Mindhunter is — better yet, let me tell you what Mindhunter is not. This Netflix Original Series is not a police procedural. It’s also not a whodunnit crime mystery. Show creator Joe Penhall and executive producers David Fincher and Charlize Theron have created a binge-worthy series exploring the evolution of the freshly minted FBI Behavioral Science Unit. Set in the late 1970s, the show carefully showcases how protagonists Holden Ford and Bill Tench carve out a new path for modern psychological profiling now critical staples in modern crime solving.
On season one, episode one, the word ‘intellectual’ easily describes the core of what the show is. And it is, though it doesn’t take a brainiac to easily follow the story episode to episode. My overall impression is that everyone can enjoy the shit out of the show, and everyone can come away learning something new. I found myself Googling a few terms, concepts, and a few infamous killers of the 1970s. Mindhunter appears to stay true to the big ‘sequence killers’ of the time, beginning with Edwin ‘Co-Ed Killer’ Kemper. ‘Sequence killer’ was a term that might have been used at the time since ‘serial killer’ had not yet been coined.
Beyond the brilliant writing we see gorgeous cinematography and meticulously crafted 1970s settings. As a child of the 70s, I concur that they got all of this correct. Ahhhh, no cell phones, internet, trendy digital doo-dads anywhere to be found. It’s dirty, grimy, foul-mouthed, and it all makes sense in a way. It’s a reminder of who we were, and who we still are. We’re only 30 to 40 years from this world, but we’re still the same, but different somehow.
And let’s not forget the music. This series as a rule, does not tonally accent scenes to increase or decrease a sense of drama or urgency. Nope. No cheap tricks. But you might find Cheap Trick playing somewhere in the background. Let’s take a quick look at the music. 10cc, George Benson, Alan Parson’s Project, Zeppelen, Talking Heads, Toto, it just goes on and on. It’s a real head-trip that will take anyone who lived through the dirty decade back into that time again. Sit back, grab a pull tab, put your favorite record on and enjoy.