- After almost 2 years, Netflix’s Mindhunter is back
- Director David Fincher outlined his intentions for the second season
- The season’s primary focus will be on the “Atlanta Child Murders”
It’s been almost 2 years, but the second season of the Netflix-produced, occasionally David-Fincher-directed Mindhunter will hit the streaming service on August 16.
Returning are our three favorite hunters, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv).
In an interview on the podcast The Treatment, Fincher outlined some of the narrative and thematic focuses of the second season, which will run for 8 episodes–two shy of the first season–meaning you’ll be able to knock this one out in a weekend. Easy. (Unless you were too creeped out to binge the first season. And if that’s the case, this season ain’t gonna make things easier for you.)
What does the new trailer tell us?
Mindhunter‘s official season 2 trailer confirms without a doubt the focus of the new season: the Atlanta Child Murders. The real-life killings began in 1979, two years after the end of Mindhunter‘s first season and the beginning to Holden Ford’s research (Ford is loosely based on real-life FBI agent John Douglas). The FBI, however, didn’t get involved in the case until 1980, after the abduction of a 7-year-old girl (the ninth victim). The killings would go on until 1981, leaving 29 dead.
The trailer shows a “missing” poster for Milton Harvey, suggesting that Mindhunter will remain close to historical details, using real victim names. The real-life Milton Harvey disappeared in 1979 and was found dead later that year. He was 14.
In the trailer, we also learn that Shepard has hired a new leader for the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit (BSU), under which Holden, Bill, and Dr. Carr conduct their research. That new leader will help Holden gain access to Charles Manson and (as evidenced in the first teaser) David Berkowitz (Son of Sam). We also know from the previous trailer that Ed Kemper will return alongside the “BTK” killer, who was seen throughout the first season.
The new trailer also teases racial tension that developed in Atlanta during the killings. Holden notes that it would be statistically unlikely for the killer to cross racial boundaries. The comment (suggesting that the killer is black and not white or KKK-affiliated as the police believed) once again turns Holden into the unlikeable, against the grain agent we love so much.
Holden’s comments, however, reflect the real-life profile that John Douglas created for the case. Douglas believed it to be impossible for the killer to move inconspicuously through predominately black communities had he been white. The detail would prove to be an essential feature of the FBI’s profile.
What did David Fincher say about the new season?
Fincher told The Treatment’s host Elvis Mitchell that season two is all about “evolution”–the evolution of the FBI being “dragged, kicking and screaming, into the present.”
Last season saw the creation of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, the real-life force self-tasked with applying contemporary techniques in psychology and sociology to the criminal mind. The season’s primary subject was the killer Ed Kemper, who murdered at least 12 people (including no less than eight young women).
In season 2, Fincher said he hoped to show an FBI still fumbling with applying these psychological techniques. Fincher noted that the season is also about “the futility of good intentions.” Perhaps he’s referring to the once-good intentions of lead character Holden Ford (played by Jonathan Groff), who over the course of the first season obsesses over Kemper to the detriment of his job, his relationship with his partner, and his own romantic relationship.
Who are the killers this season?
Fincher confirmed that the season’s major serial focus will be on the “Atlanta Child Murders,” a series of Georgian killings that lasted between 1979 and 1981. Though he maintains his innocence, Wayne Williams was arrested, tried, and convicted of the crime. The killings spawned a massive FBI investigation. So large that Fincher decided to devote Mindhunter’s entire second season to the case.
“We could probably have done 3 seasons on the Atlanta child murders,” Fincher told Mitchell. “It’s a huge and sweeping and tragic story. And we couldn’t do it justice in the background of our 9 hours.”
Alongside the Atlanta child murders, the season will also give brief treatment to Dennis Rader, the “BKT Strangler” who appears during the opening scenes of season 1. Also making appearances will be Charles Manson and Son of Sam.
Holt McCallany, who plays Ford’s partner, Bill Tench, told ScreenRant that Fincher “wants to do five years of this show. Five seasons of these characters.” If all goes well with season 2, we’re likely to not just get one or two more seasons–but three.
That’s a lot of time to figure out how crazy thinks.