Dear Child, or Liebes Kind in German, is a new German mystery drama series that is equally interesting and creepily scary at the same time, with style and substance both quite impressive. The plot is centered around a woman and her young daughter, who are mysteriously found in the middle of an empty road after a strange car accident. As police detective Aida Kurt starts to investigate the matter, she realizes that the accident is linked to a horrible case of kidnapping and also to a different case of a missing woman from thirteen years ago. Dear Child mostly adheres to conventional styles, but the short and crisp nature makes it quite an enjoyable watch.
Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
Dear Child begins with a sinister and suspicious scene in which a mother and her two children are spending time with each other when suddenly the man of the house comes in. Despite the husband and father’s return, the children and the woman are very cautious of this new development. They stand in a line, hold out their hands to show that they are empty, and then the children are gifted two chocolate bars. The woman, though, is expressive of her discomfort, and her husband immediately lashes out at her for doing so. The woman and the children clearly live under an oppressive and abusive set of rules, perhaps established by the husband, but no more is revealed.
In some time, this very woman is seen inside an ambulance after she is recovered from the scene of a horrific road accident. Having been hit and run over by a car, the woman struggles with multiple serious injuries and is rushed to the hospital’s emergency ward. Along with the woman, her young daughter was also found, although the girl was not injured, and she revealed her mother’s name to be Lena. The daughter is called Hannah, and she immediately shows extreme intelligence and knowledge about things. As Lena is admitted and her treatment is started, Hannah is given company by a pediatric nurse in one of the children’s ward rooms. However, there is something extremely odd about Hannah, mostly because of her calm and composed attitude, which is very uncharacteristic of her age.
The local police detective, Aida Kurt, soon visits the hospital to speak with Hannah, as she is the survivor, and also to find out more about Lena. Although not much can be found out, the emergence of an elderly couple at the place slightly changes things. Karin and Matthias Beck reveal that they had been informed by a close friend of theirs, also a police officer, named Gerd Buhling, that a woman named Lena Beck had been found in an accident. The Becks had lost their daughter Lena some thirteen years ago when the young woman mysteriously disappeared one night. Aida and Gerd now decide to work together in order to find out what happened to Lena, and the many mysteries that Hannah hides behind her calm demeanor.
What Had Happened With Lena And Hannah?
As the mystery in Dear Child gets slowly uncovered, it is revealed that Lena and Hannah were indeed living in an extremely horrific situation. For the most part of the series, the man seen in the first scene is referred to as “Father”, since his identity is kept a secret until the very last episode. The Father was actually an extremely disturbed and abusive man who kept his family members locked up inside the house, never letting them leave even for a moment. Along with Lena and Hannah, there was also a third member, the young boy seen in the first scene, named Jonathan. The three had to live in complete captivity, set by extremely harsh and cruel rules that had been made by the Father. As seen at the beginning, they would always have to show their hands and prove that they were not carrying anything in their hands or had not hurt themselves in any way. Every activity, including eating, relieving oneself in the toilet, or spending recreational time with each other, was scheduled, meaning that the captives were not allowed to do anything out of turn. Rules were particularly hard on Lena, as the adult woman was abused, tortured, and humiliated at every instance, from not being allowed to use the toilet more than four times a day to being given only one or two insufficient meals throughout the day.
Lena was made to carry out all the duties of a mother, and Hannah and Jonathan were also groomed to be accustomed to the rules and the abusive behavior that their father showed at all times. The children were never allowed to leave the house and were home-schooled by their mother. Not only were they deprived of social skills or life completely, but Hannah and Jonathan are so physically affected by their time at the house that they are unable to bear sunlight at present after being rescued. The whole house was fitted with hidden security cameras, through which the horrible father kept an eye on his family throughout the day. If anything out of the ordinary was done by any of the three individuals, they were mercilessly punished at the end of the day. Since the children had no other connections, they relied on their father to bring them gifts. Such was the control exerted on them that Jonathan was made to be happy and keep all fears away with a mere snow globe, while Hannah was gifted a toy cat and made to pretend like it was a real one. Even the name for the cat, Ms. Tinky, was also decided by the Father.
