‘The Perfect Mother’ Ending, Explained: Who Murdered Damien Carnau? How Did Anya Prove Her Innocence?


Netflix French drama-thriller series, “The Perfect Mother,” Season 1 revolves around Helene and her efforts to bring home her daughter, Anya, after being considered a prime suspect in a homicide case. Helene celebrates her birthday in Berlin with her husband, Matthias, and her son, Lukas. Meanwhile, Anya faces trouble in Paris and escapes from the mess that night. Helene waited for a birthday call from her daughter, but when Anya contacted her, she asked her mother to help her, convincing Helene that she was innocent and had no idea about the murder. “The Perfect Mother” manages to keep the audience guessing the truth till the very end. At times, Anya seems completely believable, but there are multiple loopholes that will make one question her story. The series also focuses on motherhood and how often the role of being a mother at times overpowers moral decisions.

‘The Perfect Mother’ Season 1: Plot Summary

Anya was taken into custody the moment she entered the police station. She had spent the night with the victim, Damien Carnau, making her an obvious suspect. Helene traveled to Paris to save her daughter, while her husband and Lukas stayed back. Anya explained to the police that she was not responsible for the death of Damien; it was his drug dealer who had murdered him. She had locked herself in the washroom when Damien and his dealer were arguing, and when she got out, she discovered the bloody scene and found Damien’s body. She left the house hastily, nervous that the dealer would be back. Even though the police had their doubts regarding Anya’s story, Helene trusted her daughter completely.

Since Anya was of legal age, Helene was advised to get a lawyer, and only then she could meet her daughter. She met with Vincent Duc, a prominent lawyer, and her ex-lover. She was with him when she lived in Paris and suddenly left the city without informing him. She met him after 25 years, asking him to help her bring Anya home. Vincent accepted the case and discussed with Anya her story. Even though Anya spoke about a drug dealer, the CCTV footage showed that no such entity had entered the building. This raised doubt in Vincent’s mind, but he soon figured that the man in question could have entered through the roof and left from the other exit. After checking the footage of the other exit, it was confirmed that a suspicious-looking man had indeed entered the building.

Therefore, Vincent provided the police with the evidence he collected, hoping for Anya’s release. The police wanted to wait for the DNA results from the apartment and the knife to confirm Anya’s innocence. However, the result indicated the opposite and questioned Anya’s truth. Her DNA was found on Damien’s body, fingernails, and the knife that was used to assassinate him. Anya’s bail was not granted, and she had to stay longer for further questioning.

Spoilers Ahead

How Did Anya Try To Prove Her Innocence? 

When Anya was questioned about her involvement in the homicide case, especially after her DNA was found on the victim’s body, she came up with a different version of the story. According to her new version, she was interested in Damien from the moment they saw each other in college. Damien was the son of an influential business family; he was to be the heir to the empire. On the night of the murder, Anya met Damien at a nightclub. They were both into each other and wanted to spend the night together, so they went to Damien’s place. After reaching his apartment, he snorted some cocaine. After taking the drugs, there was a change in his behavior, and he tried to overpower Anya. He forced himself upon her even though she had asked him to stop multiple times. He raped her, and Anya could not make it stop. After torturing her, he received a call from his drug dealer, and she used it as an opportunity to lock herself in the bathroom. After their argument and the silence that followed, Anya decided to leave. She noticed Damien lying on the floor and checked to see if he was still alive. She then caught hold of the knife, fearing that the dealer might strike her again. She then ran away from the apartment.

A rape kit was used to check if Anya was telling the truth. Drug tests were also conducted on Anya and Damien. Helene was completely broken after learning the truth. She felt as if she did not know her daughter; she had no idea about her life in Paris. Helene tried to protect Anya after all that she had to go through. When she went to collect Anya’s clothes from her room, she was informed that Anya was no longer staying there. She had given her room to a victim of domestic abuse and was staying at a shelter for abused women. After visiting the shelter, Helene learned that her daughter worked there as a counselor and had dropped out of college. Helene felt distant from Anya as her daughter never cared to inform her about the decisions she was making in her life. It was while checking her apartment that she found a picture of Anya with two of her friends, and one of them looked like the drug dealer from the CCTV footage. Vincent asked Helene to keep the picture away as that would raise suspicion and would not help her daughter’s case.

