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The Ending Of The Chestnut Man Season 1 Explained

For much of the world, autumn correlates with coziness: a warm blanket, steaming mug of tea, and a crisp to the air is a perfect recipe for a fall afternoon. It's no surprise, then, that the Danish concept of hygge — defined by Oxford as the quality of being warm and comfortable that gives a feeling of happiness — has also become a popular feature of the fall season.

Aside from the people who enjoy fall for the hygge vibes, there are others who look forward to the season for the spooky factor. You may be surprised to learn that the Danish also play a huge part in a specific spooky crime fiction genre that is growing in popularity in the states — Nordic noir. Also known as Scandi noir, the bone-chilling twist on the mystery genre has been featured in several new series, including Netflix's "The Chestnut Man."

Based on the horror novel of the same name, "The Chestnut Man" follows two detectives named Naia Thulin (Danica Curcic) and Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), who investigate a brutal murder scene. At the site of the crime, the murderer left behind a strange figurine made out of chestnuts, which sends the detectives on a mysterious path to find the killer — who's also believed to be behind the disappearance of a politician's child.

While we wait for Season 2 of the suspenseful show to hit Netflix, let's go over what happened at the end of Season 1. Spoilers ahead.

What happened to Kristine?

Throughout the first season, Thulin and Hess try to hunt down the serial killer known as The Chestnut Man before he can claim another victim. The detectives eventually connect similar details of several murder victims: they had body parts cut off, they were single mothers, and they each had a history of the government being involved in their children's care.

While Thulin and Hess try to track down the Chestnut Man, they also try to find out what happened to a politician's young teenage daughter named Kristine Hartung (Celine Mortensen). Her mother, Rosa (Iben Dorner), is the Minister of Social Affairs, and Kristine was previously reported dead despite her body never being found. The ambiguity of Kristine's situation is prevalent throughout the show, and we don't find out her status until the season finale.

The detectives originally think Kristine's disappearance may be linked to a nurse named Benedikte Skans (Simone Lykke), whose child was taken away as a result of legislation that Rosa passed. While Skans and her boyfriend do have Rosa's other child Gustav (Louis Næss-Schmidt) in their custody at one point, they don't hurt him, and they are revealed to be innocent of anything involving Kristine.

Eventually, the true killer — to be revealed shortly — leads Thulin and Hess to the place where he's been keeping Kristine. She's understandably shaken, but not physically harmed, and she's reunited with her mother.

So who is The Chestnut Man?

At the end of "The Chestnut Man" Season 1, we learn the identity of the killer, who is originally believed to be the husband of one of the original victims, though that's debunked. It turns out that the actual killer is Simon Genz (David Dencik), a forensic specialist who was "helping" Thulin and Hess' investigation. The clues begin back in the Season 1 prologue, which takes place in 1987. We see the aftermath of a murder that claimed the lives of two parents and their son and left behind an injured foster boy and his sister.

By the end of the first season, the detective in charge of the 1987 case helps Hess piece the truth together at last. They discover that the foster boy's name is Toke Bering, and after seeing his class photo, Hess realizes it's Genz. Why would Genz murder these women and torment Rosa? It turns out that Rosa's own foster parents were initially Genz and his sister's foster parents, but they were forced to move after Rosa lied about Genz being inappropriate. The next family they were matched with turned out to be horrible, abusive people, who left Genz traumatized and helped turn him into a killer with a grudge against Rosa and her neglectful parents.

The future of the show

If you enjoyed Season 1 of "The Chestnut Man," you're likely wondering if a second season is likely. The season finale seemed to wrap things up pretty thoroughly: Rosa and Kristine are reunited, Genz dies, and Thulin and Hess move on with their careers. At this point, it doesn't seem likely that another season will materialize — but there's no official confirmation on that, so it could happen in the future.

Thankfully, you can relive the thrill by reading "The Chestnut Man" novel by Søren Sveistrup. As far as future content goes, the novel is also a standalone story, so it currently exists as the only source material for the series. On the other hand, if you're in the mood for more Scandi noir, you can check out shows like "The Valhalla Murders" and "Lilyhammer" on Netflix.

Be sure to check back for any news on Season 2 of "The Chestnut Man."