Arts & Entertainment

Baby Reindeer: Stalking and Reliving Your Traumas

By Tais Soto-Vaca

Netflix No 1 series delves into a dark and true story
Through murmurs in the hallways and social media you may be aware of the hit Netflix series; Baby Reindeer. The show revolves around the real life story of how the series star, director and producer; Richard Gadd was stalked . As the events unfold we see how Donny (Richard’s character) struggles to put an end to the stalking which leads to him and his friends being hurt by Martha (the stalker).
The real life story is quite similar to the show but it goes way deeper. In the series they depict the stalking occurring for only two years but in real life it went on for five years. At the time Richard was dealing with the aftermath of another traumatic experience and unable to bring an end to the situation. Eventually he was able to stop the stalking and in 2019 premiered a 4 hour long play depicting his experience. The play was a smash hit and soon Netflix offered him the opportunity to turn the stage production into a miniseries. From there he has been able to pick up his career and will begin writing a new BBC show. He also claims that his stalker may never contact him again due to legalities. According to the show his stalker went to jail but alleged stalker Fiona Harvey claims she never faced such fate.
The show itself is a display of talented acting partnered with witty cinematography. While the raw emotion Richard Gadd displays throughout the show is hard to match, Jessica Gunning had me jumping out of my seat with her portrayal of the show’s stalker Martha. The storytelling is also interesting as it goes backwards and forwards in time while still making sense.
Unexpectedly, Richard doesn’t try to make himself seem perfect. His character feels real, as he messes up relationships and has to grapple with the internal biases he has. If anything he seems like a loser; he is a failed comedian, and a horrible boyfriend, yet we empathize with him. I think that this unique character building is in large part because it was the real life victim of this experience telling his story rather than an over fantasized and insensitive Netflix portrayal. Funnily enough Richard doesn’t make Martha seem like an absolute villain either, instead he unveils the humanity and deep mental distress that lead to her behavior.
What has been most interesting since the series came out has been the effect it’s had. In an unexpected turn of events, real life stalker; Fiona Harvey exposed herself as the abuser portrayed in the series. For legal reasons Richard Gadd could not disclose the real name or any private information regarding the real life aggressor. But Fiona decided to go on the YouTube show Morgan Uncensored for an interview with Piers Morgan in regards to her stalking. Many internet users have speculated that her answers and body language throughout the interview suggest she truly is guilty as she beats around the bush, pauses and contradicts herself while trying to claim innocence of the crimes. Gadd has asked his audience to stop the search for his real life stalker.  So it truly baffles me why Fiona would ruin her anonymity, but then again she did demand she be paid $1.25 million dollars for her interview.
This unique show has captivated Netflix users worldwide and for good reason. So if you have a Netflix account and still have not seen the show, then what are you waiting for?