‘The Nurse’ (2023) Recap & Ending, Explained: How Did Pernille Prove Christina’s Crimes?

True-crime stories are always the most interesting genre. A documentary, movie, or television show made in this genre is an embodiment of truth being stranger than fiction because not many of us are aware of what is going on in our vicinity. Unless there is a lot of noise made about something wrong happening, many crimes will go unnoticed. The Nurse is one such example of a limited series based on the true crime genre. Directed by Kasper Barfoed, this Danish Netflix original is all about a woman trying to unearth a supposed crime being carried out under the nose of her workplace administration. How will she get to the bottom of it, and will she confront the person who is carrying out the crime?

It is the year 2012. Arne, an elderly gentleman, returns home only to feel dizzy, and he faints. His brother Kenny immediately takes him to the emergency ward of the Nykøbing Falster Hospital. The doctors deemed him to be okay, but he needs to be put under observation for a night before he is discharged. Arne is excited to go back home because he needs to get going so that he can take care of his dog, Stauning. The night before his discharge, someone from the hospital injected unprescribed medication into his body, which led to him suffering a major cardiac arrest and passing away. Kenny cannot come to terms with the death because the man seemed fine the last night he spent there. The hospital authorities deem his death a suicide because they found large doses of morphine and diazepam in his system, something Kenny knows his brother could not have administered himself. The doctors too are not ready to take any stand on this matter because they would rather not take any blame or be served for medical negligence, which, by the looks of it seems to have occured. Kenny has no financial backing to go after the hospital. He knows his brother was recovering from depression, but there is no way Arne killed himself. This is how the show begins, letting the viewers know of malpractice being carried out right under the administration’s nose, and there is no way they could blame any of their staff because that would damage the reputation of the hospital.

In the year 2014, Pernille, a recent nursing graduate student and a single mother comes to her ex’s town of Nykøbing Falster so that their daughter stays closer to her father and they both can raise her in the same town. As she joins the emergency ward of the Nykøbing Falster Hospital, she meets with Christina, who will be the one who trains her about the workings of this ward and will be her partner during her night shifts. As her night shifts begin, Christina is around to guide her with all the patients currently admitted. Christina lets her know of an alarm that goes off if a patient suffers a cardiac arrest, which will inform the cardiac team as well, but before that, the nurses in charge will have to carry out CPR, the first attempt to save the patient. On the first night itself, Christina and Pernille manage to save a life, which Christina describes as a high. Christina is the most popular nurse in the ward because she is known for saving many lives. Pernille is impressed with the work Christina does. She is excited to start her work in this ward because it is something she would need to kick-start her career as a nurse. With Christina there to guide her and be her friend, Pernille feels comfortable rather quickly.

But a few of the nurses don’t have much of a good opinion of Christina, and they let Pernille know not to get too close to her. Pernille is not sure if she should fall for any gossip that goes around about Christina, but she manages to keep herself happy on the job, and Christina helps her to do that. But as the year goes by, Christina and Pernille are called the dream team at the hospital, and they are now good friends. Pernille also starts dating a doctor from the same hospital, Dr. Niels Lunden. Pernille feels content with her job at hand, although there was some insecurity when she heard a rumor about Dr. Niels having a fling with Christina. Dr. Niels denies these claims, but he knows Christina is the best nurse around in this hospital.

Pernille was never suspicious of anything around her until one day a patient with a perfect heart, which happens to be a young girl, dies of a cardiac arrest. Her death due to her heart stopping makes Pernille wonder if Christina did something to the patient that caused her to go into cardiac arrest. Pernille also finds extra syringes in the dustbin, and the stock of medicines at the ward is being messed with. She also notices Christina getting a high out of saving people suffering from an on coming cardiac arrest. It is jarring to see the team of doctors in the hospital are not suspicious of Christina’s work despite the number of times a patient with a perfect heart ends up going into heart failure, which feels odd to Pernille and something not many around her are picking up on. Pernille can do nothing at this point but just notice things. She is aware that Christina is up to something, but it is difficult for her to come to a definite conclusion.


‘The Nurse’ Ending Explained – How Did Pernille Prove Christina’s Crimes?

