Much like Breaking Bad, it took me several sittings to get through Mindhunter’s slow and borderline tedious pilot. But the Netflix show’s second episode was a huge improvement, and I soon found myself captivated by the narrative’s slow-burn psychology and compelling character work.
Produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron, Mindhunter is the story of two FBI agents and a psychiatrist who interview serial killers in order to better understand their psyches. The show is at its best when it explores the inner workings of twisted individuals capable of the most heinous and violent of crimes. Quite interestingly, the various serial killers showcased on the show are in fact modeled after actual convicted criminals, and their dialogue is taken from real “interviews”. This makes the scenes in which our protagonists face off with the murderers the show’s most absorbing moments. The dialogue is raw and brutal, and the sinister vibe is completely engrossing.
Performance wise, there isn’t a weak link in the bunch. As the ambitious Holden Ford, Jonathan Groff is a revelation. He undergoes a complex journey as Ford struggles to hold on to his humanity (and his relationship) while coming in to contact with the worst that humanity has to offer. Also brilliant are Holt McCallany as Holden’s no-nonsense partner Bill, and Anna Torv as Wendy, a psychology professor who joins the duo in their controversial research. The three form a cheer-worthy trio, and the show shines when it puts them together in the same room.
Mindhunter is also phenomenal when it comes to its serial killer guest stars. Cameron Britton is majestically imposing as the notorious Edmund Kemper (and he makes several memorable appearances throughout the season), while Sam Strike is uber creepy as rapist-murderer Monte Rissel. Also unforgettable is Jack Erdie as Richard Speck – his frightening turn downright made my skin crawl.
Finally, it must be mentioned that Mindhunter is one immersive show. The haunting visuals and quiet tone give it an eerie atmospheric quality that ends up being highly addictive. It’s no surprise it’s produced by Netflix because it’s absolutely perfect for bingewatching.
With outstanding cinematography and top-notch performances, Mindhunter takes an unimpressive pilot episode and morphs into an intensely rewarding crime drama. Highly recommended!