EDUARDO PADRINO | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST
David Fincher, the mastermind behind modern classic films such as “Fight Club,” “Gone Girl,” “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – just to name a few – is back as executive producer and featured director on the new Netflix series “Mindhunter.” A couple of years ago, Fincher played the same role for “House of Cards,” another popular Netflix show that debuted with critical acclaim and, before the recent Kevin Spacey scandal, was one of the TV series with the largest audience in 2017. This time though, we obtain a different flavor from the writers, producers and directors, with a noir-influenced approach to a crime drama.
This is not your typical “CSI” show with explosions, cliché characters and a pumping intro song by “The Who.” Instead, like most of Fincher’s work, “Mindhunter” is a slow-burner that crawls under your skin but is interesting enough to keep you engaged for the following episode. The pilot introduces us to the main character, Holden Ford, an FBI agent for hostage negotiation and an instructor on said subject, who tries to develop methods to understand serial killers’ behavior.
“Mindhunter” is based on a true crime book with the same name, on the theme of early criminal psychology. The show is set in the late ‘70s, a time in which the FBI was not looking to understand the motives behind the assassinations committed by serial killers like Charles Manson and The Zodiac Killer (a character who also inspired a film by Fincher titled “Zodiac”), instead reaching the conclusion that they were evil by nature while totally ignoring the influence of nurture and the complexity of the human mind. This show can be described as “a quest to search for motives beyond obvious impulses” as said by Ford in the pilot episode.
Overall, “Mindhunter” is a refreshing take on a crime drama. With input from big names in the entertainment industry, this show is expected to be no less than great. That being said, it is also worth-noting that this series is not for everybody. It may be difficult for some to watch a full hour of vague psychological theories; however, if you are interested in noir themes and crafty cinematography, “Mindhunter” is a perfect match for you.