There will be spoilers in this article so if you haven’t seen the show yet and don’t want to be spoiled, you may want to turn back now.
What’s better than the same old cop shows that have been on television for decades? New ones that focus on some of this country’s most notorious serial killers. A dramatization of real life events, Netflix’s Mindhunter tells the story of FBI agents in the Behavioral Science Unit that do psychological profiles of serial killers in order to hunt down and arrest ones that have not been located yet. These stories are so enthralling that it’s hard not to enjoy the show, even if it’s just to hear them speak to the killers themselves.
Though interviewing these serial killers is a large part of the season one plot, it takes a bit of a back seat in the second. This makes sense to an extent, seeing as the whole point of these interviews was to use what they learned to find other killers and that is exactly what they’re doing. But to be honest, it seems like they are not focused on them at all. Even when they interview Charles Manson, after trying to get the interview throughout the whole first season, it seems rushed and unimportant.
This rush through this particular storyline however, may have a lot to do with the fact that there simply were too many stories to focus on at the beginning of the season. One of the first cases that were brought up this season is that of the BTK Strangler. As a viewer from season one, this is an exciting development because they had been teasing this case without addressing it for a while. However, after an initial focus on it, the team quickly moves on and we continue to get only snippets of information about the killer.
Of course, if you know anything about the real story of the BTK Strangler, you know why they don’t find him in this season but I won’t spoil it here in case you’d prefer to wait for the show to continue.
Another baffling thing this season is that it begins with Holden, our main character, getting diagnosed with a panic disorder after getting a panic attack meeting with one of the serial killers at the end of season one. But after the first two episodes, this fact seems to be completely ignored. It’s spoken about a few times but he never seems to be effected by it again. Even when meeting with the same serial killer that caused the original attack again, he doesn’t seem phased by it at all. It felt a lot like the writers kept forgetting about it.
The two salvations for this season were two of the bigger storylines that were actually held on to for the duration of the season. The first focuses on FBI Agent Bill Tench and his family’s struggle dealing with the fact that their adopted son Brian had been involved in the killing of a toddler. Though he was not directly involved in the crime, the family now must deal with councilors and social services as they try and deal with the aftermath of what happened. And when Brian doesn’t seem to be coping with it in a healthy way, Bill begins to wonder if his son shares traits with the killers they had been dealing with.
This is very interesting and well played out situation. It is also far from resolved by the end of the season, assuring people will be back to see what’s happening in the next season.
The second, and by far most important storyline of the season is the case of the Atlanta Child Killings. Though Holden immediately becomes interested in the case after meeting with the victims’ mothers, it takes a long time for the FBI to officially be asked for help by local police. This story is especially compelling because it is based on true events and people. It is also the first time the Behavioral Science Unit and the knowledge they have gathered has been really put to the test. While they had solved other murders since starting, this was by far the biggest in scale and attention. After fighting through backlash because of their methods, the team is eventually successful to an extent.
Despite some flaws and storylines being too abundant at the start of the season, overall season 2 of Mindhunter was very good. The characters were still very much the same people they that the audience got to know when initially watching the show originally and are equally if not more so compelling. I would highly recommend Mindhunter and eagerly await the next season.
~Mary Evers (@For_Evers_Young)