Mindhunter: The Lives of Children Matter

Mindhunter: The Lives of Children Matter

Mindhunter is a television series recently offered by Netflix, directed by a select group of directors including David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network), Asif Kapadia, Tobias Lindholm and Andrew Douglas. Based on the book Inside FBIs Elite Serial Crime Unit by Mark Olshaker and Andrew Douglas, the series tells the story of two FBI agents: Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench ( Holt McCallany), who join forces to get to the bottom of a bizarre criminal phenomenon: the profile of murderers who break all stereotypes. Set at the end of the seventies, with brilliant script writing and cinematography, Mindhunter brings together the optimal elements to become one of the most successful and controversial series of the year.

In effect, Netflix has scored again, presenting a story whose central drama is bound to strike a chord with a wide audience devoted to the genre of police suspense, giving in the current trend to deal with strongly transgressive themes. The main storyline revolves around the origin of the psychological deviations that incite criminality , all of them framed in a harsh context of family abuse. This idea is crudely captured in the first few episodes of the series with a host of jarring images, but not only for the sake to show morbid scenes. The well-constructed narrative takes the viewer down the difficult path of human psychology. The viewer is often challenged to dare to think and draw his own conclusions about the “resources” of the interior life of the human being, that is, to find the reasons for our behavior. The dialogues between Holden and Bill, both of them involved in the emerging division of the sciences of human conduct of the FBI, are also challenging. Making use of their criminalistic expertise, the investigators gradually reveal the mysterious theme of the murders in question. It is worth noting that the drama displayed in the series is intensified by the existential perplexity that the viewer is meant to experience in witnessing the realism that is projected by the criminal mind and its roots in one of the greatest existential themes: that of feeling loved.

The series is made up of ten episodes, in which both agents, Holden and Bill, grow to have an honest understanding about the criminal mind through interviews with each of the notorious murderers in the series. These criminals never fail to mention a reoccurring theme at the core of their dysphoria: family crisis. It is evident that each of these sordid figures was lacking the attention and affection of their parents throughout their lives. Without any reservations, mention is made of certain ideologies such as radical feminism, male chauvinism, drugs, sexual promiscuity, individualism, domestic violence, and the loneliness of children. The stories are disturbing, although real. Perhaps within this we can find the ulterior motive of the series: an invitation for parents to reflect on their family duties, in the midst of a society that applauds selfishness, leaving behind the classical notion of adulthood, which in essence consists of knowing how to take care of others. In the middle of this heart-breaking plot, the most difficult human dilemmas are examined and the worst version of the human being shows itself with all its cruel effects. In light of this, it is evident that cowardice and indifference cannot be options in a world that demands heroism and sacrifice of all members of society.

In conclusion, Mindhunter removes the blindfold from the viewers’ eyes and reveals major cultural and familiar tribulations, following a similar pattern of series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, In Treatment, Shameless, and Dexter, in which -Paolo Braga comments- the figure of the father as an antihero stands out, although in this case his absence in family life is exalted. Also, the series explains quite plainly, with a scientific focus, a principle that up to now had not been taken seriously: the lives of children matter.

Note : The series presents sexually explicit scenes, nudity, and harsh language.