It’s been a while since I sat down, watched a show, and felt inspired to discuss it. It’s also been a while since a show has managed to be so interesting that I’ve stopped scrolling through Tumblr while watching it (I have a problem focusing on only one thing at the time). Yet Mindhunter managed to do both, all while showing me the beginning of criminal profiling – something that I have always had a personal interest towards.
PLOT & ATMOSPHERE
The series is set in the late 70’s and the vibe of the show is just right. The clothes, the cars, and even the tone of the cinematography easily sets Mindhunter apart from other shows. It’s not as colourful as Stranger Things’s 80’s setting, and it somehow manages to differentiate from Narcos, also set in the 70’s, as well. It feels very stiff and put together, much like our main character, who opts for wearing a suit even on his day off.
As mentioned, Mindhunter is a show about how criminal profiling got its start by basing the show on John E. Douglas’s book. Douglas himself is the first criminal profiler, and has been a benchmark for many characters, who deal with criminal profiling including Mindhunter’s own protagonist Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff). The show focuses heavily on Ford and his partner conducting interviews with convicted serial killers (term which isn’t even used in the beginning of the show due to it not exciting). While there are definitely fictional elements to Mindhunter, it is crucial to know that the dialog between Ford and the criminals are based on real interviews. Knowing that, Mindhunter definitely elevates itself to higher levels.
FINCHER & GROFF
For many of you the fact that I’m a fan of Fincher doesn’t come as surprise, and I’m glad that he produced and partly directed such a great show. Fincher has a specific style, the kind that manages to focus on things that we might not usually be focusing on. Though he only directed the first and last two episodes of the show, his style is still somehow present throughout the first season.
While expecting greatness from Fincher was given, I didn’t expect to like Jonathan Groff’s performance as much. He seemed like an odd choice for the role and yet, episode after episode, I started to like him more and more. Ford’s character is very closed up, very different, and there are definitely psychopathic qualities to his personality. That sort of coldness and lack of reaction towards really gruesome things is what I ended up loving about his character the most. In the end there is a twist to Ford’s character, which comes as a surprise and yet, it feels very natural.
THE SERIAL KILLERS
For years, I have had a fascination towards serial killers and movies/TV-shows that exploit these types of characters. Part of me thinks that I should have studied psychology in university but here we are instead. The first season has four serial killers, one of whom is Edmund Kemper (Cameron Britton), who is the most prominent throughout the first season. First of all, Britton’s performance is stunning! There is just no other word to describe his role as Kemper, and this was before I saw this video, which further proved that Britton’s work here is high-class! In other words, the casting director hit the jackpot with Britton not just in terms of them looking alike but getting a very low profile actor to deliver such a magnificent performance.
The other serial killers in the first season were definitely interesting as well, though we don’t get to spend equal amount of time with them. Besides, while three are already imprisoned, the fourth is yet to be captured, and won’t be imprisoned until 2005. For me, the fact that the actors portraying these serial killers are all quite unknown, was the best choice. It gives the show an authentic feel, almost as if we are actually seeing real life interview footage.
For me, Mindhunter tapped into the part of my brain that is curious about the minds and thoughts of serial killers. The fact that the performances were amazing, and the direction was on point, was just cherry on top to the overall theme of the show. Just to witness the beginning of criminal profiling, to see how the actual term “serial killer” came to be, is simply interesting to me. Sure, I could read the book, but I much prefer to see it all unravel before my eyes in a TV show format.
With the first season ending with such an interesting cliff hanger, especially in terms of character development, I’m eager to see the second season. Plus, I’m curious how the show will utilise the serial killer who will not be captured until 2005, and what new interviews will be done. By the way, while the show establishes a scientific frame work into the minds of criminals, it also uses those methods to solve on-going cases – so it’s interesting on multiple levels.