The Perfect Mother: series ending, explained

The Perfect Mother

The Perfect Mother is a french mini-series released in 2021 that follows the dull life of Helene Berg- a mother of two – played by the talented Julie Gayet. Her life is turned upside down when she gets a distress call from her daughter- Anya, who lives in Paris. Anya is the main suspect in the murder of a young heir in Paris. But Anya’s story about that night doesn’t seem to add up. Can Helene prove Anya’s innocence when she keeps changing her story?

Spoilers ahead!

What happened to Anya?

The opening shot of the first episode is Anya, played by Eden Ducourant, walking into a club in Paris with her friend. In the next shot, she is stumbling down the streets of Paris the following day, clutching her handbag to her chest and shaking.

With the constant flashbacks from the previous night playing in her mind, she receives a text from her brother Lukas ( Maxim Driesen).

The following day Anya calls her mother. Anya explains that she could be implicated in the murder of a young man from her university – Damian( Charles Crehange).

Now the police wanted her to come in for questioning. Helene packs and leaves her husband Matthias( Andreas Pietschmann) with their son Lukas to fly to Paris.

Anya is Arrested

After the questioning, the police arrest Anya as one of the key suspects in Damien’s murder. From her answers, it is clear that Anya is lying about something.

She can’t remember where she threw her bloody clothes and has no reason why she didn’t call the cops even when she was safe the next day. Anya says there was another man with them- Damian’s drug dealer -who could be the killer. But she can’t identify him.

Helene arrives in Paris but with so many holes in Anya’s story, the police advise her to find a good lawyer. Helene reaches out to her old flame and cop turned lawyer Vincent Duc played by Tomer Sisley, for help. Despite 25 years of no communication, Vincent agrees to take on Anya’s case.

Anya’s New life in Paris

Helene asks her daughter what happened that night. She says that Damien and his drug dealer started to fight. She ran for safety and locked herself in the bathroom. After passing out for a couple of hours, Anya says she woke up to find Damien dead in the living room. So she ran.

However, when the police reviewed the video footage, no one else showed up at Damian’s apartment, and one of his expensive watches was missing. Vincent and Helene investigate further to help Anya’s case, only to unravel more of her lies.

Anya no longer lived in her dorm room and had dropped out of university to work at a shelter for abused women. She sublet her dorm room and moved into her office at the shelter.

Vincent Confronts Anya for the truth

As Anya’s lawyer, Vincent tries his best to convince her to tell the truth. She does but her story changes again. Now Anya says that Damien got violent and raped her. That’s when she ran and locked herself in the bathroom. Anya said when it got quiet, she walked out to find Damian dead in the living room where she had left her phone.

She then heard a noise and quickly grabbed the knife to defend herself. But thought otherwise and left. When Vincent asks Anya why she would lie about something so important, she says it’s because she was ashamed of what Damian had done to her.

Helene Investigates The Murder Herself

Helene finds out from Damian’s sister that Damian was a rapist. But as the heir of their family empire, he got away with treating women like toys.

Damian’s sister also identifies the man in the black hat as Kamal Mawasen (Julien Lopez). One of Anya’s charity cases from the shelter.

Toxicology reports show that Damon had taken cocaine and ecstasy while Anya was drugged with GHB-a common date rape drug. All of which seemed to corroborate Anya’s story. The police also find Damian’s drug dealer, Bash( Hatik) and bring him in.

Helene and Vincent continue their solo investigation to find the drug dealer bash, who could be the real killer. They find Bash’s selling spot, but Vincent ends up badly injured when he falls on top of a car from the second floor of a building.

At the therapist, Anya makes a strange phone call to someone asking whether their plan went smoothly. Who is on the other end of the line?

Anya is Released

Vincent survives the fall with minor injuries. Another witness comes forward and confirms seeing a man with a black hat on the roof during the night of the murder.

The rape kit results confirm that Damien raped Anya. Other girls also confirm that Damien had a reputation for being violent to the women he slept with.

The drug dealer, now on the run after Helene’s interference, becomes a principal suspect in the murder. Anya’s detention is lifted. They find Bash (drug dealer), who comes in with a lawyer and a tight alibi for the night in question.

Anya gets her mother’s phone to communicate with her accomplice on where and when to meet. At the shelter, Helene finds a bottle of GHB hidden under Anya’s kitchen sink. What was she doing with the drug in her office?

At the park, Anya meets with her accomplice. It’s Kamal. They kiss, and Anya convinces him that she took care of everything and no one will recognize him.

When they spot a Paparazzi in the trees, they run but not before he gets a few pictures of them and sends them to the police. The police call Vincent to demand Anya’s whereabouts or else they will issue an arrest.

Anya’s New Story

Anya tries to escape to Berlin, but Helene stops her right before getting into a taxi. At the house, Helene demands answers before taking her to the police.

Anya’s story changes again. She admits that Kamal was at the apartment at the time of the murder, but it was all an accident. Anya says she called Kamal from the bathroom and told him to use the rooftop to get to the open window and rescue her.

Vincent and Helene don’t seem convinced. Anya continues that Damian got crazy when Kamal arrived, calling him a thief and trying to stab him. She says Kamal acted in self-defense.

Her reason for lying? Kamal was an undocumented citizen, and they were in love.

What Happened at the End?

Meanwhile, Kamal goes to Julia for help. Julia tries to convince Kamal to tell the police what Anya did, but he refuses. Instead, Helene finds Kamal’s wife and child. They had been married for four years before she came to France the previous summer.Anya betrays Kamal after finding out about his secret wife.

The police track Kamal’s location, but Kamal jumps to his death instead of facing deportation. Police find Kamal’s DNA on the knife and Damian’s watch among his belongings. The police seem to have found the real culprit.

Until Julie speaks to Vincent, she tells him how Anya planned to blackmail Damian as punishment for all the other women he had raped. And Damian wasn’t Anya’s first target either.

Helene doesn’t want to believe Vincent when he tells her the truth about Anya. According to Julie, Anya set up Kamal to take the fall for Damian’s murder. She used Kamal. She must have lost control when she could not blackmail Damian and killed him.

She had successfully blackmailed a professor who was harassing a cleaning lady. She called Kamal to frame him but it cost him his life. Helene seems to realize what a monster she has raised after they get Anya cleared of all charges.

This Netflix thriller series was based on the novel, The Perfect Mother, which is a fictionalized version of the famous Amanda Knox case. Amanda Knox was a 22-year-old American exchange student convicted in Italy for murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. Amanda spent four years in an Italian prison before she was acquitted in 2015 by the Italian Supreme Court.

When asked about the script during an interview with RTBF, actress Julie Gayet who plays Helene, had this to say:

“It gave me this page-turner effect. I kept asking myself, “How is this going to end?” I immediately hooked. It also awakened in me the fiber of mother since I myself have two sons of 21 and 23 years old. As my grandmother used to say: “Small children, small problems. Big children, big problems”. And it’s so true! When children grow up, we worry, we think about parties, about drugs… what will happen to them? I think that today, it is unfortunately always more complicated for girls in this society. They must oppose freedom and security. They don’t necessarily go out as late as they want or travel alone to be safe. It’s terrible that we’re here. This perfect mother is a bit of an absolute nightmare what is happening to her, and this way of dealing with this motherly anxiety also interested me.”