Starting from memes on social media to the binge lists of crime genre lovers, one name that had recently become quite popular is “Mindhunter”. The problem with most of us is that we start complimenting and seeing the true worth of something only once it’s gone or is about to be canceled (in this case). Those of you who are not aware of this, let me be straight with you. Mindhunter was a comparatively new Netflix series that has been in the market from 2017 to the present with two successful seasons. The issue that has now made fans a bit indignant towards the platform of Netflix is that they have practically canceled the show. Even though not any particular reason has been known properly as of yet, the actors of Mindhunter have been freed from their contracts, which hints that fans should not be expecting another season of Mindhunter.
I would be one of those indignant fans. The show is a gem for lovers of the crime and thriller genre. Above all, the fact that the series is based and inspired by true events makes the sequences in the series yet uncanny, thrilling, and psychologically interesting. The series is based on a 1995 non-fiction novel Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit which was written by an FBI agent, John E. Douglas. The incidents mentioned in the series are taken from true events and brilliantly reproduced on the screen.
The Discourse of the Show
Agent Holden Ford, who is an FBI instructor and hostage negotiator, and his colleague, Bill Tench, the head of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, interrogate some of the most hideous serial killers and criminals out there. The series follows these interrogations as they dig deep inside the cracks and crevices of the psychotic minds of various ardent criminals, and with the help of Dr. Wendy Carr, a psychologist in the FBI, turn those informal interrogating sessions into formal studies with the aim of blending the same in an academic curriculum.
Thus begins the journey of exploration, with our protagonists delving deep inside the minds of deranged crime-loving, violence-seeking individuals, some of whom are aware of the stuff they are doing, have an explanation (however insane it might seem to us), understanding and owning up to them, while others are ignorant of their messed up psyches and deny their offenses altogether. Furthermore, the journey navigates its audience through the duplicitous spheres of institutional bureaucracy across America, therefore securing a balanced blend of almost everything that could result in and from a messed up psychological perspective of certain individuals of the outside world.
The Characters Involved
The first season has a pretty straightforward plotline to follow. It shows the two FBI agents interrogating hard-core criminals who excel in a variety of crimes such as serial killing, necrophilia, and others. One of the first that we encounter is Ed Kemper, the Co-ed killer. He had killed his parental grandparents, his mother, and ten other people. He believed serial killing to be a strenuous job and even gets offended when the agents referred to it as a hobby. He owns up to the crimes he had committed and seems very on par with the decisions he took.
However not all the criminals that the agents come across are as straightforward and upright as the Co-ed Killer. Brudos, for example, would be one such criminal who would take up a cover once he was done committing his crime and approached his victims (who were mostly women) dressed as a woman.
The most interesting of the interrogations though was probably the one of Manson. This particular criminal comes about as a very Buddha-like figure. He believes that our thoughts frame of present for us. We cannot evade them even if we want to. His prophetic persona though turned out to be a shell which he used to manipulate the conscience of others, instigating and influencing them to commit some very hideous offenses.
The second season though has a more dynamic flow of the plot. The second season follows the Atlanta child murders which were a series of murders of African-American kids. These murders were backed up by various and enough political and racial angles. The second season also threw light on the gruesome killings of the BTK, or the bind, torture, kill the murderer. It also explorers a rather interesting plot angle where the six-year-old adopted son of Bill (one of the two interrogating FBI agents) start showing the first signs of his hideous hidden side.
The second season also develops on various other parallel plotlines that got blended together slowly but swiftly as the show progressed.
Even though the series is a great suggestion for those who love the genre of psychological thrillers and crime shows come on there are some trigger warnings that you need to be aware of before you go on to watch the episodes.
The show leaves little to the imagination of its audience. It does not try to convince you in favor of the criminals, obviously. However, they do not hide information either. They bear it all, well at least as much as possible, for the amusement and interest of those who like delving into the psychological aspects of all sorts of people who exist in our society. The show showcases the use of strong language, has storylines involving drugs and some really disturbing crimes.
There are criminals who provide their versions of their explanations as to why they turned out to be a certain way. For instance, one of the criminals being interrogated, Monte Rissell, admits that he had indeed killed so many women, and further explains that killing women comes as easily to him as sneezing. He explains this pathological hit of his towards women came from a series of rejections that he had faced in his life. These instances offer a slight window to sympathize with such characters who exist in our society, who are in need of desperate help but too naive to ask for the same. But it never backs up the choices such characters make out of the hatred they feel. The show, therefore, is not an attempt to convince its audience in favor of the crimes and criminals it would raise, but simply to spark the essence of interest in such angles and aspects of psychology.
After one of the interrogations, the FBI agents discussed how even such people who have made manipulation a part of their everyday life can also be manipulated at the end of the day to gain information out of them for further study.
The show, therefore, is not just a series of interrogations but plays with a variety of angles in psychology, making it a gem of a suggestion for people interested in the same. If you were to ask me I would say it’s thoroughly deserving of a third season, especially when the graphics and performances and the supreme brilliance with which such a dark atmosphere is built and maintained come into consideration.
But then again, it is what it is.