Mindhunter is an American crime drama television series created by Joe Penhall, based on the true crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. The series is executive produced by Penhall, David Fincher, and Charlize Theron among others, and debuted worldwide on Netflix on October 13, 2017. In November 2017, Mindhunter was renewed for a second season.
|Created by||Joe Penhall|
|Music by||Jason Hill|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||34–60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Denver and Delilah Productions|
|Picture format||4K (Ultra HD)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||October 13, 2017 – present|
Set in 1977 – in the early days of criminal psychology and criminal profiling at the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Mindhunter revolves around FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), who interview imprisoned serial killers in order to understand how they think with the hope of applying this knowledge to solving ongoing cases.
In February 2016, Netflix announced that the production of Mindhunter would be based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Filming began in May 2016, and open casting calls were held on April 16 and June 25, 2016. The series was renewed for a second season before its premiere on Netflix.
The character of Holden Ford is based on FBI agent John E. Douglas, and Bill Tench is based on pioneering FBI agent Robert K. Ressler. Dr. Wendy Carr is based on psychiatric forensic researcher Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess, a prominent Boston College professor who collaborated with the FBI agents in the Behavioral Science Unit and procured grants to conduct research on serial murderers, serial rapists, and child molesters. Her work is based on treating survivors of sexual trauma and abuse, and studying the thought process of violent offenders. The serial killer characters were modeled on the actual convicted criminals and their prison scene dialogues were taken from real interviews.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Episode 1"||David Fincher||Joe Penhall||October 13, 2017|
|In 1977, FBI Special Agent Holden Ford fails to prevent the suicide of Cody Miller in a hostage situation at Braddock, Pennsylvania. Ford returns to his FBI base in Fredericksburg, Virginia where unit chief of the FBI National Training Academy, Shepard, considers the "negotiation" a success as Ford prevented the loss of hostage life. Shepard instates him to a hostage negotiation teaching position where his students are less than enthusiastic. Ford is captivated by a neighboring class taught by Peter Rathman who delves into the minds of killers such as Son of Sam. Ford, who is single and living alone at the time, meets Debbie, a hippie graduate student studying sociology. Ford approaches Shepard for additional education regarding the evolving criminal mind. Shepard recommends speaking to Bill Tench, the head of the behavioral science department at the FBI. Tench suggests Ford accompany him on his teaching class around the country sharing FBI techniques to local law enforcement and simultaneously learn of methods used by local law enforcement. The pair travel to Fairfield, Iowa. The local law enforcement does not connect with Ford's verbose language. Tench suggests Ford makes everything unnecessarily complicated. Ford's suggestion that Charles Manson is a victim does not resonate well with local police. Frank McGraw, a hardened local detective, shows Ford and Tench a local brutal murder and rape of a mother and son.|
|2||"Episode 2"||David Fincher||Joe Penhall||October 13, 2017|
|In Wichita, Kansas, "ADT Serviceman" demands the cardboard core for empty electrical tape. Tench and Ford arrive at San Francisco, California where Ford informs Tench that Charles Manson is only 30 miles away and requests a conversation with Manson. Tench states Manson is impossible to gain access to. Local police, however, suggest that Ford meets Edmund Kemper, the coed killer who turned himself in. Tench has no interest interviewing Kemper and decides to play golf. Ford goes alone and to his surprise finds Kemper to be highly intelligent, commanding, manipulative and enjoys talking to law enforcement. Kemper believes the only cure for himself is a lobotomy or death by torture. Meanwhile an elderly woman in Sacramento is attacked and her dog's throat slashed. Tench and Ford initially believe teenagers were responsible. Ford convinces Tench to accompany him during his next visit. Kemper describes his hatred of his mother and how he began torturing animals. Kemper believes there could be 35 people in America like him, currently free. At the age of 15 Kemper killed his mother, severed her head and defiled it. At home, Debbie wants Ford to meet her mother and states her mother judges her boyfriends by their relation with their own mothers. Shepard, is infuriated by Ford and Tench's interviews with Kemper, but instead allows them to continue their project in the basement, much to Tench's discontent and Ford's delight.|
|3||"Episode 3"||Asif Kapadia||Story by : Joe Penhall
Teleplay by : Joe Penhall and Ruby Rae Spiegel
|October 13, 2017|
