TV Review: The Binge-worthy “Mindhunter”

By Martin Hussey Jr., Correspondent

When not doing the classwork in my summer Java class, writing pages on Unidentified Wiki, doing household chores, or getting ready for the next year at Embry-Riddle, I was binging shows on Netflix like many other quarantined students. One of the shows I blew through was the show called “Mindhunter.”

Mindhunter” is a crime and psychological-thriller television series that was created by Joe Penhall and debuted on Netflix worldwide on Oct.13, 2017. The second season was released on Aug.16, 2019. The show is currently on indefinite hold until director David Fincher finishes working on his next film, “Mank,” but he plans on three more seasons.

“Mindhunter” is set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, where criminal profiling and psychology at the FBI is in its infancy. FBI Agent Holden Ford (based on John Douglas) believes to combat the rising prevalence of serial violent offenders, especially those who do not have robbery, organized crime, or jealousy as a motive, law enforcement should understand the minds of serial offenders. With these ideas in mind, Ford, fellow agent Bill Tench (based on Robert Ressler), and Boston University psychologist Dr. Wendy Carr (based on Ann Burgess) begin to interview serial offenders as part of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. They interview Edmund Kemper AKA the Co-ed Killer, Jerry Brudos AKA the Shoe Fetish Slayer, Montie Rissel, and Richard Speck in season 1 and Charles Manson and Tex Watson, Paul Bateson, Elmer Wayne Henley, William Pierce, William Hance AKA the Forces of Evil, and David Berkowitz AKA the Son of Sam in Season 2. Using the information the team gains from the interviews, the trio can educate and assist local law enforcement in several states on current cases they struggle to solve. In that time period, local law enforcement and the public often did not understand individual people like serial offenders could exist and sometimes attributed violent crimes to groups such as Satanists, homeless transients, or the Ku Klux Klan such as in the Atlanta Child Killings case. Many members of the public and law enforcement that the characters engage with are either amazed at their work, not convinced their work is worth anything, or use their work for political gain. 

The series “Mindhunter” is a good television show for people interested in crime drama, especially in the serial killer genre. If not for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, information  about serial killers today would be completely different and less accurate. Although “Mindhunter” is a dramatization of the historical events and people, it will certainly give you an interest to research about the historical events that took place and the people that caused them, or at least an entertaining drama while you are cooped up at home.

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