The Nurse Season 1 Review – Solidly performed drama is a treat for true-crime fanatics

Season 1

Episode Guide

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


Serial killers come in all shapes and sizes. More often than not, killers are born and bred in the womb of apparent normalcy. They hide too well in plain sight and hence, they are not obvious if you aren’t paying attention. But there is always someone waiting on the sidelines who catches the truth and brings justice to the victims.

The Nurse brings out a sensational story from the annals of history in Denmark. Christina Hansen (played by Josephine Park), more commonly referred to as the “evil of death,” was a night nurse at a Danish hospital in the town of Lolland-Faslter. Her years of wrongdoings were spotted and revealed by a first-time nurse, Pernille Larsen.

It took a while for her to gather courage, and more importantly, evidence but eventually, the truth won. The Nurse, on Netflix, is inspired by the 2021 novel of the same name by Kristian Corfixen. It is not a documentary nor a dramatized version of the events. Netflix is notorious for churning out voluminous content of true-crime documentaries, even when they are uninspired and it is clear a dramatization would serve the story better.

The Nurse is not a follow-up to Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmond’s The Good Nurse either, although has a similar subject matter.

There are chiefly two timelines at play in the series: 2012 and 2014-2016. Most of the action happens chiefly in the second one, where we see Pernille Larsen (played by Fanny Louise Bernth) join as the new nurse in one of Denmark’s most undesirable hospitals. The setting of an emergency ward instils a lot of urgency into the storytelling. Patients are wheeled in left and right, leaving little breathing space. In hindsight, the series represents the two sides of saving/losing lives – the adrenaline rush, and the harrowing realization of the truth.

This phenomenon is specific to The Nurse but the contrast is drawn beautifully in episodes 1 and episodes 4. Yes, the series is only four episodes long but the makers definitely make the most of their time.

One of the most impressive aspects of it is that The Nurse is grounded in the hospital itself. There aren’t many distractions from seeing Pernille getting closer to the truth, except her personal life and the 2012 timeline. This timeline is a clever creative choice to establish the emotional and mental anguish of the victims’ families. Even though we only see Kenny Herskov, whose brother Arne lost his life, he represents the voice of Christina’s countless victims.

Quite startlingly, the series brings out the apathy of the administration as a solemn matter of discussion. Ida, who is arguably a fictional creation, levelled serious accusations against the administration at M130, the hospital where Christina previously worked (and killed Arne). The same sentiment resonated in Nykøbing Falster Hospital when Pernille tried to bring up the matter with Linda from the administration. On both occasions, potential malpractice was fiercely protected by those who are supposed to protect the interests of the patients. Certainly, more enterprise was required on their part to have been able to catch this early and nip it in the bud.

Their continued neglect and ignorance led to the deaths of so many innocent patients and left their families looking for answers. The Nurse successfully raises these issues of reforms in the healthcare framework for higher accountability of the hospitals.

Through the characters of Pernille and Niels, the makers also want to give the viewers a sense of the sacrifice medical personnel willingly do in distant small towns with no recognition. Their job is a thankless one that very few appreciate. Even though its exposition is limited, the few moments that were selectively chosen – like the first date between Pernille and Niels on the lake – indicate creative maturity.

The minds behind the show constantly demonstrate their ability to handle and approach the issue with requisite respect and sensibility. Park and Bernth give riveting performances. When it becomes clear Hansen is behind the killings, Park relishes in consciously trying to represent the character with subtlety. She finds empathy for Hansen’s personality disorder and plays her without a hint of psychopathy.

Her portrayal is humane and cathartic for actors looking to portray similarly complex people on screen. Park’s performance is resiliently restrained to ensure authenticity in how Christina really was.

The very fact that we come away with more unremarkable moments in Christina’s madness than memorable moments is a testament to Park’s brilliance. Bernth is the reliable anchor that The Nurse uses to bridge an emotional connection with the audience. She is the moral voice of conscience teaching that each one of us has to do the right thing.

Overall, The Nurse breathes more credibility into the idea to pursue the dramatization of true-crime stories. With a careful approach and rational execution, such stories will come out with more purpose and this will allow them to be more impactful.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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