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Netflix Original Review: Mindhunter

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Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

In an age of television where cheesy police shows such as CSI and Law and Order; Mindhunter proved to be a breath of fresh air. Detective shows have been around for quite some time, dating back to the very beginnings of television. While lots of shows have been cheesy and have not quite been well plotted shows, there have been good crime shows such as True Detective, Fargo, and The Wire. Mindhunter falls into this same category. The show tells the true life story of two FBI behaviorists – Holden Ford played by Jonathan Groff and Bill Tench played by Holt McCallany – and how they began to apply psychology to the process of tracking down serial killers.

When the show begins, the word serial killer is not even in the characters vernacular yet. The show’s story begins right after the capture of the Son of Sam killer (David Berkowitz), and makes several references to the Manson murders which occurred several years prior. The behaviorists begin a journey around the United States, speaking to different local police departments about the concept of applying psychology to police work. As they continue this work, they spend their downtime talking to captured serial killers to get a better idea of the killers mind. As their project gains more and more support, they begin to conceive methods for profiling the killers and comparing the data they receive from these interviews. Then, they begin to engage with the local detectives and help them solve cases. They use these cases as data to better understand motive and the drives of killers. Throughout the show, the audience is exposed to adaptions of some of the most horrific serial killers from the time period; the most profound being the recurring Ed Kemper. Known also as the co-ed killer, Kemper was taken into custody after he turned himself in for the murders of women college students, as well as the murder of his own mother. The conversations with Kemper prove to be some of the most beneficial for the protagonists, and they visit Kemper throughout the season. While all of this is going on, at the beginning of each episode we see the actions of an unknown man who is clearly planning to begin a series of killings. Based on clues from the mans actions and other characteristics. the man is clearly supposed to be the BTK killer. The show is being set up for future seasons when this killer will be presented as a probable threat.

A major significant factor of Mindhunter is the support received from film director David Fincher. Fincher is one of my favorite directors, and he has made many great films over the years including Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and Gone Girl. Some of his best work has been in the genre of crime films. He has made two films which centered on serial killers, Seven and Zodiac; the latter being about the real life Zodiac Killer. Fincher’s dedication and mastery of this subgenre of crime films makes him very suitable for his involvement in the show. Mindhunter is definitely one of the best crime shows I’ve seen in a long time; and with the delays in continuing True Detective, I would recommend investing in this show.

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Netflix Original Review: Mindhunter