|Ford and Tench approach Dr. Wendy Carr, a social sciences professor in Boston, Massachusetts for academic interest in the study. Carr is highly interested and recommends writing a book on their discoveries. Their attempt to meet Benjamin Franklin Miller is declined. The pair are informed there was another elderly women in Sacramento who was, this time, murdered and her dog killed by having its throat slashed from ear-to-ear. After the interview with Kemper, Tench now believes the suspect is white, in his 30s and has a similar relation that Kemper had to his mother. The police set their sights on Dwight Taylor, a man in his 30s with an abusive mother. After interrogation, Taylor confesses to the murder. The police celebrate and the FBI agents are lauded as heroes. The pair return to Kemper which he states the most effective way to cut someone's throat is to slash from "ear-to-ear". Kemper describes his favorite women and his reaction to women which causes vomiting. Ford recommends the removal of certain words from the FBI's list of deviant words. Ford questions Tench's relationship with Wendy Carr which he states is strictly professional. Carr arrives in Fredericksburg as a consultant for the FBI.|
|4||"Episode 4"||Asif Kapadia||Story by : Joe Penhall
Teleplay by : Joe Penhall and Dominic Orlando
|October 13, 2017|
|The ADT Serviceman continues to sells his product in Kansas. Ford and Tench interview Montie Rissell, a serial killer who murdered five women in Virginia. Rissell states his drive to kill was out of envy after his girlfriend left him. Rissell shows no remorse for his actions and considers himself a victim. His methods of murder were blunt force trauma, drowning and stabbing. He is less sophisticated than Kemper in his technique and killed his first victim because she was a prostitute who did not resist rape. He later kills some of his other victims for "talking too much". After bribing Monte with Big Red, he reveals the same hate for his mother as Kemper. While not paying attention, Tench gets into a car accident. In Altoona, Pennsylvania, the pair is joined by local police officer Mark Ocasek in the investigation of the murder of Beverly Jean Shaw, an "engaged" 22-year-old babysitter. Beverly Jean's genitals were mutilated, gaining the FBI's interest. They initially focus on drifter and local welder Alvin Moran, who admits to having an infatuation with Beverly Jean. However, Moran's alibi checks out. Tench reveals his personal life, that he has an adopted six year old son named Brian who refuses to speak. Back in Fredericksburg, Ford invites Carr to meet his girlfriend at a bar. Despite Shepard's anger at the information leak, Carr is able to secure $385,000 in grant money to fund and allow the research to continue.|
|5||"Episode 5"||Tobias Lindholm||Jennifer Haley||October 13, 2017|
In Altoona, Pennsylvania, the investigation into the murder Beverly Jean continues. Ford, Tench and Ocasek interview her "fiance", Benjamin "Benji" Barnwright, who because of Ocasek, was aware of their arrival. Ocasek believed it was polite to inform a man in grief, only to be berated by Ford and Tench. Benji begins profusely crying, sending red flags to Ford who believes men crying to strangers could be an act. The police speak with Benji's mother who describes him as "soft" and says that Benji was grief stricken when his father left. Benji's mother mentioned his brother-in-law, Frank Janderman, who is extremely protective of Benji's sister, Rose Barnwright-Janderman. Tench questions the nature of the relationship between Benji and Beverly Jean believing she was using sex to control him. Ford begins to question Debbie's sexual past, much to her discontent. Tench and Ford discovers Frank's past violent incident involving hitting a woman with a wrench. Frank, however, doesn't have a pathology of a serial killer.
After interviewing Frank, the police discover that Benji's relationship with Beverly Jean was not as serious as Benji stated, claiming the two never had sex. Frank suggested, without evidence, that Beverly Jean was sleeping with other men. With renewed interest, Tench and Ford interrogate Benji. Benji claims that Frank repeatedly hit on Beverly Jean and "forced" her to set on his lap. At a bar, Ford questions why women would go to the bar alone. Tench believes women could just go to a bar for a drink same as a man.The trio interrogates Rose, who has an infant, at her house. She is seen with bruises. She met Frank when she was 16 and revealed Benji was suspicious that Beverly Jean was sleeping around, though Rose denies knowing for certain. Rose confirms that Frank was home all night except for the time he left to get food. Ocasek warns Rose that if the FBI finds out any involvement between her and the murder, she will lose her child. Rose comes to the police station and admits Frank was not home during the night of Beverly Jean's disappearance. She states that Benji called Frank for help; two to three hours later Frank called her to come to Benji's house with cleaning supplies. Rose was informed by Frank that Benji had done something terrible to Beverly Jean. Rose discovers Benji with Beverly Jean claiming she was already dead.
