‘Dear Child’ (2023) Story, Plot, Cast, Release Date, & Where To Stream

Dear Child is a crime thriller from Netflix and an original miniseries that dives deep into the depths of a crime that took place a decade ago and the connection found to a woman who was severely injured. This genre always garners plenty of attention from the audience, for it does not spoon-feed them. It allows the audience to think from a different perspective as the drama surrounding the case unfolds, and many truths come out. Dear Child is based on the novel by Romy Hausman. Apart from being an investigative thriller drama, this show also brings forward the effects of trauma, manipulation, and their prolonged effects. The psychological effects of crime unravel as the show progresses and the hunt for the culprit begins.

Spoilers Ahead

Story and Plot

Dear Child opens with a scene in a home where a young woman is playing with her two kids. The scenario suddenly becomes tense when the man of the family enters the house. The kids and the woman are terrified and show their hands as if they are used to this form of checking. The woman named Lena is abused for not being attentive, and it sets the tone for the show. The tense atmosphere proves that the kids and the woman have been kept captive for a long time by this man. His face is not shown to the audience.

Lena runs away from captivity and meets with an accident in her bid to stop a vehicle to help her. As she is transported to a local hospital in town, Lena is joined by a young girl Hannah who calls her ‘mama’, who seems to have plenty of knowledge about a lot of subjects. She seems like an intelligent girl for her age. As Hannah and Lena are rescued by a certain Nurse Ruth, she comes across some terrifying information from Hannah about her home and her brother Jonathan, who is still back in the house.

An elderly couple named Mathias and Karin Beck are informed by their old friend and former detective Gerd Bühling about Lena, their daughter, being found. The couple is shocked to come across this news because their daughter has been missing for the past 12 years. Lena’s accident gives the local police an opportunity to reopen a decade-old case in the hope of unearthing some details about the culprit. Mathias and Karin Beck reach the hospital, only to realize the woman is not their daughter, Lena. This sets the plot in motion. The tale is about a man who kept three people in captivity for years. The police will begin their investigation by bringing forward many details about this matter. This is now a case of forced captivity and years of trauma and manipulation faced by the woman who is not Lena, the 12-year-old girl Hannah, and her younger brother Jonathan.

Dear Child will reveal many shocking incidents that will eventually lead them to find who the culprit is. The police will be on the lookout for the house where the second child, Jonathan, is held against his will. If the woman in the hospital is not Lena, where is Mathia and Karina’s real daughter? The accident will lead to a chain of events that might bring up matters related to trauma, PTSD, and several other mental health-related issues.

Cast and Characters 

Kim Riedle as Lena is cast to showcase the complexities and layers of a character who has been through a lot of trauma and pain from being separated from her actual family. She is not even Lena, but as the series progresses, the audience will probably get to know her true identity. Lena or not, the audience can only hope she gets justice for everything she has been through. We will get to see her character go through the after-effects of the trauma she was put through. The PTSD will be debilitating, but it is up to her whether she slowly moves on from it or regresses. The horror of captivity is the shock value of the show. The ordeal that survivors go through is the highlight of the miniseries.

Julika Jenkins, as Karin Becks, is confused about the whole narrative that involves her granddaughter, Hannah. She is not ready to accept her because her existence reminds her of the trauma she thinks her daughter Lena has gone through. Mathias and Karin claim Hannah is a near-perfect image of their daughter. Even though the woman admitted to the hospital is not Lena, Mathias wants to be there for Hannah, who has been put through hell in the last twelve years.

Naila Schuberth is cast as Hannah. The child actor can bring a lot of emotions and sentiments to the table. She is a traumatized kid who has been in captivity since her birth. Hannah believes the life she lived inside a bunker-like space is her reality. She will come up with delusions, which the show will use to further highlight what mental torture does to a person. It is also distressing to see a girl like her and her younger brother go through some traumatic times.

Hans Löw as Gerd Bühling is the biggest asset in Dear Child as a former detective who is coming to terms with the fact that he could not solve the case of the real Lena, who disappeared one fine day, leaving without any conclusive trail. Gerd Bühling is filled with guilt and pain and hopes to find some kind of redemption.

Dear Child is written and directed by two women, Isabel Kleefeld and Julian Pörksen, and we hope to see the story from a female perspective. Since the show is about many women who face trauma of many types, it is horrifying to comprehend the kind of abuse a woman in this circumstances must face just to be able to survive. The director-writer combination will allow the female protagonists to show off stories that break away from the generational trauma they’ve been facing for a long time.

Where to watch

Dear Child is a German-language six-episode miniseries that will stream on Netflix on September 7, 2023. The show will set a precedent when it comes to speaking about the after-effects of being held captive for a prolonged period. In the past, Netflix has come up with some engaging television shows and movies that explored many facets of the genre of crime thriller, which can be expanded to include investigation dramas. Mindhunter, Delhi Crime, Criminal: UK, and Criminal: Germany are some of the finest examples of crime investigation dramas executed with finesse. All of them have a good fan following, and they have redefined pop culture.


Netflix has come up with an interesting story surrounding mental health, which generally affects women and young girls. Hopefully, the showmakers deliver a conclusive ending. Instead of focusing on the trial of the criminal, the audience will want to know how his survivors deal with the presence of a man who seems normal to many but is inherently a monster.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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