“Mindhunter” was released on Netflix in October and it has already proven to be binge-worthy. The show is loosely based on “Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit” — a book written by former FBI criminal investigator John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker.
The 10-episode season takes place in 1977 and stars actor Jonathan Groff as Holden Ford, a young FBI agent, and hostage negotiator. In the show, Ford teaches new students at the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia, about psychological strategies for negotiating with criminals. His empathetic character makes him extremely likeable, but he receives a lot of backlash from his colleagues for expressing his emotions in his line of work.
Holden eventually allies with Special Agent Bill Tench, who is an experienced specialist in behavioral science played by actor Holt McCallany. Tench addresses Holden as a “blue flamer,” which is law enforcement slang for someone who is overly passionate about his duties and is expected to burn out in the end. This is not a bad quality to have because it demonstrates that Holden wants to seek self-improvement within his place of power.
The two hit the road and encourage police departments to open up their minds to a new way of critical thinking. Not only do Tench and Holden share their knowledge and experiences with the police, but they also interview criminals. In the beginning, Holden interviews infamous ‘Co-Ed Killer’ Ed Kemper, which instantly grabs the viewers’ attention. Actor Cameron Britton does a terrifying portrayal of the sadistic Kemper.
One of the best things about the show is the lack of extreme gore. Since the script was already graphic, it did not need to have bloody visuals to go along with it. The dialogue among the characters in “Mindhunter” was terrifying enough without the added gore.
There are many different crimes throughout the series that Holden and Bill work on along with their third ally: the intelligent, alluring university psychologist Wendy Carr, who is played by actress Anna Torv. Carr entices the two men and eventually joins them due to her knowledge and their common interest. Her character is refreshing because it is nice to have a female perspective in a sea of ignorant men on the show. The confidence she exudes draws viewers into her character.
Overall, the show does an amazing job of capturing the suspense in law enforcement interrogations. Although viewers might feel emotionally exhausted while listening to the dialogue of some of the interviews and crimes, the point is to make people uncomfortable. From the script to the eerie camera angles during the criminal interviews, “Mindhunter” is an enticing show as a whole.
This review was originally posted on Hawk Talk Magazine.