To all “Criminal Minds” fans in need of their next fix, Netflix has a show for you. The show is based on the nonfiction book “Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit” by Joe Penhall.
“Mindhunter” isn’t a simple reboot of nearly every other TV crime drama to come across TV screens. Netflix’s new crime drama follows two FBI agents in the late 1970s as they dive head-first into the unimaginable world of serial killers. In an effort to better understand the criminal psychology of serial killers, agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) interview imprisoned serial killers. These interviews help the agents to not only redefine deviant terminology and further develop criminal profiles, but the interviews ultimately help them solve ongoing cases.
Groff plays the show’s protagonist agent Holden Ford, a naive young agent recently transferred from the field as a hostage negotiator to the classroom. After overhearing a lecture on criminal psychology from across the hall, Ford becomes obsessed with learning more about criminal psychology. This insatiable interest ultimately leads him to join agent Tench’s road school where they travel the country to educate police stations on basic criminal profiling.
All too eager and green, Ford challenges Tench and the FBI to quit pretending that they have all of the answers when it comes to serial killers and begins interviewing a serial killer named Edmund Kemper. However, as Ford’s naivety is replaced with ambition, the once clear line between him and the people he’s interviewing blurs. Groff’s boyish looks combined with his acting experience make him perfect for this complicated role.
As Ford and Tench continue interviews beyond Kemper, they begin to create and redefine their terminology. Here, “Criminal Minds” fans who secretly wanted to fight crime alongside the members of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) find small doses of satisfaction. When the agents find that they need a better phrase to describe their subjects than “sequence murderer,” these fans can pat themselves on the back when the agents agree to test out ‘serial killer’ having known full well that it’s what they would settle on.
Watching the characters develop the criminal psychology that many viewers are already familiar with gives “Mindhunter” a unique place in television as a kind of prequel to shows like “Criminal Minds.”
The show is far better than those that have come before it because its episodes focus on telling a story rather than repeating the same tired format every week. Each episode drags viewers deeper into the world they’ve always loved with less predictability.
The unsettling but intriguing world of Netflix’s “Mindhunter” is the perfect binge watch to get you in the Halloween mood.
Alex Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.