Mindhunter just released its second season.
6 out of 10 stars for a great FICTIONAL season. Unfortunately there are going to be a lot of people thinking this season is true and it’s not. I see a lot of lawsuits in the future for Charlize Theron (the producer) and Netflix. Maybe even John Douglas.
First let me say this season is very watchable IF you view it as fiction and with fictional characters. If you view it as anything close to the truth of what happened, you’ll be offended. Here’s why. The show was created around the work done by the original FBI profilers John Douglas (who consults for the show) and his partner Robert Ressler (now deceased so he can’t object) as well as Dr. Ann Burgess who helped them codify their meetings with convicted serial killers into a book they used to profile future killers (Sexual Homicide). Douglas wasn’t with the FBI for long before he had major personality clashes with both Ressler and Burgess and was then forced out of the FBI. He’s bitter and it shows from this season.
If you didn’t already know, Holden Ford’s character is based on John Douglas while Bill Tench’s character is based on Robert Ressler and Dr. Wendy Carr’s character is based on Dr. Ann Burgess. They are nothing like the real people. Ressler didn’t adopt a kid who went on to be complicit in the death of a 22 month old infant. Nor did Burgess have lesbian affairs which she let interfere with her work at the FBI. And Ford’s brilliant intuitiveness which the show credits for the success of the FBI’s profiling unit is also fictional. Douglas was never this brilliant. Gifted yes, brilliant no. One of the things that Douglas suffers from, which interesting enough is brought up in the show repeatedly, is that he became friends with serial killer Ed Kemper and considered him a friend. He took what Kemper told him as gospel when Kemper was actually yanking his chain most of the time. That gave Douglas a very myopic (near-sighted) view of everything.
So this season is like one long ongoing revenge fest aimed at Ressler and Burgess and the FBI (from Douglas who consults for the show). He invents a murderous son for Tench (Ressler) and a skanky lesbian lover for Carr (Burgess). And all season both of them are constantly backstabbing Ford (Douglas). If you can set all of that aside, it’s an interesting show to watch.
- In the opener for season 2, we see the BTK killer get caught by his wife practicing auto-erotica asphyxiation while dressed as a hooker (Park City, Kansas). Although every episode this season features the BTK killer in the opening, they never catch him.
- Next up is Bill’s home life. His wife wants him to socialize with their friends from church at a barbecue, so he tells them about work. While that makes him popular, it makes his wife Nancy angry. Bill encourages their adopted son Brian to play with the older boys, a move he’s going to regret very soon.
- At work, Bill gets the BTK case file and starts reading through it. The 1974 Otero family murder was particularly grotesque. The BTK killer sat in a chair and watched a nine year old boy slowly die of asphyxiation. It took 26 minutes. Then he hangs the 11 year old girl from a pipe in the basement and masturbates as he watches her die. (Way too much information for me.)
- Director Shepard tells Bill he’s retiring and that the new director, Ted Gunn gave up a top floor assignment in the Hoover Building to work with their profiling unit. Bill is called to Gunn’s office and Gunn asks him who is to blame for last year’s fiasco. Bill immediately blames Holden. So Gunn asks him if they should just fire Holden and Bill says no, without him the unit wouldn’t do well. No kidding (sarcasm). Fortunately, Gunn is a big fan of Holden’s. So he tells Bill to support Holden.
- Bill gets a phone call from Holden to pick him up at the hospital in Vacaville, California. That’s when Bill learns Holden went to see Ed Kemper alone and suffered from severe panic attacks. Rather than being sympathetic, Bill whines the entire way home with Holden and dumps all over him. And it starts to become clear that this season is about John Douglas making fun of his old cohorts at the FBI. Tench, who is based on Robert Ressler, is the old-fashioned, out-of-date, former military stereotypical bully who works 9 to 5 and then goes home while Holden Ford, who is based on Douglas, is a mild-mannered, brilliant, intuitive, trustworthy FBI agent who goes above and beyond to catch the bad guys. 🙂
- Director Gunn’s next meeting is with Dr. Wendy Carr and he approaches her the same way. He asks her who was to blame for last year’s fiasco and she immediately blames Holden just like Bill did. So Gunn tells her to support Holden and sends her back to her office.
- Finally Gunn gets to meet Holden and invites him into the executive kitchen where he makes him an omelet and tells him to call him Ted. It’s clear he came over to the FBI to work with Holden, not Bill or Wendy. Holden is the brilliance behind the team. Gunn also tells Holden he’s getting them an interview with Charlie Manson.
- While Holden is with Gunn, Bill and Wendy whine to each other about Holden and last year’s fiasco which they both blame on Holden rather than Smith.
- When Holden appears with the unit he tells Wendy and Bill that Greg’s the one who sent the tape last season. And Greg finally admits that he’s the rat who sold everyone down the river. 🙂
- The episode ends with a retirement party for Shepard and we learn that he was forced into retirement by the debacle at the end of last season (which incidentally was due to the fourth wheel on their team, Greg Smith who was unqualified for the job but hired through nepotism). Shepard leaves his own party to crap all over Holden, blaming him for getting fired. :0
6 out of 10 stars. Very interesting. Very watchable. A bit frustrating if you know the background of the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) and the real people these characters are based on because this is FICTION.
Visual Recap of Mindhunter Season 1 Episode 1