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You little c-nt! You think you can threaten me with this little whore? I should have killed you when I had the chance!
~ Hansen screaming at Cindy Paulsen.
Robert Hansen is the main antagonist of the 2013 thriller film The Frozen Ground. He is a serial killer, rapist and kidnapper who targets prostitutes, taking them to the Alaskan wilderness and hunting them like wild game before shooting them dead. He is based on the real-life serial killer of the same name.
In Anchorage in 1983, a young prostitute, Cindy Paulson, was found handcuffed and in tears by the city police in a hotel room where she said she had found shelter after escaping from a client who had kidnapped and raped her. The policeman questioning, contrary to the colleague he had found, does not believe in his version of the facts, and Hansen, the man she accuses, provided a valid alibi.
Meanwhile in Anchorage, Debbie Peters is picked up by a man in an RV vehicle for a photo shoot. Later, Hansen eats a quiet dinner at home. His wife and children are away, and Hansen relaxes in his trophy room, casually ignoring Debbie, who is chained to a post. She has urinated on the floor, and as she cleans up the mess with a towel, Hansen's neighbor enters the house to deliver a plate of food. Hansen warns Debbie not to scream and leaves the trophy room to greet his neighbor. Hansen then takes Debbie to the airport, where he orders her to get aboard his plane. After landing on a remote spot in the bush, Hansen frees Debbie, letting her run in a panic through the woods before he shoots her with a .223 caliber rifle. He steals her necklace before finishing her off with a handgun.
Detective Jack Halcombe, the lead investigator on the series of murders occurring in the area, stakes out Hansen's house, causing Hansen to panic. Hansen gathers the evidence of his crimes, including trophies from his victims, and flees with his son to the airport. He flies his plane to the bush and hides his keepsakes. Feeling that the chance to catch Hansen is slipping away, and with the victim count now at 17 women, Halcombe persuades the DA to issue a warrant. The search of Hansen's house yields no evidence, not even in his trophy room. Hansen agrees to be interrogated without a lawyer, but he is not yielding any new evidence. Halcombe arrests Hansen, but unless the police find new evidence, they will be unable to hold him.
Halcombe orders a second search of Hansen's house, which turns up a hidden cache of guns, including the 223 caliber rifle used in many of the murders. Under police watch at a safe location, Paulson slips away and returns to her life of prostitution. Her pimp Clate picks her up and delivers her to a client named Carl. When Clate attempts to rob Carl, Paulson uses the opportunity to escape, with Carl in pursuit. After making a call to Halcombe, Paulson is almost killed by Carl, but Halcombe rescues her just in time. Halcombe then brings Paulson to the station to confront Hansen, who flies into a rage at the sight of her and screams, "I should have killed you when I had the chance!" Having in effect admitted to committing attempted murder, Hansen avoids the death penalty by confessing to the murders of 17 women and kidnapping and rape another 30. He was sentenced to 461 years plus life without parole, and died in 2014.
Hansen owns a bakery in Anchorage, Alaska, and is well-liked in his community. Beneath his unassuming public face, however, he is a violent sociopath who harbors a savage hatred of women and has an absolute desire to dominate them. The film also reveals that he suffers from violent mood swings, has a long arrest record for crimes including arson, harassment and stalking, and is a domineering husband and father whose family fears him.