By Lauren Trumbull
News and Features Editor
On Oct. 13, Netflix released the new original series, Mindhunter, an adaptation of the book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, which is a memoir of former F.B.I. agent, John E. Douglas. The show takes place in the late 1970’s, featuring two F.B.I. agents, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), whose character is modeled after Douglas, and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), as they work to build the behavioral science unit of the F.B.I., and incorporate psychology to solve a crime.
The first episode begins with Holden arriving at a hostage scene in Braddock, Pennsylvania. It is Holden’s job to minimize the threat of the gunman with negotiation tactics that he later teaches to the Bureau. Viewers are immediately drawn into the show as the situation escalates to unexpected territories. Through his time at the F.B.I. and interest in diving more into the minds of a killer, Holden meets Agent Tench, who becomes his new partner.
After an interview with the “Coed Killer,” Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton), which sheds light on the possibility of learning from sociopaths, the agents are given a grant to do research on other infamous killers, alongside Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), a psychiatrist from Boston. Together Ford and Tench travel around the U.S. bringing along a tape recorder to interview murderers on why they committed their crimes. Unlike other hit shows that focus on criminal profiling, such as Criminal Minds, Mindhunter does not show the criminals perpetrating the crime, opting instead to have viewers learn about the killings through the in-depth, and at times gruesome, interviews.
As the show progresses, the fresh-faced, over-zealous nature of Ford is slowly taken away by the stress of interviewing the mentally unstable. Coming into contact with minds unlike their own begins to take a toll on both Ford and Tench, and viewers watch how this impacts not only their work for the F.B.I., but also their judgment and personal relationships, in particular, Holden’s relationship with his girlfriend Debbie (Hannah Gross), and Tench’s relationship with his son Brian (Zachary Scott Ross).
The show’s creator, Joe Penhall, keeps viewers at the edge of their seats and constantly wanting more. In the beginning of episodes three to nine and at the end of episode 10, the show alludes to the murders of an impending killer in Kansas City. Depicted as an ADT Serviceman (Sonny Valicenti), the killer leaves a haunting presence on the screen as he scopes out potential victims and gathers his murder weapons. Viewers are never given more than a minute to see Valicenti’s character form, but the season finale leads people to wonder whether he is planning his kills, or already in the process of killing women.
Netflix has graced its subscribers with a new, binge-worthy show that teaches viewers about the development of the term “serial killer,” while providing nail-biting entertainment. It is highly recommended that anyone interested in watching the show wait until after finals, because it is hard to stop watching after hitting play. Although there is not a current release date for season two, the final minutes of season one alludes to future episodes.