David Fincher approached HBO with the series in 2013. He recalled that they weren't interested in a show about "two white guys in suits" chasing serial killers. The following year, the first season of True Detective (2014) premiered.
In October 2017, Slate reported that Twitter is full of people who mistakenly believe that the actress playing Wendy Carr is Carrie Coon, when in fact Carr is played by Anna Torv. This happened so often that Coon started directly replying to and correcting followers on Twitter who complimented her on her Mindhunter performance, and she also changed her official Twitter bio to read, "That's not me on Mindhunter."
At the end of Season 1 Episode 6, Mindhunter: Episode #1.6 (2017), the show closes with The Boomtown Rats' song, "I Don't Like Mondays" which was written by Bob Geldof after the 1979 mass shooting of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer at Grover Cleveland Elementary in San Diego, CA. The song's title is attributed to Spencer's quoted reason for the shooting: "I don't like Mondays."
While listing off infamous killers they could interview, one of the detective mentions the killer Herbert Mullin, who was actually murdering people at the exact same time and in the exact city (Santa Cruz) as Edmund Kemper, another character in this series. The two of them reigned terror for years, police actually believing that it was only one person doing the killing. When police arrested Mullin after he foolishly shot an old man in the middle of the street in front of multiple witnesses, the police thought they had caught the only killer, until 3 months later when Edmund Kemper confessed.
The prison scenes at Vacaville, CA, where Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton) is interviewed was filmed at the former Pennsylvania State Prison at Greensburg, including the exterior. The scenes with Jerry Brudos (Happy Anderson) were filmed in the same facility, in a cage specially built in the gymnasium.
A disorder matching the symptoms that Bill Tench's Son allegedly displays is called "selective mutism". Selective mutism is classified as an anxiety disorder that affects up to 0.8% of all people at some point in their lives, most commonly in school and/or social settings.
In a few scenes taking place outdoors at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA automatic weapons fire can be heard in the distance. Although this could be agents training it should also be pointed out that Quantico is also an active USMC training facility.
The reel to reel tape recorder featured in the opening credits (and later in the series) is based on the Sony TC-510-2. It is not a real recorder, but rather a prop, custom-built to an extremely high standard of finish. The portable cassette recorder later used in season 1 is a Sony TC-D5. The cassette machine used in the Quantico basement office is a Nakamichi 550 portable cassette deck.
Holt McCallany (Bill Tench) previously guest starred in the episode "Distress" (2007) of procedural drama Criminal Minds, as the episode's killer/"unsub" suffering from a severe PTSD-related break from reality. Criminal Minds, though fictional in character and story, centers around the profile-building tactics of the real modern day BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) of the FBI, the successor to the Behavioral Sciences Unit showcased in Mindhunter.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
For season 2 : There is an active serial killer being alluded to in the series. This is Dennis Rader, better known as The "BTK" Killer, who murdered ten people in Sedgwick County, Kansas between 1974 and 1991.
In one of the final scenes of S1E10, Mindhunter: Episode #1.10 (2017), Ford (Jonathan Groff) meets with Kemper (Cameron Britton) in his hospital room. Kemper stands over Ford and says, "I could kill you now, pretty easily." In reality, a similar interaction took place between Kemper and real-life agent Robert K. Ressler, who inspired the character of Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany). Ressler made arrangements to meet with Kemper for an in depth interview and the prison guards placed him alone with the killer in the cell normally reserved for inmates the night before their execution. At the end of the meeting Ressler pushed the button to summon the guard but none appeared. Kemper, noticing Ressler's nervousness, told him, "If I went ape-shit in here, you'd be in a lot of trouble, wouldn't you? I could screw your head off and place it on the table to greet the guard." Ressler, recognizing the precariousness of the situation he had allowed himself to get into by meeting Kemper all alone, fell back on the hostage negotiation techniques he helped design for the FBI and kept the psychopathic murderer talking until a guard finally arrived and removed Kemper from the cell. Kemper later claimed he was joking. Following this incident, Ressler changed the interview protocols so that no one would ever interview a subject alone in the future.
When Edmund Kemper is telling the story of the night he murdered his mother, his words are nearly exactly the same as an interview filmed and used in the 1984 documentary "Murder: No Apparent Motive", a documentary exploring the still virgin field of criminal/forensic psychology.
In one of the later episodes, Dr Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) can be heard asking: "What's in the box"?... possibly a reference to David Fincher's film Se7en (1995) where Brad Pitt's character asks the same question in the famous scene. David Fincher also directed four episodes of the first season of this series.