The Big Picture

  • Baby Reindeer
    star Jessica Gunning says Martha and Donny are in a place where they need each other when they first meet.
  • Martha’s ability to see through Donny’s facade adds complexity to their relationship in
    Baby Reindeer
  • The show explores trauma and the bond formed between two individuals in need of each other, and is based on Richard Gadd’s real-life experiences.

Netflix is no stranger to having a show catch like wildfire, as it’s happened numerous times in the past with productions like Tiger King, Orange is the New Black, and Escaping Twin Flames. So, when Baby Reindeer became all that people could talk about following its arrival last month, it was another slam dunk for not just the streamer but also for those of us watching. The scripted series is based on the real-life experiences of its creator and star, Richard Gadd, who plays an up-and-coming comedian named Donny, and the way his life falls to pieces after his stalker, Martha (Jessica Gunning) holds on and won’t let go. That description is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are so many more layers to the story of Baby Reindeer and how these two main characters impact one another’s lives on a multitude of levels. During an interview with Collider’s Perri Nemiroff for her latest installment of Ladies Night, Nemiroff chatted with Gunning about Martha and Donny’s relationship and how their meeting — as unhealthy as it was — was a sort of kismet for both parties.

Like many others who became overnight fans of Baby Reindeer, Nemiroff shared her props to Gunning, her fellow performers, and the writing team for creating such a wide space for a “gray area” between the dark and light sides of humanity. Gunning said that Gadd and director Weronika Tofilska “saw it in a very specific way,” adding, “Everyone worked together just to get that balance exactly right.” Further exploring the connection at the show’s core and the humanity behind both Donny and Martha, Gunning said,

“I also think it is a show
about trauma and people who’ve gone through a lot
, and I think that’s what bonded Donny and Martha when they first met. They seem to meet at a time when
they both kind of need each other
, and I think that’s what everyone, also, is responding to.”

Martha Sees Donny For Who He Is

After red flags begin flying during those early encounters, Donny comes to discover that Martha has been arrested for stalking on numerous occasions. Still, there’s a part of him that can’t or won’t put an end to it – which is one of the fascinating layers in this story. While she may be a stalker, Martha can also read people, and she can read Donny cover to cover. From the jump, she knows that something terrible happened to him in his past, without Donny having given up any information. Gunning explains that getting this particular part right was at the top of their list of priorities.

“That’s what makes it so complicated, because there are so many elements of their story where
she sees him
, she sees him even in those first few episodes. She says, ‘Somebody hurt you, didn’t they?’ And it’s true, they did. I think that’s so interesting to be on the receiving end of, and I think that’s what kind of kept him coming back in a way. I think
he felt needed and safe and respected by her
, and I think that’s what he was drawn to.”

You can check out Gunning’s full Ladies Night with Nemiroff below, and binge all of Baby Reindeer now on Netflix.

Baby Reindeer Netflix Poster

Baby Reindeer (2024)

In a dark and gripping narrative, a young man’s life spirals into chaos when an innocent encounter at his bar job leads to an obsessive stalking by an older woman. The film skillfully explores themes of privacy, obsession, and the boundaries of social interaction.

Release Date
April 11, 2024

Richard Gadd , Jessica Gunning , Danny Kirrane , Nava Mau

Main Genre


Richard Gadd

Richard Gadd

Streaming Service(s)

Weronika Tofilska , Josephine Bornebusch

Watch on Netflix

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