Mindhunter: Season 2
If last season of Mindhunter was about establishing the theory about how serial killers think, then this season is about putting those ideas into practice
“You saw The Exorcist?” FBI agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) asks David Berkowitz, aka 'The .44 Caliber Killer', in a chilling scene in the new season of David Fincher’s Mindhunter. “Everyone saw it,” he candidly responds.
Friedkin’s controversial horror masterpiece is referenced more than once this season, including an interview scene with one of the film's more infamous extras, Paul Bateson, who was latterly convicted for murder in 1979. Nods to this 1973 horror masterpiece remind us of the moral panic that swept America at the time. After the Manson murders (look out for the interview scene with Charles Manson), combined with the rise of gender, sexual and race politics and not to mention Vietnam and Watergate, America was on less sure footing. It was a nervous time, susceptible to mass panic. It’s against this carefully-crafted backdrop that Fincher sets his gripping crime-thriller.
If last season was about establishing the theory about how serial killers think, then this season is about putting those ideas into practice. The fledgeling FBI's Behavioural Science Unit need to prove their findings have a practical application by solving the seemingly racially-motivated Atlanta Child Murders while battling with bureaucracy and the media. An icy atmosphere looms large as the investigation proceeds and gore is kept to a tasteful minimum; Fincher knows that what you don’t show can be just as chilling.
This is balanced by how the main action sits alongside the relationship dramas of the FBI agents – although the personal life of agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is reduced to fleeting references to his panic attacks, triggered from his encounters with 'The Co-ed Killer' Ed Kemper (the brilliant Cameron Britton) in season one.
Fincher has evolved as a storyteller since Seven and Zodiac, and what is so refreshing is that having mined the subject of serial killers for decades, he shows that the genre can still be fresh.