Mindhunter is an American crime drama web television series created by Joe Penhall, based on the true crime book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker.
There’s not much in this world that I like more than content from David Fincher, and like his other work Mindhunter is completely transfixing from start to finish. This show follows Holden Ford and Bill Tench as they establish an FBI unit responsible for interviewing serial killers in order to better understand how their minds work.
What really sold me on Mindhunter was the performances. This show is so stuffed to the brim with great acting, that it’s hard to even say one person is better than another, There is one exception to this however, Cameron Britton is absolutely brilliant as serial killer Ed Kemper. He is only in about 4 episodes and he steals every scene he’s in. He manages to be polite and articulate in the creepiest way possible. One of the issues with the series is it almost feels like it loses a lot of steam when Britton temporarily leaves the picture after episode 3.
Mindhunter’s story really isn’t anything that is terribly special. It’s pretty plain and there isn’t much fluff to it. What really makes this show such an enjoyable watch is the performances I mentioned above and David Fincher’s directorial prowess. With Fincher’s previous work, the way that he shoots dialogue just draws you in and provides you with such an intimate connection to the characters. This is the same way with Mindhunter, it sucks you in and engulfs you in this 1970’s crime world. I also like that this isn’t your typical crime procedural, there is a little bit of usual tropes, but Mindhunter almost works backward to show you how these crime solving methods were invented. There really is nothing groundbreaking about the show but somehow it becomes such an addictive watch thanks to performances and Fincher’s style, which elevates Mindhunter from what would have been just an okay show to a great one.
I do have some issues with the show, most of them stemming from some character decisions. One of them is Holden’s girlfriend played by Hannah Gross. Her character basically just exists for Holden to relate to the audience what is on his mind and for him to learn new things about himself. She never really feels like an actual person just sort of an object of story advancement, and that’s disappointing considering her significant screen time. There are also some sub-plots that are kind of distracting. Wendy played brilliantly by Anna Torv has this weird thing where she brings can of tuna down to feed a cat in her building and then suddenly the cat disappears. This I guess is to symbolize a kid killing the cat and becoming a serial killer down the road. This was pretty un-needed and this time could’ve spent developing a character like Holden’s girlfriend. Other than these things the show is pretty much flawless.
Overall, Mindhunter was an amazing time and I’d totally recommend it. If you like crime dramas then I’d definitely give this watch. Mindhunter is just different enough from the normal crime procedural to appear unique to fans of genre. Netflix is really adding some great stuff lately and as long as they continue to bring on great talent like Fincher they have my interest.