Being a true crime author, I’m ashamed that I haven’t gotten around to reading the book that this series is based on yet. It is a matter of time and priority, juggling my own investigations on top of requests for reading.
I sat down to drink in Mindhunter on Netflix when I was recently sick, doing a rare binge-watch of the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the story of how the FBI got into the behavioral science of researching the patterns of serial killers. While that topic sounds potentially slow, they find ways of telling this story that grip and captivate the viewer.
This is the story of three characters on their journey into the dark, twisted minds of the murderers. One is an arrogant and defiant young agent who is willing to break to rules in a rather Machiavellian manner. Another is a more seasoned agent, more “by-the-book.” The other is a psychologist that is an outsider to the FBI, who understand the full potential of this kind of research. It is a good dynamic of characters working towards the same goal, but coming at it from very different angles and perspectives.
Opposing them is the FBI itself, the resistance of law enforcement agencies to this new way of thinking, and the serial killers they must confront and mentally dissect. It makes for good, solid, and entertaining TV.
It was fun to see the origins of words and phrases that I take for granted as an author such as “organized,” and “disorganized,” in relation to serial killers. The portrayal of the FBI as a big bureaucratic organization, fixed in its mindset and approach, seemed fairly accurate to my own limited experience.
Set in the 1970’s the sets and cars are spot on accurate. I only found one real flaw. In the first episode they show Agent Ford’s apartment as a tall building in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Sorry Netflix, you’d be hard pressed to find something over four stories tall there, even today.
Fair warning, the first episode was a tad slow for me, but after that it had moments that were pure mental terror to watch. This is the kind of show you have to commit to…and it is a commitment worth making.
My only critique is the whole storyline of Holden Ford and his girlfriend. It just feels forced to me. The sex scenes (approximately one an episode) often feel like they are just tossed in.
I cannot speak as to whether it is accurate to the book – but it doesn’t matter – it stands on its own.