Mindhunter: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers


Image from Slash Film

Anyone who has ever followed American television knows that one of the staples of American shows are crime dramas. From The Wire to the C.S.I. franchise, it seems that stories that revolve around the depraved and the sadistic are an essential part of the American television diet. It is also not uncommon for shows such as these to hire policemen and former FBI agents as well as psychologists and criminologists to guarantee a certain level of authenticity to the show.

David Fincher, acclaimed director of films such as Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network and Gone Girl, has taken the role of producer in this Netflix show released in October 2017. Alongside Charlize Theron, who also has an executive producer role, they bring viewers into the forefront of American criminality in a way that has not been tackled before.

The show follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) who embark on an academic journey into America’s prisons in order to speak to men who have committed horrific acts. The two main characters are based on John Douglas (Ford), a former FBI agent and one of the first criminal profilers, and Robert Ressler (Mccallany), another former FBI agent who was instrumental in psychological profiling and is credited with coining the term “serial killer.” The imprisoned men they visit are unfortunately renditions of real people, from Ed Kemper, the Co-Ed killer responsible for the murder of more than ten people, to Richard Speck, a man responsible for the death of eight student nurses from the South Chicago Community Hospital.

The storylines in the show are simple to follow but keep growing in a manner that only intrigues the viewer with time; whether it is insights into the minds of actual serial killers, the occasional ongoing case the FBI agents are working on, or the implications of the research done by the two agents.

The show is not for the squeamish; it involves explicit content and graphic images of horrific acts. While that on its own is enough to turn a significant number of people away from it, if you do decide to watch it, it will give you insight into the minds of some of the most dangerous people that have walked on this Earth in the 20th Century.

The members of the cast are not stars; you might know the actors when you see them, but you will not necessarily know their names. However, this does not take away from the show at all; having Fincher as a producer and the director of two episodes is a watermark on the quality of the show and all its facets.

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