But the real extent of the torture and abuse and the overall horror of the entire matter are revealed only gradually as the police officers Aida and Gerd find out more shocking things through their investigation. In reality, Lena was not even the biological mother of the two children, and she was only made to pretend to be their mother. Hannah and Jonathan did have the same mother, but they had different fathers, making the detectives all the more confused about who their captor had been. The mystery behind this is actually linked to a different finding, as it is revealed that the woman found at the car accident site was not Lena Beck at all, but rather someone named Jasmin Grass.
Who Is Jasmin? Where Was Lena Beck?
The father, or the real perpetrator of the crime, was actually far more evil and cruelly twisted in the mind than he originally seemed. Not only had he kept the woman and two children captive for a long time, but he had also committed numerous kidnappings and murders. As suspected by the police detectives, Lena Beck was actually the father’s first victim, as he had kidnapped her and kept her captive. Some years later, the woman died because of the horrific conditions she was subjected to. By this time, both Hannah and Jonathan had been born, and there was mention of another baby as well, a girl named Sophie. It was most probably Lena who had gotten pregnant for a third time and then gave birth too, but then contracted a difficult disease because of which both she and her baby died.
The fact that Hannah and Jonathan had the same mother but different fathers is also explained in the series. Before her tragic kidnapping, Lena Beck was in a romantic relationship with a friend of hers named Florian, and she had gotten physically intimate with him. This interaction had gotten her pregnant with Florian’s child, but Lena or anybody else did not know about this. The woman was kidnapped by the father at this very time, and when she gave birth to Hannah, they both believed that she was their child. However, Hannah’s biological father was Florian, while that of Jonathan was the kidnapper.
After Lena’s death, the father kidnapped a different woman and replaced Lena Beck in the most gruesome manner. Lena’s defining physical characteristics were her blonde hair and a burn mark on her palm, which she had gotten during her childhood after grabbing a pair of hot tongs. After kidnapping the second woman, the father dyed her hair blonde and seared the burn mark on her palm in order to make her physically resemble Lena. His intention was also to make the children feel that their mother was still there with them and that the woman who had died was no longer important. The man groomed the children into believing this, but soon after, this woman died as well. The reason is not exactly mentioned, and it could be very possible that the father actually murdered her. Following this, the man kept kidnapping numerous other women one after another, dyeing their hair blonde and giving them the characteristic burn mark. As the police search the area around the car crash site and the nearby forests, they find numerous bodies of women who had been killed and buried there.
The woman found at the accident site, Jasmin Grass, was actually only the last woman who had been kidnapped by the Father before she somehow managed to escape the place. The woman had been kidnapped some five months ago and had been kept captive since then. Such was the effect of the torture and humiliation that Jasmin continued to state her false identity as Lena after being found. It is only much later, when the woman has recovered to some extent and also finds out that a man has been found dead at the house, that she opens up about who she really is.
Who Is The Real Perpetrator?
After the car accident, Hannah tells the nurse that her father had been attacked by her mother, and this is confirmed when the police find the dead body of a man at the house. However, once the investigation is carried out, this man is found to be someone who had been away from the country for a very long time and had only been in Germany for the last few months, making it impossible that he was the perpetrator. This meant that the real perpetrator had not been killed by Jasmin but was very much alive and on the loose.
This is confirmed in the most horrific of ways when he indirectly makes his presence felt to all three of his victims. While Jonathan and Hannah receive similar toys as before at the children’s clinic, Jasmin is sent blonde hair color and chocolate bars as a reminder. All this is possible since the father manages to hack into the security cameras at the clinic and install cameras at Jasmin’s apartment, through which he threatens the woman. The man’s plan is to kidnap the woman and the children once again and keep them captive, just like before.
When Dear Child finally reveals the identity of the father at the end, he is found to be someone very different from the usual suspects. The house in which the captives had been kept was found to be inside an abandoned NATO facility, which was now being used by a private security company named Rogner and Sons. In Dear Child episode 6, Aida Kurt finally finds a photograph of the owners of this security company and instantly finds a link. The company had been founded by Rogner Sr. and was now headed by his grandson, Lars Rogner, with the two looking incredibly similar in their physical appearance. When Aida finds a photograph of Lars’ mother, she notices that the woman looks quite like Lena Beck, and it is then that the mystery is solved. Lars did not have his parents while growing up, since his mother, Rogner Sr.’s daughter, had suddenly run away from home when he was still very young, and nobody knew who his father was. In all probability, Rogner Sr. had sexually assaulted his own daughter, as perversion ran in the family, and when Lars was born, he somehow got her killed.
