Dear Child Season 1 Review – A serious crime thriller worth your time  

Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5

Dear Child is Netflix’s newest addition to the crime thriller genre. Packed with intrigue and a pervasive sense of tension, this suspenseful show is definitely worth a watch even if it is a bit slow. Adapted from Romy Hausmann’s gripping novel, this German limited series weaves two interconnected mysteries in a small town.

It revolves around a woman trapped in a strange hostage situation alongside two young children, Hannah and Jonathan. Interestingly, the show commences with the woman and Hannah’s narrow escape. However, the plot thickens as the investigation unearths a disturbing connection to one of the town’s cold cases—the disappearance of a young woman named Lena, thirteen years ago.

Once the show finds its feet, it doesn’t take long for the intersection between the two cases to become clear. But there are plenty of secrets and mysteries making up the show’s premise. Through the course of the season, the narrative is constantly sprinkled with hints and cryptic dialogues that fuel one’s curiosity.

Flashbacks are interspersed with the present to ensure that the episodes never become monotonous. Instead, they offer morsels of the mystery, compelling us to remain hooked as the story unravels.

The Netflix show’s biggest strength is its ability to sustain an unrelenting sense of tension and suspense. Throughout each episode, a palpable sense of foreboding lingers, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. This ominous atmosphere owes much of its success to the haunting soundtrack, characterized by a keening noise that amplifies the feeling of impending doom.

Despite the convoluted crime, the story always feels grounded in reality. A lot of this realism stems from the well-rounded characters and the actors do their part in bringing them to life. Two standout performances are by Kim Reidle and Naila Schuberth, who carry most of the show on their capable shoulders.

Kim Reidle, who portrays the female lead, delivers a mesmerizing performance. Her portrayal is imbued with depth and she does justice to the complexity of the character. Her personality isn’t static either. It evolves over the episodes and these changes are crucial to the plot. Reidle conveys these shifts perfectly and pulls out all the stops in portraying the woman’s tumultuous inner journey.

On the other hand, there’s Naila Schuberth who plays 12-year-old Hannah. It’s challenging to believe that she is still a child, given the maturity she brings to the character. Hannah’s eerie, un-childlike behaviour is portrayed with such conviction that it never feels contrived. Schuberth strikes a perfect balance between portraying Hannah as an unsettling figure and a young girl who has been subjected to lifelong brainwashing.

The other characters are all three-dimensional and fleshed out, but it must be acknowledged that the screen time between the two leading detectives becomes somewhat skewed towards the end of the season. The female detective receives noticeably less prominence and a reduced role compared to her male counterpart.

The storyline itself is free from major flaws. The series remains faithful to the core of the novel and the only drawback worth noting is the show’s resolution. After meticulously building up tension, Dear Child’s conclusion, while logical, unfolds a tad too swiftly. It offers a satisfying ending and even throws in a delightful twist, but the haste with which it ties up loose ends may leave viewers yearning for a more prolonged catharsis after the intense build-up.

Moreover, the conclusion leaves a few narrative threads dangling. While hints of the characters’ future are provided, the story rapidly wraps up without affording these threads the closure they deserve. After all is said and done, the future of the main characters is a bit up in the air and some closure would have cemented the finale as a better episode.

Overall, Dear Child is a superb example of a slow-burning mystery thriller. It’s grim, tackles serious subject matter, centres around an appalling crime — and it does it well. This is not the kind of Friday night family entertainment offered by a “Knives Out” style fun murder mystery. Instead, it is the murder mystery you opt for when you are craving a serious crime thriller that captivates your attention from start to finish.

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  • Verdict - 8.5/10

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