Netflix’s The Nurse: Is the Danish Series Inspired by a True Story?

Image Credit: Tine Harden/Netflix

Created by Kasper Barfoed, Netflix’s Danish series ‘The Nurse’ revolves around Pernille Kurzmann Larsen, a nurse who joins the emergency department of Nykøbing Falster Hospital. She often works with Christina Aistrup Hansen and the two of them start to be known as the “Dream Team.” Meanwhile, Pernille notices that several patients had died during Christina’s shift, only for her to register the same. The abnormal amount of deaths she registers leads Pernille to find out whether her colleague has anything to do with these deaths. Intrigued by the startling narrative of the crime series, we discovered whether the same has a real-life connection. Well, here’s what we found!

The Nurse is Based on Christina Aistrup Hansen’s Real-Life Crimes

Yes, ‘The Nurse’ is based on a true story. The series is based on the true-crime book ‘The Nurse: Inside Denmark’s Most Sensational Criminal Trial,’ written by Kristian Corfixen, which details the crimes committed by Danish nurse Christina Aistrup Hansen while working at the Nykøbing Falster Hospital as an emergency department nurse. As the series depicts, the mystery behind a series of patient deaths at the hospital was unraveled by Pernille Kurzmann Larsen, who worked with Christina in the same department. In February 2015, Pernille noticed that several patients, who were otherwise fine, breathed their last in the presence of Christina.

Image Credit: Tommy Wildner/Netflix

Pernille told her colleagues nurse Katja and physician Niels Lundén that Christina was killing patients on purpose as per her understanding. Niels, who was also Pernille’s partner at the time, started to notice a pattern in the deaths that occurred at the hospital. However, all three of them acknowledged that they shouldn’t do anything to falsely accuse a colleague. Patients continued to die during the first night shift Pernille and Christina worked together after the former’s discussions with Katja and Niels. In the vein catheter of a patient named Viggo, Pernille noticed diazepam, which made her theorize that Christina must have injected the same into the patient, as per Corfixen’s source text. Viggo eventually died, making the nurse more suspicious of her colleague.

Patients, including Maggi Margrethe Rasmussen, continued to stoop into extreme ill health at the ED. Maggie’s condition deteriorated due to a large dose of diazepam injected into her body. Meanwhile, Niels realized that they should call the police. When the police were officially brought in to investigate the matter, both Pernille and Niels revealed their suspicions concerning Christina. In March 2015, the police arrested Christina for the attempted murder of Maggi. The case against Christina eventually grew. She got indicted for the murders of Arne Herskov, Viggo Holm Petersen, and Anna Lise Poulsen and the attempted murder of Maggi Margrethe Rasmussen.

On June 24, 2016, Christina was found guilty of the three murders, an attempted murder, and a series of other charges and she was sentenced to life imprisonment. However, Christina’s sentence was later reduced by the High Court to twelve years in prison for a total of four counts of attempted murder. “[…] the High Court would not go as far as ruling that the medication [administered by Christina] had contributed to the deaths of Arne, Viggo and Anna Lise. The medication had not been sufficiently proven to be the conclusive cause of death, the High Court ruled,” Corfixen wrote in the source text about the reduced sentence.

Christina Aistrup Hansen//Image Credit: Ekstra Bladet

Creator Kasper Barfoed wanted to explore how Christina could continue to commit crimes through the series. “What really most of all interested me [was], ‘How could this take place over such a long time — when, after the whole thing was revealed, a lot of people seemed to have known about it or suspected it?’” Barfoed told Netflix’s Tudum. “That became the key we always went back to. It’s not about just a ‘crazy’ killer — it’s about, ‘How does the system prevent us from speaking up or how does the system protect itself?’” he added. He was also committed to honoring the efforts of Pernille through the series.

“So many people suspected something or saw something — and yet it’s the new nurse, the one who’s in her first job who not only senses something is wrong, but who actually does something about it and risks everything. [Making the series] became a lot about trying to be loyal to Pernille and the situation she was in. We wanted the audience to be able to feel how difficult this is. It’s not just pushing a button and then you’re a whistleblower,” he added.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s The Nurse Filmed?