Netflix is home to many a true-crime series and movies, but none even come close to capturing the magic of Mindhunter. The series is adapted from John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker's true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit.
Helmed by visionary director David Fincher- of Se7en, Fight Club, and Gone Girl fame- Mindhunter follows the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit on their quest to interview serial killers to find a motive behind their atrocities.
The series premiered on Netflix on October 13, 2017, followed by a second season that dropped on August 16, 2019.
One of Netflix's hidden gems, the critically acclaimed true-crime series, is a fan favorite- the fact that the series' future is in doubt is a travesty against art. While the show may not have a third season, the first two seasons are essential viewing for fans of riveting television.
Mindhunter is David Fincher's darkest fantasy come to life on the television. Far from being his first rodeo, Fincher channels all his talents at the psychological crime trope to bringing fans a true-crime masterpiece.
These are some of the reasons why you should definitely watch Mindhunter- if you haven't already!
The series is based around the Behavioral Sciences Division of the FBI. Its founding members, FBI Agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford, recruit the help of psychologist Dr. Wendy Carr to interview the nation's most notorious serial killers to understand what makes them tick so that they can identify serial killers on-the-loose.
The first season is set in the late '70s and early '80s and explores the inception of the Behavioral Sciences division. The serial killer Ed Kemper is the focus of the entire season as he helps/manipulates the two FBI agents.
The second season is set in 1980 and 1981, and the crux of the plot is the Atlanta Child Murders. The fact that Charles Manson also makes an appearance is like the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae! Also looming in the background is the imminent threat of the infamous BTK Killer.
Over its two-season run, Mindhunter was built upon brilliant performances by its actors, and not just the central cast- everyone brought their A-game, including background characters.
In the show, Jonathan Groff plays FBI Agent Holden Ford, a hostage negotiator who becomes integral to the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Division. Fincher has perfected the art of the tortured protagonist over his esteemed career, and Holden Ford is the culmination of that. Groff plays the highly intelligent, impulsive, reckless, and at times, narcissistic FBI agent so brilliantly that it is sometimes hard to separate him from the psychopaths that he interviews.
Holt McCallany plays FBI Agent Bill Tench. Tench is the antithesis to the eccentric, maybe-psychopath that is his partner, Holden Ford. A straight family man, he has a wife and a child and is your run-of-the-mill FBI agent. Even a show as visionary as Mindhunter follows the tried-and-true pattern of the buddy-cop trope of clashing ideologies and personalities between the two protagonists, in this case, Agents Tench and Ford, that provide tension and drama to the series.
Anna Torv plays a psychologist, Dr. Wendy Carr. The secretly lesbian psychologist joins the Behavioral Sciences Division and provides counsel on how to approach the interviews with the imprisoned psychopaths. In the second season, Dr. Carr is more hands-on in her professional life and personal life, taking the reins in a predominantly male-dominated profession.
Cameron Britton plays the serial killer Ed Kemper. Not only does Britton bear an eerie resemblance to the Kemper, but his performance was also so nuanced that you could mistake him for the Co-Ed Killer! Kemper was one of the first to be interviewed by agents Ford and Tench in the first season, and Britton's screen presence made it impossible for Kemper not to have a cameo in the second season.
Damon Herriman as Charles Manson. Speaking of uncanny resemblances, Herriman's turn as the infamous cult leader, Charles Manson, was first realized in the Quentin Tarantino comedy-drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. So brilliant was his performance that he played the same character in Mindhunter. If one didn't know any better, they would think Charles Manson was still alive and took up a job as an actor!
The brilliance of Mindhunter has been recognized by many critics, with praise for the direction, acting, sound design, and the theme.
On IMDb, the series holds an overall 8.6/10 rating taken from 174,227 users as of January 2020. On Metacritic, it holds a rating of 80/100 based on 37 critics indicating "generally favorable reviews." The show also contains a combined average of 97% approval rate on Rotten Tomatoes based on 95 reviews.
On Roger Ebert's website, Brian Tallerico calls the series "Netflix's best drama."
Despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and a hardcore fan base, the series still struggles to land a third season.
David Fincher is neck-deep in the filming of his upcoming movie, Mank. In January 2020, the cast members were cleared of their contract obligations and free to pursue other projects. As of yet, the series is put on an indefinite hiatus.
Netflix's statement on the production status of Mindhunter reads:
"We’re still confident that the series will be returning for a third outing. While the future of the series rests in the hands of Netflix, David Fincher is determined to eventually see the project through to the end for a total of five seasons."
With the future of Mindhunter in doubt, fans are left wondering whether the show is worth the trouble. The short answer is: YES! The long answer is HELL, YES!
In 19 episodes, David Fincher sucks you into his realization of the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit. Rather than rely on balls-to-the-wall pacing and overplayed acting sequences, the show builds up slowly, but never once is it close to boring.
The performances, especially from the three central characters, and the various serial killers are enough to reel in viewers and keep them glued to their seats.
What the show lacks in action it more than makes up for in phenomenal acting, directing, and tension so thick you could cut it with a knife! Mindhunter is can't-miss television and one of the best things on Netflix, period.