Netflix's true crime thriller series Mindhunter is an engrossing watch

Why You Should Watch: Netflix’s Mindhunter

Inside Criminal Minds

The superior Criminal Minds show about how the BSU at the FBI led to some of the greatest crime investigations of all time. Mindhunter is one of the darkest, bleakest, harshest and most interesting crime TV series that you will ever watch.

We follow the viewpoint of 3 main characters throughout the 2 available seasons. Special Agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford, as well as Dr. Wendy Carr. They work with and develop a separate branch of the FBI dedicated to studying murderers who have more demented MOs. Basically, they would eventually create the criteria that would become known as Serial Killers.

What first needs to be mentioned is the actors that play the three main leads. Jonathan Groff, Holden Ford, plays one of the best examples of character development on TV. He goes from timid, unsure and weird to confident, highly intelligent and dangerously honest. Besides, Groff has this strange charisma that he’s proven before in movies like Frozen (Kristoff) and the upcoming Hamilton movie.

Holt McCallany (Bill Tench) is phenomenal as the storied and grizzled veteran who learns more than he bargains for. McCallany shows that he’s extremely good at balancing drama, sarcasm and gravitas at the drop of a hat. Besides, his voice is just so freaking nice to listen to!

Anna Torv also shines as the woman living a double life, and showed her acting chops back during Fringe, one of SciFi Tv’s best series. While she initially only wants to be a consultant to Ford and Tench, she soon learns that she wants to understand the minds of the killers. All while hiding her sexuality and biases in a world that isn’t quite the open and welcoming one we live in now.

All three of these actors truly shine in this show. Showing off a highly intelligent dialogue, written into a show that is insanely dark and morbid. You hang off of every word that comes from them and eagerly anticipate what is to come.
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What’s a Hero Without a Good Villain?

Special shoutout also needs to go to the various actors that portray the serial killers in this show. This is most likely the closest you’ll get to truly understanding how they worked, outside of actually talking to them yourself.

In particular, Cameron Britton who plays Edmund Kemper, is absolutely engrossing to watch. The real life Edmund Kemper, also known as the Coed Killer, is widely considered one of the most intelligent and baffling serial killers. Britton nails the horrifying intelligence of a man who only understands the world as a warped reality.

His baritone voice combined with his unrelenting dry gravitas puts you on edge very time. There is no way around it, he’s just terrifying and mesmerizing in the same sentence.

Of course acting is good and all, but it can only do so much for a TV series if everything else is not up to par. We briefly went over in Da 5 Bloods that sometimes acting can carry a film, but a TV series needs to be consistently compelling.

Luckily, this is one of the most competently paced, shot and edited TV Crime series ever made.

Subtext is in the Eye of the Millions of Beholders

Each episode in the middle of Season 1 and beginning of Season 2 plays out two different stories. Tench and Ford converse with a convicted killer, find themselves being roped into a local case and learn more about what drives these people.

Sounds like any other police/crime show right? Eh, not exactly, where Mindhunter distinguishes itself is in the raw and unabashed look at the monstrosities that perform these acts.

The cinematography is stark, grey, yellow and bereft of things like excessive color, quick takes of establishing areas,  lots of props, so on so forth. Everything feels like it’s just there to serve one purpose; understanding your subconscious.

Even the Quantico scenes, Ford’s apartment, Tench’s house etc everything looks empty. It looks so stark and empty compared to other shows. There’s no mass of computers and screens, boards full of posters, mass amounts of subtextual exposition. That is where Mindhunter shines.

Everything from the outdoors to the individual homes of the characters all have one thing in common: They all look like prisons.

Subtext in this show is everything. Which should come as no surprise when you learn that the creator and writer of several episodes is David Fincher. Known for his work in one of our favorite films ever, Zodiac, as well as House of Cards and The Social Network.

Fincher is a perfectionist, and this show is indicative of that at every level. This whole series (even if it is technically still ongoing) just feels like an excessive study into the audience’s subconscious. Almost a direct parallel to what is happening on screen, and lastly, this show is dark.

When we say it’s dark, we mean that if Criminal Minds made you shiver, then this show will keep you up at night. From the very beginning this show pulls absolutely no punches with it’s content.

Blood, dismemberment, rape, frequent profanity, use of actual crime scene photos etc. This is not a show for someone just looking for their X-Files fix or for someone just sad that Criminal Minds is over. You will be horrified at the level of brutality and vindictiveness that this show brings to the table.

Honestly, we cannot recommend Mindhunter enough. Certainly there are elements of it to be aware of before just blindly jumping into the first season. As stated above, this show is relentlessly harsh and graphic, bring your airplane bags.

Secondly, this show is all about getting inside the dramatized psyche of people that did the worst things imaginable. The dialogue reflects that as well with extraordinarily harsh language and sentences that will make your jaw drop. Just, graphically disgusting things that people are capable of doing/saying.

Watch Mindhunter, just be prepared for what you’re watching.


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