Series Review

Expect plenty of twists & turns in season 2 of 'Mindhunter'

Figuring out what makes serial killers tick takes its toll on the FBI's behavioural science team in the second season of this Netflix drama series

08 September 2019 - 00:00
FBI agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford in a scene from 'Mindhunter'.
FBI agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford in a scene from 'Mindhunter'.
Image: Supplied

It says something about the status of TV in the streaming era that one of the true mavericks of cinema is devoting most of his time to it.

David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club and Zodiac) hasn't directed a feature film since 2014's Gone Girl. This is because for the past five years he's been involved in the world of series, first as executive producer of Netflix's successful drama - the politically intriguing House of Cards - and now its most intriguing and best-executed drama series, Mindhunter.

It's been 18 months since the slow-burning, emotionally engaging period series about a pair of FBI detectives at the helm of the organisation's behavioural science unit made its first appearance. Now it's returned for a second season that broadens the scope of its concerns to deliver a power-punching exploration of the effects of the cerebral examination of serial killers on the men and women who undertake the daunting task of figuring out what makes madmen tick.

At the centre of the story we still have agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and academic-turned-special agent Dr Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), but now we're in the early '80s and the show shifts focus to the psychological traumas inflicted on our protagonists by their day jobs.

WATCH | The trailer for 'Mindhunter' season 2

While we finally have the appearance of Charles Manson (Australian actor Damon Herriman, making his second appearance as the cult leader, following his performance in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood) and several interviews with notorious killers of the period, including Son of Sam aka David Berkowitz (Oliver Cooper), the second season firmly fixes its views on the effects of the job on the agents.

It's still very cerebral, slow moving and suitably draped in saturated colours and small but smart indicators of the time that's passed, but it's also the streaming service's most considered and well-executed drama series and that's definitely thanks to Fincher's dedication to the minute details.

With a serial killer on the loose in Atlanta providing the unit with the opportunity to put its research into practice, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you watching and an authenticity that's going to be hard to beat for similar shows in the future. 

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