TV

Mindhunter

The Netflix original series chronicles the origins and development of the FBI's profiling unit and its quest to identify serial murderers.

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In Mindhunter, everyone's a pervert—but that's what makes them normal.

The Netflix original series, whose second season dropped in August, chronicles the origins and development of the FBI's profiling unit and its quest to identify the serial murderers who haunted the American landscape and cultural imagination in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The investigators' goal is to learn what drives killers, to understand not just how but why they do what they do. Their primary method is to conduct extensive interviews with multiple murderers who have already been convicted.

That means lots of tense, unnerving interviews with men who, inevitably, have deeply disturbed psyches and immense psychosexual hang-ups. Most obtain sexual satisfaction from hunting down their victims or fantasizing about violence. They get off on cruelty and control.

It would be easy to imagine a version of the show that portrayed kink as a gateway to violence, a marker of a potential criminal. Yet the series goes out of its way to stress that what many of the era viewed as sexual or psychological deviancy is, in fact, relatively normal, from homosexuality to BDSM to mental illness. The investigators all have psychological hang-ups and unusual sexual proclivities of their own, some of which they're forced to carry in private shame.

Their challenge, then, is to identify what separates the violent individuals from the rest of us. The show makes it abundantly clear that simply having erotic preferences outside the mainstream—even way outside—isn't what pushes someone over that line.

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  1. So, two thumbs down.

    1. No, because Suderman’s talking out his ass.

      The show makes it abundantly clear that simply having erotic preferences outside the mainstream—especially way outside—means you’ve already stepped over A line. And might, under certain circumstances, find it easier to step over another because of this.

  2. Sadly, the FBI catches some of these people through normal investigative actions, then the profilers explain why their contribution must have helped. Explanations of what happened after all is done is of no use to people who need help now. It is why there are no super-rich economists.

    1. Exactly. This stuff is complete junk science. They have never caught anyone using it. The serial killers that have been caught have either been caught through normal investigative techniques or by dumb luck. But, these clowns show up at the press conference and give an exhibition in confirmation bias explaining how the killer’s preference for off color roses confirms all of their theories and allows them to claim responsibility for the guy’s capture.

      1. +100

      2. The original book (non fiction) by John Douglas was very impressive.
        I was like 16 when I read it though, so don’t know if my impression was simply due to youth

      3. Gladwell did a great debunking in the New Yorker a while back.
        https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/11/12/dangerous-minds

  3. Nothing like taxpayers paying for FBI agents that dont provide valuable service except guess who the bad guys are.

  4. -1000

  5. The investigators all have psychological hang-ups and unusual sexual proclivities of their own, some of which they’re forced to carry in private shame.

    I comment on Reason.

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