“How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?” says Agent Bill Tench huskily (Holt McCallany) in defence of his colleague Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) who has secretly been faking friendship with a serial killer and necrophiliac in prison.
The new Netflix show Mindhunter gets all the blood and gore out of the way in the first five minutes to its credit, leaving the rest of the episodes for throwing around heavy ideas using slick, sophisticated lines. Mindhunter is essentially a show where perceptive men in suits exchange sharp dialogue and clash over whether listening to what psychopaths have to say is worth it. After a hostage negotiation goes wrong, Holden Ford decides to visit convict Ed Kemper; a real life, and still incarcerated serial killer, with a particularly grim backstory even by serial killer standards.
The Netflix drama is based on the bestselling book Mindhunter which was written by a former FBI agent and detailed his experiences dealing with a whole range of sociopathic criminals.
The adaptation is in the careful hands of director David Fincher who is the master of combining depraved criminals and sick murder scenes and turning them into a slick, artful and intelligent package.
This is a cerebral drama that debates big ideas and so it is fitting that Agent Holden Ford is a self-contained thinker with an enigmatic, calm exterior that conceals a razor sharp mind, played convincingly by Jonathan Groff. This is a man who discusses sociology in a bar instead of pickup lines and is so analytical that even during cunnilingus his mind is still debating right from wrong.
The result is a masterful creation, never stylised and thankfully punctuated by wit, and is never at any risk of teetering into glorification of serial killers like some crime dramas do.
We were lucky enough to get to talk to Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff about new Netflix drama Mindhunter.
During the interview they discuss filming sex scenes, how their characters built a rapport, the genesis of the phrase ‘chalk and cheese’ (it dates back to 1390 just so you know!), why audiences love the ‘serial killer’ genre so much and what we can expect from Frozen 2…