Netflix portrays a different version of Freud in this series. This is a Netflix original series about Freud that combines fiction and psychoanalysis.

Freud, a Netflix series that combines psychoanalysis and fiction.
Freud, a Netflix series that combines psychoanalysis and fiction.
Original photo from es.unesco.org. Graphic by Haydee Vanegas.

Sigmund Freud is probably one of the most popular psychologists of all time. Not only because he was the creator of one of the biggest psychological theories. But also because Freud was an eccentric and unique person. Freud wasn’t only a genius and a mastermind. He was a completely unique character. That is why I’m not surprised that he is the inspiration for a Netflix series.

Freud was an Austrian neurologist with a particular interest in human psychology. But he always went one step further. Freud wanted to discover the basis for psychological disorders. And he also wanted to find a way to treat those psychological conditions. Freud started conducting experiments and research on mental health and psychology. And even though he is now commonly discredited, modern psychological theory and treatment is heavily based on his work.

Freud became one of the most influential and popular personalities in the XX century. But Freud wasn’t only a genius, he was an eccentric and unique person. That is why there are many interesting facts to characterize Freud’s unique personality.

For example, Freud was a compulsive smoker, mostly because of in his culture that was a sign of being someone influential. Also, Freud was an intriguing and enigmatic man that used to dazzle people with his knowledge. And Freud was a man out of his time. He used to talk about topics that were considered taboo.

Freud’s Fictional Netflix Series

Sigmund Freud, the intriguing psychoanalyst that inspired Netflix's 2020 fictional series.
Sigmund Freud, the intriguing psychoanalyst that inspired Netflix’s 2020 fictional series.
Original logo from netflix.com. Graphic by Haydee Vanegas.

Sigmund Freud is still influencing the modern world. Not only for his psychological theory but also for his personality, making him a great subject for a series. The plot of Freud was intriguing, especially for the psychoanalysis enthusiasts. Netflix’s series release was one of the years most anticipated releases, especially for mental health professionals and Freud’s followers.

But there was a plot twist that almost no one saw coming, Netflix’s series Freud turned out to be based on fiction. That is a huge risk Netflix took with the Freud series plot. Because the series was based in a real character, but its plot is entirely fiction. That combination can bring lots of criticism and controversy, and the show itself struggled to find a balance.

The Freud series is an Austrian and German production, and its original language is German. It is set in Vienna in the end of the XIX Century. So it takes place when Freud is a young man in his 30s with great aspirations and innovative ideas. It is really interesting that Netflix decided to set the series when Freud was starting to build his theory. Because it exposes more about that time when Freud’s peers thought he was crazy for his ideas.

Netflix's Freud series portraits a really different version of Sigmund Freud combined with thriller and fiction elements.
Netflix’s Freud series portraits a really different version of Sigmund Freud combined with thriller and fiction elements.
Original photo from vanitatis.elconfidencial.com. Graphic by Haydee Vanegas.

While Freud is trying to continue with his research he gets involved in a really weird situation, when the paranormal elements get introduced in the series. Freud is a really curious young man that gets interested in a series of murders in Vienna. That is the reason why the father of psychoanalysis teams up with a psychic woman and a detective. The three have good chemistry because unlike the rest of the society, they are interested in Freud’s unique ideas.

Now, Netflix’s Freud series is a really short series with only eight episodes. Through the episodes, we not only follow this interesting and thrilling murder investigation. But we also get to see Freud as a young man that is discovering many aspects about himself and struggling with being recognized. That is why it is important to point out that this is an intense and explicit series.

The series shares topics related to Freud’s life and eccentricities. For example, there are scenes about Freud’s opioid use and his defense of the use of hallucinogenic substances. Along with that, the series also has many sexually explicit scenes, as a way to portray the base of Freud’s particular interest in sexuality.


Now, for me, this was a really interesting series to stream. As a psychologist, this Netflix series really conflicted me. Mostly because Sigmund Freud is one of the most respected and recognized personalities in my profession. So at the very start of the series, I wasn’t really attracted by the idea of this weird combination between Freud and fictional elements.

But after the first two episodes, I started analyzing the series and making analogies. That was how I discovered that it was actually a genius way to portray Freud’s story and the psychoanalytical elements. There’s no better way to portray Freud than as a man able to see things that other people didn’t. Also, at the time Freud was building his theory, most of the mental disorders were still considered paranormal phenomenons.

Following spirits and ghosts through fictional practices was the way Freud was seen by his society. During his time, Freud was criticized for his psychoanalytic methods to study the mind. And the series found a genius way to portray Freud’s shadows without hurting his reputation. Through fiction, the series could show explicit aspects of his life without disrespecting his memory.