Following original crime shows such as “Making a Murderer” and “The Keepers,” “Mindhunter” is Netflix’s newest exhilarating crime drama of 2017. The series debuted on Friday, Oct. 13 and is a short first season of 10 one hour-long episodes.
The Netflix series was based on the real crime book “Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit,” written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. The TV show was created by Joe Penhall and produced by David Fincher, Charlize Theron, Josh Denon and Ceán Chaffin.
David Fincher had quite a heavy hand in the production of “Mindhunter,” but this is not Fincher’s first crime drama. Fincher has quite the record with dark, crime-driven thrillers. He has, for example, directed the psychological thriller “Gone Girl,” “Zodiac” a movie based on the Zodiac serial killer and “Se7en,” another crime thriller based on two detectives hunting down a serial killer. These movies sound eerily similar to “Mindhunter,” a crime drama surrounding two FBI agents and their plunge into the minds of infamous American murderers.
The official synopsis for the series is short and simple.
“In the late 1970s two FBI agents expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters.” according to Netflix.
The series follows Jonathan Groff as Holden Ford and Holt McCallany as Bill Tench who interview convicted serial killers to learn how exactly the criminal mind works and then apply it to their investigations.
The series has received a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes which, for those who are unfamiliar with this movie critic website, means the series is immensely popular.
“The critics consensus is that ‘Mindhunter’ distinguishes itself in a crowded genre with ambitiously cinematic visuals and a meticulous attention to character development,” according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Each episode follows Holden Ford and Bill Tench as they delve through the minds of convicted criminals. The criminal that starts it all is Edmund Kemper, also known as The Co-ed Killer. Kemper was charged with the abduction and murders of several women in the early 1970s and was also known to have killed his paternal grandparents at the age of 15. One of his last murders was his mother, who he decapitated and then proceeded to engage in irrumatio with her head, which he explains in crystal clear detail to Ford in one of their interviews.
Ford interviews Kemper in Santa Cruz, Calif. as he serves a life sentence. As Ford interviews him, Kemper indulges Ford, telling him about his early childhood, his mother’s behavior towards him, the murders and how he executed them, essentially Kemper explained on what made him tick. These interviews spark the project that Ford and Tench launch, the beginning of attempting to understand the criminal mind.
Despite the fact that the majority of the two agents’ time was spent with Kemper, Kemper was not the only convicted murderer that was interviewed. Ford and Tench also interviewed Jerome Henry “Jerry” Brudos and Richard Speck, two infamous American killers from the late 1960s.
Jerry Brudos was known to have killed at least four women in Oregon during the 1960s. Burdos was also known, after his killings, to dress in high heels and masturbate to the murders. During one of the interviews Ford and Tench conducts with Burdos, Ford brings a pair of high heels as a ‘reward’ for Burdos, and well, he masturbates to the shoes with Ford and Tench still in the room with him.
Richard Speck was a mass murderer who tortured, raped and killed eight nursing students in one night in 1966. During his interview, as Ford unravels why Speck killed the nursing students and simultaneously pisses Speck off, Speck throws the small bird he had with him into the huge fan in the room, immediately killing it and spreading what was left of its body all over the room. Talk about a way to end an interview.
Ford and Tench only interviewed these three convicted criminals during the short first season, but this was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of where the series is headed.
The episodes are filled with such depth, whether it’s from the factual details to the explicit visual scenes, this series hits the nail on the head with its terrific storytelling.
This season shows the psychological drain of interviewing sadistic killers and the tension put on the individual’s relationships with themselves and their families. The viewer is shown the paranoia that Ford begins to exhibit outside of his work and his spiraling relationship with his girlfriend, and Tench’s tensions with his wife and son as he’s haunted by the murders they investigate.
The show truly delivers in showing the inward workings of the criminal mind, while exploring the mental consequences that impacted the members of the FBI team as they conducted interviews and attempted to understand convicted killers. “Mindhunter” is one thrilling crime drama that you do not want to miss this season.