Review: Netflix’s Mindhunter Season 2 — A True-Crime Fan’s Dark Delight

Last Friday, Netflix unveiled the highly-anticipated second season of the serial killer crime drama Mindhunter. After a 22-month absence, Netflix released a number of teasers and ads marking the show’s return leading up to the release date. While the series garnered a large and dedicated following, some questioned whether the long wait would have a negative impact on the series.

In this writer’s opinion, the wait was worth it. Mindhunter season two was a dark and fascinating dive into the psychology of not only the criminal, but those tasked with investigating and hunting them.

Picking up where the first left off, season two follows the FBI’s Behavior Science Unit as they continue their research into the psychology of those that would eventually be referred to as serial killers. While Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), and Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) place a magnifying glass on the minds of those committing multiple heinous murders, the series also delves deeper into the personal lives of these protagonists. Doing so reveals the flaws that the three hide—either due to ego, fear, or out of embarrassment—that creates an important conflict that helps drive the story.

Related – Actor Holt McCallany Says David Fincher Wants Mindhunter To Go At Least Five Seasons

Ford’s extreme and detailed focus on finding the perpetrator of child murders in Atlanta causes him to be ignorant of the racial tensions that exist in the city. This blind spot creates an obstacle in his attempt to connect with those he is trying to help. Tench, who has now become somewhat of a celebrity among his neighbors and friends due to what he does for a living, suffers a personal setback within his family involving his son. While this veteran agent is able to break down any suspect in a room with his detailed line of questioning, Tench is unable to do the same with his wife and child—possibly a flaw caused by his own fear of learning the truth about what his son is going through. Additionally, Carr continues to keep her identity as a lesbian close to the chest. This creates a level of tension—aside from dodging the typical sexual advances by some men on the force—when a new love interest comes into her life with her own levels of secrecy. All three actors in their respective arcs do a masterful job of balancing their character’s professional strengths with their personal weaknesses.

Aside from their personal arcs, there is an abundance of engaging interviews with vicious criminals. Most notably, the sit-downs that Ford and Tench have with the “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz (Oliver Cooper) and Charles Manson (Damon Herriman, who also played Manson in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood) are gripping. Herriman’s stream-of-consciousness delivery as Manson is exquisitely delivered. The viewer’s eyes are glued to every second of this tense and extremely eerie display.

Like the first season, filmmaker David Fincher is behind the scenes pulling the strings. While he only directed the first three episodes this season, his essence is felt throughout the entire season. From the tone to the tilt/pan/track camera tricks that Fincher is known for, each episode is a visual delight. Joining the series this season as producer is writer Liz Hannah, whose noteworthy works include 2017’s Academy Award-nominated film The Post and this year’s critically-acclaimed Long Shot, starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen.

Penning two of this season’s episodes as well, the addition of Hannah brings more character depth into the mix. Partnered with the continued writing excellence of creator Joe Penhall, as well as John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, the result is a season that amplifies everything great about this series. Human protagonists, shocking murders, and the deep-dive into the psychosis of those that commit them—all while the BTK strangler continues his reign of terror—makes for an astounding second season in this Netflix masterpiece.

Rating: A+

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Anthony Esteves

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