An elderly patient gets admitted to the emergency ward because of a urinary tract infection, which is not a major illness to be treated, and the man is set to be discharged in a day or two. The man suddenly dies of a cardiac arrest, which increases Pernille’s suspicion over Christina because she sees Christina hovering around the man and stressed out. Pernille is sure that the man had no issues other than the UTI, and to see the man dying because of a reason that was not even his ailment puts Pernille in a horrible state of mind because she knows patients that walk in through the double doors do not come to die. They come in to get treated, and the families also hope their ailing family member is out of danger as soon as possible.

Pernille checks out Christina’s records, and she finds out that the number of deaths that Christina clocked in that year was 22, which is an alarming statistic. Pernille makes sure to let her boyfriend Niels know about it, but initially he is taken aback by the accusation. He goes into the records to check the details of the patient who died of cardiac arrest, but who’d only been admitted for a severe UTI. Just like Pernille, Niels’ suspicions also begin, and he has no idea how to tackle the matter at hand. Neither Niels nor Pernille are sure how to make this into a case that needs to be brought to the administrator’s attention. They know Christina needs to be stopped, but they would need ample evidence against her to prove they are right.

Because of Pernille’s growing suspicions, she reduces her time spent with Christina, and she opts for day shifts most of the time. One morning, she learns from Christina and the rest of the nurses that there were three deaths in their ward. This again increases Pernille’s doubts about Christina. Pernille has now concluded that Christina’s actions are getting out of hand, and she and Niels begin their parallel investigation discreetly to understand what this woman is even up to. They conclude that Christina loves being called the savior of the emergency ward. It gives her a high. She is probably giving patients high doses of morphine and diazepam because the cardiac arrest alarm would give her the rush to help the patient out, and if the patient survives, she is back to being a hero. But if they don’t, she will have to live with the guilt of having killed a patient. Being a nurse means there won’t be anyone stopping her from getting into the medicine stock as well. She wears gloves all the time, which means there won’t be any risk of discovery, plus her reputation at the hospital helps her carry out these activities because she knows no one would question her. Pernille also gets in touch with another nurse who had worked with Christina in the same hospital in another ward, where the death of an elderly gentleman led to a root cause analysis of the hospital. That led nowhere because Christina was just asked to move to another ward and there was no action taken against her, but since she left the ward, the mortality rate had come down drastically. But all of these cannot be concluded as hard-core evidence. Even the other nurse’s statement cannot be used because all of these will be considered circumstantial evidence, which will not lead to any hard-core sentencing against Christina.

Niels comes up with the only solution, which is to catch Christina in the act, which will improve their standing against her. Pernille takes it upon herself to gather as much information as she can on the night shift. As their hospital shift starts, Pernille tries to stay with Christina all the time. She is unable to get hold of her in the act for a while. Two deaths have already happened so far due to cardiac arrest, and Pernille is unable to catch her in the act. Just hours before the shift is about to end, Pernille finally catches Christina administering an extra dose of diazepam and morphine to a patient who has no prevailing heart condition. Once the woman is saved by the team of doctors, Pernille finally decides to call up the police to let them know what she witnessed during her night shift. Pernille has been wanting to do this for a long time now because she has been carrying all the information against Christina for a while, and now she has the ammunition to report it to the police. Pernille had no choice but to report because, as a nurse, it is in her ethics to save the patient till the last moment and not to take advantage of her position. Pernille knew going against Christina would also mean people questioning the hospital and their standing on his incident. She knew the public and the media would ask questions about why they were not noticing what was transpiring in their hoods. She is willing to lose her job in this process, but she is not willing to let Christina get away with another murder.

Christina has long-withstanding power, and that’s why she did not crumble after murdering. She took her guilty conscience with her wherever a patient died. Her long experience working as a nurse helped her become numb to the guilt that comes with not being able to save a patient. Christina is finally arrested, and the case against her puts her behind bars for 12 years for three murders and one attempted murder. The rest of the deaths that happened cannot amount to murder, as per the court. Pernille is glad her action led to the culprit being behind bars. Pernille continues to work for the same hospital. In the last scene of the last episode of The Nurse, Kenny comes by their hospital for a routine checkup. He thanks Pernille for standing up and letting the world know about the woman who might have killed his brother too. A simple thank you from him means a lot to her. She feels she has now saved a lot of patients from Christina and her need to act like a savior. Pernille is the real savior.


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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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