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June 12, 2024

Baby Reindeer: Summary and Review


Released April 11, 2024, Baby Reindeer is a Netflix original 7-episode drama miniseries. The series is based on the actual events that happened to Richard Gadd, the creator and starring actor of the show. The based-on-true-events series follows comedian and bartender, Donny Dunn (Richard Gadd) as he’s getting stalked by 40-something-year-old Martha (Jessica Gunning), from their first meeting to her being sent to jail for 9 months. 

Donny and Martha meet for the first time when Martha visits the pub Donny is bartending at, claiming she can’t afford a cup of tea. Donny takes pity on her and gives her a cup of tea. That evening, Martha starts sending him strange emails, up to 80 a day, containing various messages about how in love with him she is, how much she wants to sleep with him, their future together, and calling him numerous pet names, most notably, “Baby Reindeer.” After doing his own research, Donny finds that Martha has already been convicted of stalking before. Throughout the series, Martha’s stalking gets worse. She turns up unannounced at Donny’s comedy shows, leaves comments on every single one of his Facebook posts, follows him around during his shifts at work, and continues to send him hundreds of emails a day. 

When Donny explains his situation to Teri, a woman he met on a trans dating website and has been seeing casually, she proposes the possibility that perhaps he hasn’t reported Martha to the police because he likes the attention. Donny doesn’t even go to the police when Martha sexually assaults him after following him through the canal he goes through on the way home. The episode where Martha sexually assaults Donny spins off into a “flashback” of when Donny became involved with drugs and was repeatedly sexually assaulted by another man. 

Donny is finally motivated enough to go to the police when Martha starts harassing his parents. After 2 years of stalking Donny, Martha is again convicted and sent to jail for 9 months for 3 charges of harassment and another stalking charge. Donny was finally able to prove that Martha was dangerous because of the things she said in the hundreds of voicemails she left him after acquiring his cellphone number. It is revealed at the end why Martha calls Donny “Baby Reindeer”, but I won’t spoil it for you. 

All of the seven 30-minute (ish) episodes have you fully immersed the entire time. The series is blunt, honest, eerie, funny, emotional, and completely awesome. It transparently shows the ugliness of people and depicts things that are normally seen as taboo. 

After only being released for a couple of weeks, Baby Reindeer has caught the attention of loads of Netflix watchers and Richard Gadd has been thrown into the public eye more than ever. Many have taken to trying to find the real Martha, but Gadd has repeatedly requested that people stop trying to reveal her identity. Since the series is based on Gadd’s actual experience, it is highly doubtful that there will be more episodes.


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Ava Barnes, Editor
Ava Barnes is a Sophomore at Forest Grove High School. This is their first year as an editor for The Advocate. Outside of school, she's always listening to music, drawing, and hanging out with her friends.

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