"How do we get ahead of crazy, if we don't know how crazy thinks?"
Netflix's new crime-drama series, "Mindhunter," focuses on two FBI agents who choose to interview imprisoned serial killers as a way to understand how they think, why they do what they do and then they apply that information to solve ongoing cases — at a time when it was basically unheard of.
The first season, which premiered Friday the Oct. 13th, is set in 1977, during the early days of criminal psychology and profiling at the FBI.
Director and producer David Fincher ("Gone Girl," "The Social Network" and "House of Cards") and producer and Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron based the story on the true crime book, "Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit" by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaken, although a lot of liberties were taken in creating the characters.
Starring Jonathan Groff (Broadway's "Hamilton") and Holt McCallany ("Sully") as as FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench, and Anna Torv ("Fringe") as criminology psychologist Dr. Wendy Carr, "Mindhunter" stays true to the 1970s world with large headphones, old-fashioned recording devices, smoking indoors, wardrobe, now-classic vehicles and a "killer" soundtrack.
However, this isn't your typical crime show where a different case gets solved at the end of each episode like "Criminal Minds." This show is much more intellectual and delves into the very beginning of criminal profiling, and the effects it has on the FBI agents and the people closest to them.
Agent Holden Ford is a very young, smart agent in the Behavioral Science Unit, but he's shown as slightly awkward, almost to allude that something might be off. Agent Bill Tench is strong-willed and straightforward, but something's missing at home.
These characters have depth sometimes unseen to the audience, and that inexplicability is what keeps the show more than interesting.
Although not an easy show to binge — with uneven episode times anywhere from thirty-five minutes to an hour — it still keeps the viewer engaged enough to finish the series, as the agents struggle through their own lives while often traveling to interview dangerous criminals.
Actor Cameron Britton delivers a frightening portrayal of real-life serial killer, Edmund Kemper, who committed the abduction and murder of 10 women in the early 1970's. You can see the complete freedom Netflix allowed when it came to the script during these interviews. They're terrifying, and — a quick word of warning — some of them get quite graphic.
Sonny Raider portrays a mysterious ADT Security employee who's shown in several cold opens. By the season finale some viewers might be able to put the pieces together and figure out who it is.
The answer is the perfect setup for season two, which was renewed in April — six months before the first season premiered.