As tv viewers, we are consumed with programmes like CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Bones, The Mentalist…the list goes on forever, and the more we watch of this crime solving genre, the more that gets made and while most are highly fictionalised and dramatic for the sake of being dramatic, they are largely based on some version of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit. Thing is, that didn't actually exist until 1977 and that's where Mindhunter comes in.
An incredible re-telling of the origins of serial killer profiling, based on the pioneering work of agents John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Mindhunter is based on their 1995 book: Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit. The character names have changed but little else has in this frighteningly accurate look at their life's work as they, along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv from Secret City), decide to interview imprisoned serial killers in order to understand how they think, hoping they can apply this knowledge to solve ongoing cases.
Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is a well-respected FBI agent who goes around the country teaching police departments the techniques they need to catch criminals and murderers. He soon realises that there has to be more personality traits and other life aspects that these criminals must have in common. But in a time where the term ‘Serial Killer' has not even been invented, his ideas are not particularly well received and he is given a basement office, a tiny budget and a timeline in which to prove his theories alongside his partner agent Bill Tench.
And so begins their pursuit of interviews with imprisoned serial killers around the country and as they record and document their conversations, which incidentally are all based on actual dialogue taken from real interviews, they start to build profiles which they can then use to identify other killers and solve crimes. I cannot over stress how addictive Mindhunter is. From the uncanny likenesses of the actors portraying real life serial killers (check out Ed Kemper), to the blurred lines that Ford is willing to cross in the pursuit of knowledge to just how revolutionary the work they conduct is, it is a Netflix Original that is not to be missed and thankfully a second season is in the works.