|6||"Episode 6"||Tobias Lindholm||Story by : Joe Penhall
Teleplay by : Joe Penhall and Tobias Lindholm
|October 13, 2017|
The "ADT Serviceman" is seen with a rope making a knot. Shepard offers Carr a full-time consulting position at the FBI, and she tells him she'll think about it. Back in Altoona, Tench confronts Benji who denies killing her. Frank claimed that Benji knocked Beverly Jean out after she refused to sleep with him and states he did not see Benji kill her. Benji stated Frank was having sex with Beverly Jean and that he [Benji] stabbed her in the anus after she was already dead. After listening to the recording of the interrogation, Carr concludes that Beverly Jean was alive when Rose arrived. The police are unable to determine who committed the murder and conclude that all three are accomplices. Back in Fredericksburg, Debbie and Ford have dinner at Tench's home with his wife, Nancy.Carr provides an analysis of the situation, stating that Benji knocked out Beverly Jean after she rejected his sexual advances. He then called Frank to help. Frank convinces Benji that Beverly Jean is a "slut" so Benji allows Frank to rape her in order to humiliate her. The two beat her and after Rose arrives, realizes Beverly Jean was still alive so together, the three kill her. Benji then returns to the location of the body and mutilates it. The prosecution, however, only intends to seek full punishment for Benji while offering pleas for Rose and the more dangerous Frank. Carr returns to Boston, and it's revealed that she is a closeted lesbian. Carr asks her lover, Annaliese Stilman, for her opinion regarding accepting the FBI's offer. Annaliese warns her about her career and having to stay closeted, but her elitist attitude annoys Carr and she leaves for Virginia.
|7||"Episode 7"||Andrew Douglas||Story by : Joe Penhall
Teleplay by : Joe Penhall and Jennifer Haley
|October 13, 2017|
|Tench and Ford travel to Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Oregon to interview Jerry Brudos. Brudos demands cigarettes and pizza. Unlike Kemper, Brudos is a pathological liar who denies any murder; however, both are organized. Brudos admit to have a shoe fetish and masturbated to shoe catalogs when he was younger. He claims to suffer from blackouts due to low blood sugar. Brudos claimed he heard Kemper saying the FBI agents were idiots. In order to get Brudos to confide in them, Carr recommends giving him pizza and cigarettes, and talk about their own families, which Tench refuses. Back in Fredericksburg, Ford and Debbie go shoe shopping, Ford buys an extra large women's shoes for Brudos. Tench lies to Brudos about talking to his ex-wife and Brudos threatens to leave. Ford shows Brudos the shoes and Brudos begins talking about the shoe collection he began accumulating since he was 5. Brudos claimed his mother burned his first pair of women's shoes after she caught him wearing them. Brudos continues about his double life which he hid from his wife. Carr begins feeding a cat at her new house in Fredericksburg. Tench and Nancy talk about Brian's behavior at school which involved biting other students. Nancy recommends a hippie doctor, but Tench insists on a regular doctor. At their home, Brian's babysitter discovers a crime scene photo Brian stole from Tench's office, showing Ada Jeffries dead with a wooden pole inserted in her anus. The babysitter is too afraid to continue working there. Nancy confronts Tench about failing to spend enough time with Brian, and he angrily reveals the disturbing nature of his cases. At Debbie's apartment, Ford returns and speaks of getting married. That night, Debbie dresses in lingerie and heels. Ford panics and stops Debbie after realizing he has similar fetishes as Brudos.|
|8||"Episode 8"||Andrew Douglas||Story by : Erin Levy
Teleplay by : Erin Levy and Jennifer Haley
|October 13, 2017|
|Ford is invited by Principal Roger Wade to speak at his local elementary school to talk about odd behavior coming from other classmates, including torturing animals. Ford's ambitious goal is to teach children how to identify "disturbing" behavior, including pyromania and lack of remorse. Ford is approached by a fourth grade teacher, Janet Ebner, who is concerned with Wade's behavior of tickling children and rewarding them with nickels. Ford becomes suspicious that Debbie is cheating on him after she is dropped off at home by her classmate, Patrick. Ford asks Debbie to call her next time she needs a ride. Debbie believes that Wade's behavior is concerning and creepy comparing it to her cousin's first grade teacher who was pinching children inappropriately. The behavior science unit looks toward expansion and hires Gregg Smith, whose father is friends with Shepard. Tench is unconcerned with Wade's behavior. Ford asks Gregg to come with him to speak with Wade. The older teachers, Clark and Ebner, are concerned, but the young teacher considers the older teachers to be busybodies. After speaking with Wade, he refuses to stop tickling, saying it is a positive experience for the children. After Gregg informs on Ford, he is summoned by Shepard who "advises" him to drop the issue, stating it is not an FBI matter. Ford returns to Oregon to meet with Brudos, who is more talkative and gives Ford the reasons and logic behind the murders without incriminating himself. Brudos claimed he killed the girls so he could silence them and play with them like dolls. Debbie invites Ford to a room blackout event where she intends to meet with her partner in the event, Patrick. Ford becomes unhappy with Debbie and she becomes annoyed with his envy. Later Ford visits Debbie's blackout event and sees Patrick flirting and touching her. He angrily leaves. Ford receives a call from the school superintendent informing him that Wade is being let go.|
