With the vast quantity of material that online streaming giant Netflix is churning out on a somewhat weekly basis, it is becoming a struggle to sieve the weak from the strong. Deciding on something to watch has become like looking for a needle in a haystack. However there are, on occasion, shows or films that deserve a special mention, and Mindhunter, based on the best selling non-fiction novel, is a series that cannot escape such recognition. The show sports many of the themes that are currently so popular: the retro nostalgia of the 1970s, the preoccupation with psychology, and, particularly at this time of year, the thrill of the unknown. Mindhunter ticks all these boxes and more.
The show centres on two FBI agents at the bottom of the federation’s hierarchy, who embark on a mission to unite crime with psychology. What if criminals aren’t just born evil? What if their behaviour can be explained by other factors, whether they are environmental or biological? What if, and that is a big “if”, we could answer these questions and change the way we prevent crimes in the future? These are the questions Holden and Bill seek to answer.
Beginning in the basement of the FBI headquarters, they set out on their investigation of whether psychology can be used as a method to reveal motive, interviewing serial killers to understand the way their minds work. Not only is this often thrilling, horrifying, and on occasion humorous, but it provides a chilling insight into the human condition that was, at the time, dismissed as inherent and unchanging evil.
It is this that drives the show, as not much really happens in terms of plot. But little else is required. The characters add their own dynamism, through Holden’s somewhat dramatic and frisky relationship with his girlfriend, and Bill’s turbulent marriage. Towards the end there is also the addition of Wendy, who provides a refreshing female presence on the team and who has an intriguing history of her own.
This show is certainly one to watch out for. With five seasons already planned, the dark plot around the most disturbed areas of humanity is only sure to thicken.