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Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Netflix series Mindhunter.
This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.
While delving into the first few episodes of Netflix's Mindhunter, I couldn't help but think about how much more I'd enjoy the crime series if Bunk and McNulty from The Wire were working these murder cases instead of FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany). Or gimme Columbo, rumpled trenchcoat and all? As it turns out, Mindhunter prompted a trip down memory lane with regards to the genre... usually via comparisons not to its benefit.
It's clear that -- at least to Hollywood -- FBI folks are wound just a bit tighter than your typical big-city homicide detectives. And much more humorless. I loved The Silence of the Lambs, but Jodie Foster's Clarice Starling was a no-nonsense investigator who wasn't exactly dripping with personality. And neither are Ford and Tench, who slip into time-worn tropes early on: Ford as the wide-eyed, young idealist, and Tench as the world-weary veteran.
The two are partners in the late 1970s, traveling the country and teaching crimefighting techniques to local law-enforcement agencies. Early on, Ford develops a fascination with what's deemed as a new, sinister brand of criminal: the serial killer, whose motives aren't related to revenge or personal gain. Soon, Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), a psychology professor, joins the duo, and the game is afoot.