Mindhunter Season Review

Mindhunter – Season One

"Butchering people is hard work. Physically and mentally. I don't think people realize. You need to vent."
Netflix Mindhunter Jonathan Groff.jpg
Mindhunter

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.

Conclusion
With outstanding cinematography and top-notch performances, Mindhunter takes an  unimpressive pilot episode and morphs into an intensely rewarding crime drama. Highly recommended!

Nad Rating
A

 

11 comments

  1. A deeper dive (so to speak) on the different serial killers would be appreciated. After all, there is an uncredited teaser quote in large font at the very beginning of the review. Thank you.

    1. Hi Shawn. I always put a quote on top of my reviews that are uncredited. It’s part of the site’s style. As for the deeper dive, you’ll totally right. I’ll go more in-depth in season two but this debut season was so thrilling that I rushed to give it a general overview 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  2. Thank you, Nadim! As I watch the show again (how did I miss so many details the first time around?) I am struck by Holt McCallany’s performance as Bill Tench. Perhaps it is that Tench’s dialog with his wife and son feels less contrived than Jonathan Groff’s interactions with his girlfriend. Perhaps I find Tench’s situation more relatable as an old school professional relying on established procedure while being (somewhat) open to new and developing methodologies. Whatever the case may be, the depth that McCallany brings to his character is some of the finest acting on Mindhunter. He is the foundation of the investigative team even while his home life slips away beneath him. It’s a breakout performance, and it’s my hope that McCallany any goes on to get bigger and better roles. Truly brilliant casting for a fine show. Netflix has a winner with David Fincher’s latest vehicle, and I cannot wait for season two.

    1. Holt’s performance is ASTOUNDING you are right! He really does bring so much depth as you mentioned. Loved reading your thoughts Shawn. Hoping to read more of them on other shows as well! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. I’ve watched Mindhunter FIVE times through and I’m still not tired of it. Such a fascinating show with incredible performances. I hope it gets many award nominations.

    1. So true! I would love to rewatch it and I certainly hope it gets a whole lot of awards this season! 😊

  4. I’ll jump on the bandwagon here and heap my praise on “Mindhunter”. When I saw the trailer, I said to myself “Hmm. Sounds interesting. I just hope it’s not a glorified ‘Criminal Minds’.” Much to my delight, it isn’t. It’s darker and much more intelligent and credible than “Criminal Minds”. The reason, most likely, is because of the incorporation of actual interviews with serial criminals into the script. McCallany, Groff and Torv are, indeed, wonders. (Kudos to the casting directors!) When will the new season be released? I can’t wait.

    GRADE: A

    1. I’ve actually never watched Criminal Minds Rocco, but I definitely feel like Mindhunter is more my kind of show. Those authentic interviews just elevated the show to a whole other level I agree. I’m glad you loved it too; here’s hoping they announce season 2 very very soon!

  5. By the way, I’m enjoying your website–this is my first visit and I’m binge reading. Nice job!

Share Your Thoughts