A-Train Watches: Mindhunter.

Mindhunter is the latest show to get the binge treatment from old A-Train and boy was it worth it. First I don’t know if a show could have come out at a more perfect time. In a previous post about podcasts, I talk about The Last Podcast on the Left. LPOTL does episodes called “heavy hitters” these episodes profile serial killers and try to infuse some humor into gruesome subject matter. On the heels of listening to a few “heavy hitters” I stumbled across the new Netflix show Mindhunter. A David Fincher produced series about the inception of the FBI’s profiling unit. It is based on a non-fiction book by former FBI agent John Douglas, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s elite serial crime unit. 

(One of Douglas’s other books “Anyone you want me to be: A True Story of Sex and Death on the Internet” was required reading in one of my university criminology courses. I knew the source material was legit right away)

Quickly I want to mention how I stumbled across Mindhunter because it’s kinda cool. I saw this video on Reddit:

When I saw that the series was a Fincher project I was immediately on board. Not necessarily because he was doing it. (although I am a fan) But because I am a fan of when a television show is one person(s) vision and they get to execute it how they so choose. This is why I love Steven Soderberg’s The Knick was so fantastic. Instead of a television show, you feel like you are watching a movie with no constraints on time. True Detective season one also did this, and that’s why season two fell flat it lacked the consistent vision.

Not long after I came across this also on Reddit:

Having now seen both videos and with my background knowledge of serial killers I was ready to buckle up, and see where this show would take me.

The Characters: 

This show is easy to follow because unlike much of today’s TV it is not convoluted with superfluous characters or unnecessary plotlines. Their is a very clear pecking order in who’s show this is.

Ford (left) Carr (center) Tench (right) photo:netflix
  1. Holden Ford (played by Jonathon Groff) Holden is a young and idealistic FBI agent intent on making the FBI a smarter organization through outside-the-box thinking.
  2. Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany) Bill is Holden’s partner and the more experienced of the two. While he see’s the value in what they are doing he has to temper his enthusiasm because he is aware of the dangers and pitfalls that the job entails. Bill stands between the old FBI and the new FBI with one foot in each camp. He is often unwilling to push the envelope the way his partner will.
  3. Wendy Carr (played by Anna Torv) A Boston University Psychologist who has the ability to best interpret the information provided by Ford & Tench. She helps build the profile from the interviews with the various serial killers.

The Serial Killers:

Ed Kemper* – “The Coed Killer” responsible for 7 deaths including both his grandparents and his mother. Committed acts of necrophilia on the severed heads of some of his victims.

Monte Ralph Rissell – Kidnapped, raped and murdered 5 women.

Jerry Brudos*  – “The Shoe Fetish Killer” killed at least 4 women, held onto their shoes as memento’s as well as many other of their belongings.

Richard Speck –   Murdered 8 nursing students in Chicago.

Dennis Rader* – The BTK killer (Bind, Torture, Kill) Is shown in his daily routine as an employee of ADT security. His crimes are not yet known. He is shown independent of everything else happening in the show. (I should not that it’s not explicitly stated that we are looking at BTK, but based on his appearance and job I think the keen audience members are supposed to put this together. I knew who he was right away because of LPOTL.) How Dennis Rader will fit into the plot in yet unknown. He wasn’t captured until 2005 and the show is not yet out of the 1970’s. I think we are supposed to end season one thinking it’s 1979.

*subject of a “heavy hitter” on the Last Podcast on the Left.

The Music: When it comes to movies and television I will judge the living hell out of the choices made regarding the soundtrack. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 had absolute shit music, so did Baby Driver. Atomic Blonde blew me away with how well the music accompanied the film. Mindhunter got it right, and they closed out the season with the best possible song.

Mindhunter is about Ford and Tench venturing into darkness, the darkest parts of the human mind. They are testing the limits of how much they can take before they crack. Bringing darkness to the light in order to understand it, is the entire theme of the show.

Fincher has Led Zeppelin (My ATF rock band) close season one with “In the Light” with a very powerful scene involving Ford and Kemper.

In Conclusion:

As is tradition I’m not gonna give away the plot, just gonna give Mindhunter the A-Train Stamp of Approval. If you can handle the subject matter, it’s totally worth the watch. The directing, acting, and writing are all on point.


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