Baby Reindeer's Creator Has a Message for Fans of the Netflix Show

In real life, Gadd was relentlessly stalked by a woman who would show up at his comedy shows and harass him online, sending the comic gifts and a total of 41,071 emails, 350 hours of voicemails, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages, and 106 pages of letters.

“Stalking on television tends to be very sexed up. It has a mystique. It’s somebody in a dark alley way. It’s somebody who’s really sexy, who’s very normal, but then they go strange bit by bit,” Gadd said in an interview with Netflix’s Tudum. “But stalking is a mental illness. I really wanted to show the layers of stalking with a human quality I hadn’t seen on television before. It’s a stalker story turned on its head. It takes a trope and turns it on its head.”

Martha, however, isn’t the only person in the show that the internet is hell-bent on identifying. In the series, Donny is the victim of sexual assault at the hands of his mentor Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill), a successful TV comedy writer who plies Donny with drugs and rapes him repeatedly, keeping the younger writer around by promising to kick-start his career.

“What abuse does is it creates psychological damage as well as physical damage.… Abuse leaves an imprint. Especially abuse like this where it’s repeated with promises,” Gadd told British GQ “There’s a pattern where a lot of people who have been abused feel like they need their abusers. I don’t think it was a cynical ending, it was showing an element of abuse that hadn’t been seen on television before, which is, unfortunately, the deeply entrenched, negative, psychological effects of attachment you can sometimes have with your abuser.”

Now, fans of the series are trying to suss out the identities of both characters. But that, Gadd insists, misses the point of the show. In fact, he told British GQ that he went through “great lengths” to disguise the true Martha’s identity “to the point that I don’t think she would recognize herself.” He added, “What’s been borrowed is an emotional truth, not a fact-by-fact profile of someone.”

You can stream Baby Reindeer on Netflix.

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