Mindhunter: Netflix Scores with Sophisticated Serial Killer Series
DramaMystery & Suspense
We’re truly living in a golden age for TV, with a new show coming out almost every week. Even many film actors and directors are either making the transition or dabbling with the concept of moving to TV, including David Fincher, who, after directing a few episodes and being credited as a producer on House of Cards, has been a driving force behind Mindhunter as executive director and occasional director.
Based on the true crime book of the same name, the 1970s-set show follows two FBI agents who interview incarcerated serial killers, researching how they think, act and behave to have a better idea of what goes inside a killer’s mind and create a system which they can apply to solve ongoing crimes and in the future prevent them.
The two main leads offer an interesting insight into a developing and growing FBI, contrasting each other in several ways, which leaves their dynamic open to development and conflict throughout the series.
Jonathan Groff plays Holden Ford; an FBI hostage-negotiator-turned-instructor. Groff offers a sensitive, methodical character in the role, with a special interest into psychology and pushing boundaries, who evolves as he comes to learn his new position better.
On the other hand, Holt McCallany plays hardened ex-military agent, Bill Tench, who wants answers quickly and surgically. There’s very much a rough edge to him; he’s more disconnected and colder in his approach. While they both have their different approach to things, they work together perfectly and smoothly creating an entertaining chemistry with one another.
What’s key to making this relationship work is the fact that both leads’ acting is on-point; they’re not caricatures, but very believable and, importantly, very likeable. Overshadowing even them, however, are the various portrayals of serial killers. Again, they’re believable, measured and calculated as characters. One of the other standouts is the direction; the overall atmosphere evolves from calm to intense smoothly, giving each episode a perfect ebb and flow.
No show is without flaws, of course, yet this show has minor ones that can be forgiven; for example the first couple of episodes are a bit slow, but sticking through the pays off, as it all feeds into the show’s character development.
If you’re a kind of person who likes mystery, investigative dramas and detective movies, this show is definitely a must watch – it’s real, it’s no-nonsense and it has just enough rawness to it.