One of the better Netflix original series related to police work is called “Mindhunter,” and it’s well worth checking out.
It’s the true story of the genesis of the Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI in the late 1970s.
Starring Jonathan Groff as Agent Holden Ford and Holt McCallany as Agent Bill Tench, the series tracks the creation of the special FBI unit, which is now well known, thanks to movies like “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Agent Ford, a bright and ambitious young agent, realizes that when it comes to understanding the minds of serial killers, the FBI is wildly unprepared. This was before “serial killer” was even a term used to describe monsters like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and whoever the Zodiac killer was.
Ford partners up with Bill Tench (played brilliantly by McCallany), and the two are assigned to travel the country teaching forensics and other stuff to local police departments.
Then Ford has a bright idea. Since the agents are travelling the whole country, they have an opportunity to interview and analyze the nation’s worst incarcerated serial killers.
And while the performances of the actors playing the officers are strong, there’s an argument to be made that what really makes the show are the performances of the actors playing monsters like Edmund Kemper—also known as the “co-ed killer.”
After interviewing several high-profile serial killers, Agent Ford realizes that he’s stumbled on to a gold mine, as far as learning what makes these murderers tick.
Encouraged by the early results, the agents approach Dr. Wendy Carr (played by Anna Torv), a psychologist at Boston University, to help them analyze the minds and motivations of the serial killers.
FBI higher-ups reluctantly sign off on Ford and Tench’s project after one of the best lines of the series is delivered by McCallany: “How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”
One of the best performances is put in by Cameron Britton as Edmund Kemper.
Britton did a lot of research for the role, and it clearly paid off big.
Polite, intelligent, and sometimes even collegial, Kemper was the kind of monster that not only researched how to kill people, he also studied true crime novels and police procedurals on TV to avoid getting caught.
Kemper loved attention and was always happy to give interviews, in which he would calmly describe his brutal killings the way someone else might describe a pleasant day out fishing.
Warning: The show’s obviously not appropriate for young kids, but there’s very little in the way of nudity or vulgarity.