Though after the tests, it was confirmed that Anya was raped by Damien and that he had consumed drugs that night. She was given GHB, popular as a rape drug, confirming further how Damien had planned to rape Anya that night. The police could now trust Anya’s story, though they did not have the drug dealer at hand. Helene and Vincent tried to get hold of Damien’s drug dealer, but that left Vincent injured after a scuffle. The police later got hold of his dealer, Bash, who had a solid alibi to prove that he was not there with Damien that night.

‘The Perfect Mother’ Ending Explained: Who Was The Man Seen In The CCTV Footage? Who Killed Damien?

After Anya was provided with counseling, the police decided to let go of Anya even though she could not leave the city as the case was not closed yet. Anya was taken to her grandmother’s house in Paris. It was there that Anya and Helene had an honest conversation. Anya believed that her mother was so caught up in being the perfect mother that she did not realize how her children were suffering. They were always expected to be perfect, even when they were broken inside. Helene did not share a great relationship with her mother and wanted to be the perfect mother to her children, but somehow in the process of perfecting her role, she lost the trust of her children. Anya asked her mother to open her eyes, to look beyond her selfish needs. The world around her was suffering, and Anya wanted to help those she knew to ease their pain.

The character of Anya continued to be doubtful as she tried to contact an unknown number from her mother’s phone and asked that person to meet her. She also seemed to be problematic from the moment she showed interest in the money that a journalist was ready to provide her with for an interview. This raised doubt regarding the money and watch that were stolen from Damien on the night of the murder. Anya met a man wearing a baseball cap, and his hair was tied into a bun. He was the same guy from the CCTV footage. The reporter who was following the case closely snapped pictures of the two together. He sent the pictures to Damien’s mother, who advised him to send them to the police.

Anya tried to run away, knowing that she was in danger. Her mother caught hold of her and demanded to know the truth. Anya repeated her story for the third time, and this version was different from the rest. After Anya was raped, she locked herself in the bathroom and called Kamal for help. Kamal came in through the roof and helped Anya, but the two were caught by Damien, who tried to attack Kamal. Out of fear of getting killed, Kamal attacked him with the knife, and during their scuffle, Kamal mistakenly pushed the knife into Damien’s body, killing him. Anya explained that it was all an accident and was done out of self-defense. She wanted to keep Kamal away from the mess because he was undocumented, and a police case would ruin his life. Vincent encouraged Anya to confess the truth to the police since the whole act was out of self-defense, and they could figure out a way to help Kamal.

Meanwhile, Helene traced Kamal’s family, hoping to find him there, but what she learned instead was that he was married and had a child. Anya refused to believe it. She was in love with him, and they hoped to get married in the future. Anya decided to call Kamal and help the police locate him. After calling him and knowing his location, she informed him that she had told the entire truth to the police. He was soon surrounded by police; he knew that his life in Paris was over, and to stop the misery, he jumped off a bridge. Kamal was declared dead. The case was now resolved, and Anya would be completely free after appearing in front of a judge. Before the judgment was passed, Anya’s friend Julie contacted Vincent. She wanted him to know the truth after the death of Kamal. It was Anya who had planned it all. Anya was a rape victim, and she wanted to help those around her who suffered and needed help. She schemed to extract money from men who had previously raped or abused women, and she then gave that money to those who needed it. She had used Julie once to do the same, but Julie refused to participate any longer, and Anya went ahead with the plan alone. She used to consume GHB and threaten the men that she would accuse them of abuse or forced intimacy if they refused to pay. She intended to do the same with Damien, but the man would not accept defeat. He was an abusive man and had raped women previously. He did the same with Anya. To make him stop, she hit him with an object and later killed him with a knife. She called Kamal and gave him the money and a watch to help him with his financial condition.

Helene told Vincent the truth, but she asked him to defeat her daughter since it was his job to do so. Anya was free from the allegation and was declared innocent by the court. Even though Helene helped her daughter to be free, she could not trust her anymore. While Anya’s intention was right, her method was flawed. It was because of her that Kamal lost his life, and his wife and child had no one to take care of them. As Anya and Matthias left the court, Helene chose to not walk along with them. She stood between two choices now-one was her rekindled love for Vincent and a new life with him, and the other was to go back to Berlin with her family and work on the issues that they had. “The Perfect Mother” Season 1 ends with a sense of ambiguity. It was a choice for Helene to make whether or not she would continue with her pursuit of being the perfect mother or choose to make a choice solely for her happiness.

 “The Perfect Mother” is a 2022 French Thriller series streaming on Netflix.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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