The reason I absolutely love 'Mindhunter' is this: I'm the kind of person who always wants to know why we know what we know. Because we DIDN'T always know. Somebody had to make a start; someone had to make that first step, that first discovery and draw that first conclusion. Somebody had to be curious, probably persistent, maybe even daring in their quest for knowledge. The history of science is littered with warriors, some of whom we now celebrate and hold in high esteem - but we have a tendency to forget that many scientists also were tragic figures who had to fight against restrictions imposed by society and risked paying a high price - professionally and personally - for their fight against ignorance. And it's those aspects of science that I find so fascinating, and it's precisely those aspects that 'Mindhunter' is interested in; not the "showy", glamorous stuff, but the meticulous groundwork and the personal human drama inherent in the quest for knowledge. And if you, like me, have a morbid curiosity for all the darker aspects of human nature, it surely doesn't hurt that the particular branch of science whose origins this show explores is that of criminal psychology: the science which tries to understand how the minds of criminals work and what causes them to commit their crimes.
As you might have guessed, 'Mindhunter' isn't concerned with shoplifters or what goes on inside the head of someone who commits insurance fraud, but rather with criminals whose behavior is a tad more serious (like, you know, murderers who have a penchant for engaging in sexual activities with their victims' severed heads - stuff like that). And it isn't a documentary either; although the characters are based on real people and the show offers a realistic portrayal of serial killers, this is a dramatized account of events made for our entertainment. And entertaining it is, and on a high artistic level at that: the performances are fantastic; cinematography, editing and direction bear the clear trademark of the master filmmaker who produced and partly directed this (though it must be said that while Fincher appears to be the creative leader, the project was brought to him by one Charlize Theron who owns the rights to the book upon which the show is based and also serves as a producer, and the excellent teleplay was predominantly written by Jennifer Haley and the show's credited creator Joe Penhall).
To sum it all up: 'Mindhunter' is a show that takes full advantage of its format; this is long form storytelling as it was meant to be, and while it probably doesn't work for people with short attention spans, the patient viewer is rewarded with a fascinating, richly layered and suspenseful drama exploring the origins of criminal psychology and criminal profiling. Excellent stuff: 8 stars out of 10.
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