Mindhunter (TV series)
|Created by||Joe Penhall|
|Music by||Jason Hill|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||McKeesport, Pennsylvania|
|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 –|
Mindhunter is an American crime drama web 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.
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 originate the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit within the Training Division at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They interview imprisoned serial killers in order to understand how they think, with the hope of applying this knowledge to solving ongoing cases.
Cast and characters
- Jonathan Groff as Holden Ford, a special agent in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit
- Holt McCallany as Bill Tench, a special agent in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit
- Hannah Gross as Debbie Mitford, Ford's girlfriend and a post-graduate student at University of Virginia
- Cotter Smith as Shepard, a unit chief at the FBI Academy overseeing Ford, Tench, and Carr's work
- Anna Torv as Wendy Carr, a closeted psychology professor working towards tenure at Boston University
- Stacey Roca as Nancy Tench, Bill's wife
- Joe Tuttle as Gregg Smith, a special agent newly assigned to the Behavioral Science Unit
- Alex Morf as Mark Ocasek, a police officer from Altoona, Pennsylvania
- Joseph Cross as Benjamin Barnwright, a murder suspect in Altoona
- Marc Kudisch as Roger Wade, a Fredericksburg elementary school principal
- Michael Park as Peter Dean, an OPR investigator
- George R. Sheffey as John Boylen, an OPR investigator
- Duke Lafoon as Gordon Chambers, an Adairsville detective
- Peter Murnik as Roy Carver, a Sacramento detective
- Lena Olin as Annaliese Stilman, Wendy Carr's partner and head of the Psychology Department at Boston University
- Cameron Britton as Ed Kemper, a serial killer interviewed by Ford and Tench
- Sam Strike as Montie Rissell, a serial killer interviewed by Ford and Tench
- Happy Anderson as Jerry Brudos, a serial killer interviewed by Ford and Tench
- Jack Erdie as Richard Speck, a mass murderer interviewed by Ford and Tench
- Sonny Valicenti as ADT serviceman
Development and production
The development of Mindhunter began in 2009 when Charlize Theron gave a non-fiction crime book titled Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit (written by retired FBI agent John E. Douglas and author Mark Olshaker) to David Fincher. In January 2010, the Mindhunter project was set up at Fox 21, which had optioned the book, along with premium cable channel HBO. Scott Buck was tapped to write the pilot. Fincher, who was mostly known as a director and producer in films, felt at that time that television was "completely foreign" until he worked on the political drama House of Cards, for which he co-produced and directed some episodes. When Fincher finally felt comfortable with television as a medium after doing House of Cards, Theron suggested playwright and screenwriter Joe Penhall as the project's writer, replacing Buck. In December 2015, Mindhunter was moved to streaming service Netflix, with Fox 21 dropping out of the project.
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. Wendy Carr is based on psychiatric forensic researcher 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. Although never explicitly stated, it is implied that the ADT serviceman seen in several short vignettes throughout the series is Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer.
The second season will consist of eight episodes, two fewer than the first. While the first season was set in 1977, the second season will follow the Atlanta murders of 1979–81. Shooting took place between April and December 2018. Directors for the second season were David Fincher, Andrew Dominik and Carl Franklin.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Episode 1"||David Fincher||Joe Penhall||October 13, 2017|
|FBI Special Agent Holden Ford fails to prevent the suicide of Cody Miller in a 1977 hostage situation in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Upon Ford's return to FBI base, he is told that his "negotiation" was successful since he saved the hostage's life, and he is promoted to teaching. Ford takes an interest in another class delving into the minds of killers, taught by Peter Rathman. Ford, who is single and living alone at the time, meets Debbie, a graduate student studying sociology. With Debbie's encouragement, Ford seeks additional education on the criminal mind. Shepard refers him to Bill Tench, Head of Behavioral Science. Tench takes Ford on his teaching classes around the country, sharing FBI techniques with local law enforcement. In Iowa, local police take offense when Ford suggests that Charles Manson is a victim. As Tench counsels Ford to simplify his method, the two are approached by local detective, Frank McGraw, seeking help in a brutal case of murder and rape.|
|2||"Episode 2"||David Fincher||Joe Penhall||October 13, 2017|
|In Wichita, Kansas, an ADT serviceman demands the cardboard core for empty electrical tape. Tench and Ford arrive at San Francisco, California, where Ford requests a conversation with Charles Manson, just 30 miles away. Tench states it is impossible to gain access to Manson. Local police, however, suggest that Ford meet Edmund Kemper, the coed killer. Tench has no interest interviewing Kemper, so Ford goes alone. To his surprise, he finds Kemper to be highly intelligent and talkative. Meanwhile, an elderly woman in Sacramento is attacked and her dog's throat is slashed. Ford convinces Tench to accompany him during his next visit to see Kemper. Kemper describes his hatred of his mother and how he began torturing animals. 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 to learn about Ford and Tench's interviews with Kemper, but allows them to continue their project in the basement.|
