Calm down, don't be scared.
I'm Mark. I'm with the police.

We're looking for your mom.

-Do you know where she is?

[officer] Jansen?


Ah, for fuck's sake!


[whispering] No, no, no…

[Thulin] Jessie!




There's no pulse. Let's get the others.

[helicopter droning]

-[sirens blaring]


-[car drawing up]
-Jansen, over here.

-[dog barking]
-[men shouting]

-[sirens wailing]
-[helicopter droning overhead]