When Lars grew up, he visited the Beck family house as part of a small job and saw Lena there for the first time. Perhaps the boy had seen photos of his mother, and his belief that she had abandoned him had a twisted effect on his psyche. As a grown man, he still craved his mother’s presence, and seeing Lena, who looked very much like his mother, gave birth to an abhorrent plan. Lars Rogner kidnapped Lena Beck and kept her captive for a number of years until her death, giving birth to three children with her. When Lena died, Lars kept replacing her with other women, not only to comfort the children but also for his own sake, as he was now perversely attached to the woman. Interestingly, in the photo that Aida finds, Rogner Sr.’s camper van is seen to be named Tinky, which Lars later used to name Hannah’s toy cat. Therefore, it was the owner of the security firm, Lars Rogner, who was the real perpetrator in the case.
Why Had Hannah Lied About Her Mother’s Blood Group?
The exact details of what happened on the night of the accident is also revealed soon. After seeing the snow globe that Lars had gifted to Jonathan, Jasmin realized that she could use it as a weapon. That night, when Lars returned home, Jasmin struck him with the globe and then escaped the house along with Hannah. The girl instructed her brother to stay back, for she had been groomed and wired to always be helpful towards her father. Jasmin was indeed struck by a car on the road, but Hannah then used her intelligence and took the driver of the car down with a tree branch.
When Lars arrived at the scene, Hannah gave him a plan for what to do next. She also pleaded with her father to listen to her since she wanted to keep this particular mother, for she reminded her and Jonathan of their real mother. Jasmin resembled Lena a lot for the children, and so Hannah wanted her sent to a hospital and saved. The car driver was instead killed by Lars and placed inside the house to make it look like the woman had killed the perpetrator. The man had always thought of his own safety, and so this plan made it easier for him to disappear. Jasmin was taken to the hospital, and Hannah claimed that the driver had called the ambulance before fleeing the scene. She also reported about how her father was attacked by Jasmin, just as planned.
But inside the ambulance, Hannah said that her mother’s blood group was AB-negative and then went on to state how rare it was. However, it was soon found out at the hospital that Jasmin had a different blood group. Why, then, had Hannah lied about this crucial information, especially since she wanted to save Jasmin seemed strange at first. However, this was simply because the girl had different mothers over the years, and it was Lena, her original mother, who had an AB-negative blood type. Since Jasmin was a different woman, her blood group was different, but Hannah was unaware of it, and she gave the information that she knew—that her mother’s blood group was AB negative.
What Happens To Lars, Jasmin, And Hannah In The End?
In Dear Child‘s ending, Lars finally prepares to reunite his family and also kidnaps both Jasmin and Hannah. They drive towards their new home, which Lars has prepared just like the previous one, but Hannah requests that he drive her to the beach just like her mother used to. These visits to the beach or to her grandfather’s house had actually never taken place, but Hannah had been told stories of this kind by Lena. It was through these stories and accounts that she made a mental imaginary note of the beach and of her grandfather, Matthias Beck. Lars decides to listen to the girl and grant her wish.
During this time, Jasmin had pretended like she was once again under Lars’ control, but she had also secretly carried the sharp piece of glass from the snow globe. The woman knows that her only way to escape from Lars would be to kill him, and she does exactly this. By the time Gerd reaches the beach, Lars is dying, and he crucially extracts information about where he had buried Lena’s body. Gerd had been very attached to Lena’s memory throughout Dear Child, and with the information that he and Karin had been in an affair, it might also be somewhat possible that Lena was actually his biological daughter. Either way, the Becks finally get closure as Lena’s body is found and given a proper burial at the end of Dear Child. The elderly couple are also seen keeping in touch with their granddaughter Hannah, who still reminds them of the daughter they once lost.