|9||"Episode 9"||David Fincher||Story by : Carly Wray
Teleplay by : Carly Wray and Jennifer Haley
|October 13, 2017|
|The "ADT technician" is seen preparing for a murder. At the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, Ford and Tench set up an interview with Richard Speck. Instead of a private meeting as the FBI requested, Deputy Warden Armstrong, who despises Speck, purposely bring the agents through the front. Speck is vastly more aggressive than their previous interviewees. Speck repeatedly curses at the agents and is extremely abrasive. Despite his aggression, Speck holds a bird in his hand which he is nursing back to health. Ford asks to see Speck's tattoo which says "Born To Raise Hell". Tench begins the questionnaire regarding the eight murders he committed in one night. Speck shows no interest, to which Ford unconventionally asks Speck what gave him the right to take "eight ripe cunts out of the world". Speck calls him crazy and begins answering the questions. Unlike the other "serial" killers, Speck's actions were not methodical, stating "it just wasn't their night". His violence spawns from "machismo" and acts were spontaneous more like a "mass murderer" instead of a serial killer. Speck then kills his bird by throwing it into the fan. Tench recommends that Ford redact the beginning of the interview. Gregg unhappily redacts the transcript. Meanwhile, Ford sees Debbie at a laundromat, and the two reconcile. Later that night Ford is confronted by Wade's wife, who followed Ford to his apartment stating that Ford ruined their lives. She warns Debbie that Ford is a bad person. At Carr's home, she notices that the stray cat was not eating its food and stopping coming. The unit releases information regarding the murder of Lisa Dawn Porter, a 12-year-old-girl in Adairsville, Georgia. Given the evidence the unit believes this was the perpetrator's first murder. The police notice that the trees have been trimmed and set their focus on Darrell Gene Devier. Carr is summoned by Shepard, who informs her that Richard Speck has filed a complaint after being attacked for talking to the FBI and accused Ford of "fucking with his head". The unit gives the redacted version to the OPR and is released with no issues. Back in the basement, Carr and Shepard listened to the original tape. Initially Carr believes the tape should be turned over. Eventually, they all agree to destroy the tape and cover up the incident. Gregg, however, secretly sends the tape to OPR claiming "[he] doesn't do deceit very well".|
|10||"Episode 10"||David Fincher||Story by : Joe Penhall
Teleplay by : Joe Penhall and Jennifer Haley
|October 13, 2017|
|Kemper writes Ford saying he would like to meet with him again, which Ford ignores. In Adairsville, Devier agrees to meet the FBI voluntarily. Ford uses techniques he learned from his interviews with serial killers and focus on Devier's possible pedophilic tendencies, and uses items belonging to Lisa Dawn along with the murder weapon to invoke an emotional response. Devier, being inexperienced with interrogation, eventually breaks down and confesses after seeing the rock he used to kill Lisa Dawn. The police celebrate and after drinking, Ford brags about the unit's involvement with serial killers. His boast reaches the press, which endangers the integrity of the research project. Ford becomes increasingly arrogant and argues with Debbie after she disagrees with his methods. Carr flies to Rome, Georgia in hopes of preventing the death penalty as it could prevent future killers from wanting to be interviewed. The Georgia prosecutor refuses to drop capital punishment. Ford returns home and breaks up with Debbie. Ford receives an urgent call from Kemper's doctor stating he attempted suicide, but is stable. The unit learns that the OPR had received the recording of the Speck interview. Gregg does not confess and Tench blames Carr. Ford is interrogated by the OPR who gives him a warning and advises him of the consequences. Ford abruptly leaves and then later goes to see Kemper. Kemper states he considered Ford a friend and shows him the scar on his arm. Kemper said he was surprised that Ford actually came. Kemper briefly discusses how Ford seems very proud at being able to read men like him, before standing aggressively and states there is no guard alert system in the ICU. Kemper says he could kill Ford if he wanted to, but instead hugs him. Ford flees in terror before collapsing in the hall in a panic attack. In Kansas, the "ADT Serviceman" is seen burning sadistic drawings.|
On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 79 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 96% approval rating with an average score of 7.83 out of 10 based on 79 reviews, and the site's critical consensus states, "Mindhunter distinguishes itself in a crowded genre with ambitiously cinematic visuals and a meticulous attention to character development."
The first season of Mindhunter was named among the best TV shows of 2017 by Time, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, New York Observer, Slant Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Yahoo, and The Independent. It was ranked No. 10 on Metacritic's year-end list of the best TV shows of 2017 compiled from rankings by various critics and publications.
|2018||Dorian Awards||TV Performance of the Year – Actor||Jonathan Groff||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor in a Drama / Genre Series||Jonathan Groff||Won|||
|Best Drama Series||Mindhunter||Nominated|
|USC Scripter Awards||Best Adapted TV Screenplay||Joe Penhall, Jennifer Haley, John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker (for "Episode 10")||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best New Media Television Series||Mindhunter||Pending|||