TV Review: Mindhunter

For many years Mr O and I were big fans of a show called Criminal Minds that follows the investigations of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, a team of agents who focus on serial killers. It went a bit off piste when they introduced Jennifer Love Hewitt, who was in no way believable as a psychiatrist and the storylines started to get a bit samey but we loved all the “delving into the minds of killers” and the bizarre crimes. 

The reason I mention Criminal Minds is because Mindhunter kind of goes hand in hand with it. This latest Netflix original is a dramatisation of how the actual Behavioural Analysis Unit was created… and it is fascinating.

Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany play Holden Ford and Bill Tench, two FBI agents trying to get inside the minds of “spree killers” (before serial killers were even a thing) with the help of specialist psychiatrist, Wendy Carr (Anna Torv). Through interviews with various well-known killers as well as by providing consultation on more disturbing local law enforcement cases the team starts to build out a portfolio of ideas and concepts.

Things don’t always go smoothly though. Note everyone at the FBI is on-board with the idea that criminals can be driven by things that go beyond traditional motives and the legal system is even less sold. Holden’s methods are far from conventional and are often likely not only get him into hot water, but also quite potentially too close to his subjects. All three members of the team find themselves becoming obsessed with the job and having it spill over into their personal lives and it’s hard to draw boundaries in whole new world.

I absolutely love the 70’s setting and the background of social change, especially around the role of women in society and all the main and supporting characters are so well written. Holden in particular is so interesting because he is an absolute barrel of contradictions and Wendy is such a badass, as is Holden’s girlfriend, Debbie (Hannah Gross). There is a great balance between the cases, the politics and the characters personal lives that keeps you hooked and the pace drives things along without ever feeling rushed.

The first season ends with a big cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This show came highly recommended to me and I have no reservation in recommending the first season to you. I can’t wait for season 2.

5/5

 

 

 

15 Comments

  1. Man, I must finish the last episode of this. I love Criminal Minds (even though it has gone a bit dodgy), and I love the psychology behind serial killer, etc. This was soooooo good, and then got so meh, so we have been uhming and ahhhing about finishing it. Should just do it, see what shakes loose. Great write up!

    1. The last episode was a bit intense. I guess it started to lag a little bit towards the end but I still really enjoyed the whole season.

      1. Okay, so I finished the last episode last night (took me long enough) and it was better than the few before it. Don’t know, will see how it goes.

    2. I agree! I think the psychology behind it is so interesting and cool! Both great shows

  2. Curious to see it. Jennifer Love Hewitt as a psychiatrist? Isn’t that like Denise Richards as a scientist?

    1. I think they might have gone to the same college.

  3. Sounds good. One of these days, I might have to get Netflix.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. There are so many great original shows going straight to Netflix now. I think you might be missing out, Pete!

  4. R. Henneberg

    I too love this show!

    1. It’s so good. Can’t wait for season 2!

  5. Okay, thanks…I think I’ll enjoy this series! I continued with Criminal Minds, but I felt like it fails when it wants to delve into the personal backgrounds of the team a bit too much. Aisha Tyler is now on the team and for some reason she seems more credible than the former ghost whispering actress.

    1. I think it gets very hard to come up with more and more creative crimes so they fall back to the lives of the team, which is fine to pount but for me that has never been what the series is really about.

  6. I absolutely love this series! I can’t wait for season 2 ☺️ I really want to read the book too, before the new season comes out. I’m also watching Criminal Minds, and I just finished Season 8. Should I continue it?

    1. I enjoyed Criminal Minds up to season 10 and then it died for me, so I would say keep going for now!

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