|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. Their attempt to meet Benjamin Franklin Miller is declined. Another elderly woman in Sacramento has been murdered and her dog's throat slashed from ear to ear. After an interview with Kemper, Tench believes the suspect is white, in his 30s, and has a similar relationship with his mother as Kemper did. The police set their sights on Dwight Taylor, a man in his 30s with an abusive mother. After interrogation, Taylor confesses to the murder. Ford recommends the removal of certain words from the FBI's list of deviant words. 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 sell his product in Kansas. Ford and Tench interview Montie Rissell, a serial killer who murdered five women in Virginia. 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 sex worker who did not resist rape. He later kills other victims for "talking too much". After being bribed with Big Red, Rissell reveals the same hate for his mother as Kemper. Tench gets into a car accident. In Altoona, Pennsylvania, Tench and Ford join local police officer Mark Ocasek in investigating the murder of Beverly Jean Shaw, an "engaged" 22-year-old babysitter. They initially focus on drifter and local welder Alvin Moran. However, Moran's alibi checks out. Tench reveals 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. Carr secures $385,000 in grant money to fund their research.|
|5||"Episode 5"||Tobias Lindholm||Jennifer Haley||October 13, 2017|
|In Altoona, Pennsylvania, the investigation into the murder of Beverly Jean continues. Ford, Tench and Ocasek interview her "fiance", Benjamin "Benji" Barnwright. 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. Benji's mother mentions Frank Janderman, Benji's brother-in-law. Ford begins to question Debbie's sexual past. Tench and Ford discover Frank's violent past. 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 claimed. With renewed interest, Tench and Ford interrogate Benji. The trio then interrogate Rose, Benji's sister, at her house. She is seen with bruises. Ocasek warns Rose that if the FBI finds out any involvement between her and the murder, she will lose her child. Later, Rose comes to the police station and admits Frank was not home during the night of Beverly Jean's disappearance. The truth unravels as Rose claims that Frank called her to Benji's house the night of the murder and she found Beverly Jean dead. She admitted that she cleaned up the house while Benji and Frank disposed of the body.|
|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. Back in Altoona, Tench confronts Benji. Carr concludes that Beverly Jean was alive when Rose arrived. The police conclude that Benji, Rose, and Frank are all accomplices. Back in Fredericksburg, Debbie and Ford have dinner at Tench's home. The prosecution only intends to seek full punishment for Benji while offering pleas for Rose and Frank. Carr returns to Boston, and it's revealed that she is lesbian. Carr asks her lover, Annaliese Stilman, for her opinion on accepting the FBI's offer. Annaliese warns her about her career and having to stay closeted, but Carr decides to leave for Virginia anyway.|
|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 admits to having a shoe fetish. Ford buys an extra large pair of women's shoes for Brudos, which he uses to get Brudos talking. Carr begins feeding a cat at her new house in Fredericksburg. Tench and Nancy talk about Brian's behavior at school. At their home, Brian's babysitter discovers a crime scene photo showing Ada Jeffries dead with a wooden pole inserted in her anus. The babysitter is too afraid to continue working there.|
|8||"Episode 8"||Andrew Douglas||Story by : Erin Levy |
Teleplay by : Erin Levy and Jennifer Haley
|October 13, 2017|
|Ford is invited to speak at an elementary school and is approached by a teacher, Janet Ebner, who is concerned with Principal Roger Wade's behavior of tickling children and giving them nickels. Ford becomes suspicious that Debbie is cheating on him. The Behavioral Science Unit hires Gregg Smith. Ford asks Gregg to come with him to speak with Wade. Principal Wade insists that tickling is a positive experience for the children. Gregg tells Shepard about Ford's latest investigation, and Ford is advised to drop the issue. Ford returns to Oregon to meet with Brudos, who is more talkative. Debbie invites Ford to a room blackout event where he catches her flirting with Patrick. He angrily leaves. Ford receives a call from the school superintendent informing him that Wade will be let go.|
|9||"Episode 9"||David Fincher||Story by : Carly Wray |
Teleplay by : Carly Wray and Jennifer Haley
|October 13, 2017|
|The ADT serviceman is sitting in the house of an intended victim. When the clock strikes midnight and the victim shows no sign of arriving, he becomes fed up of waiting, tidies up after himself and angrily leaves. At the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, Ford and Tench interview Richard Speck. Speck shows no interest in cooperating until Ford asks what gave him the right to take "eight ripe cunts out of the world". Tench recommends that Ford redact his unconventional comment from the interview. Ford and Debbie reconcile. Ford is confronted by Wade's wife at his apartment. Carr notices the stray cat has stopped eating its food. The unit releases information regarding the murder of Lisa Dawn Porter, a 12-year-old-girl in Adairsville, Georgia. 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 accusing Ford of "fucking with his head". The unit gives the redacted interview transcript to the OPR. Back in the basement, the team agrees to destroy the original tape.|
|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. Devier agrees to meet the FBI voluntarily. Ford uses techniques he learned from his interviews to achieve a confession. The police celebrate and after drinking, Ford brags about the unit's involvement with serial killers. His boast reaches the press. Ford and Debbie argue. Carr flies to Rome, Georgia in hopes of preventing the death penalty. Ford and Debbie break up. Ford receives an urgent call from Kemper's doctor. The unit learns that the OPR had received the recording of the Speck interview. Ford visits Kemper. Kemper says he could kill Ford if he wanted to, and 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 97% approval rating with an average score of 7.91 out of 10 based on 90 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|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Cameron Britton||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor in a Drama / Genre Series||Jonathan Groff||Won|||
|Best Drama Series||Mindhunter||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best New Media Television Series||Mindhunter||Nominated|||
|TCA Awards||Outstanding New Program||Mindhunter||Nominated|||
|USC Scripter Awards||Best Adapted TV Screenplay||Joe Penhall, Jennifer Haley, John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker (for "Episode 10")||Nominated|||
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