Two years ago Mindhunter premiered on Netflix and took the streaming world by storm. It had been anticipated for some time due to director David Fincher’s involvement being its initial point of intrigue. From there, the series took off, flourishing both as a prime example of Netflix’s binge model as well as an excellent entree in our culture’s recent hunger for “true crime” content. Mindhunter is the best version of both of those and as a result, it was able to catch the zeitgeist in a big way. There has been an unexpectedly lengthy wait for its follow-up season. Luckily for us, Season 2 of Mindhunter was exceedingly worth the wait.
The show returns essentially right where it left off. Holden, Bill, and Wendy are working out of the basement, along with the virtually useless and much-maligned Gregg. They seem to be working in much the same way as when we last left them, continuing to interview convicted serial killers and build their research in anticipation of working current cases as they pop up. Pickup cases they most certainly do, as things begin to escalate rather quickly. The season moves along at a rapid and thrilling clip, making it just as bingeable as its first season. At only nine episodes the season flies by and is over sooner than you may want, planting the seed of desire for a third season sooner rather than later.
Where the show excels is in its writing, direction, and acting. Yes, those are three of the most essential features of any good show, and this one manages to balance all to great effect. The dialogue between characters is nothing short of immensely engrossing, leaving the audience to hang on every word. This may be its biggest point of influence from the great David Fincher, feeling like an extension of the poignant screenplays presented in his notable masterworks like Zodiac (2007) and The Social Network (2010). Mindhunter also captures the essence of Fincher’s best work with its direction and the overall atmosphere. The second season features three directors: Fincher for the first three episodes, Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) for the middle two, and veteran TV director Carl Franklin (House of Cards and The Leftovers) for the final four episodes. The three of them combine to craft a season that feels wholly cohesive. Dominik and Franklin do a good job of carrying over Fincher’s style into their own, making the transition between them feel seamless and virtually unnoticeable.
The final point of great strength in Mindhunter comes from our characters, guided by the actors and the writing that brings them to life. As we fall back into rhythm with the show at the beginning of this new season, we are instantly reminded why we fell in love with Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) in the first place. Their relationship is the core of the show and the two of them are such rich characters that they are able to carry the story forward. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) is also given a bigger role this season, played more like a third lead for the series. This is exactly what was warranted with her character and it works wonders, her story is one of the more fascinating of the season. Albert Jones also enters the season as a sort of third fiddle to Bill and Holden, playing a local detective in Atlanta, where much of the season takes place. He does a lot to balance out the group dynamic and brings a different perspective to the case. Beyond our main team, we also see incredible condensed performances from serial killer interviews just like in the first season. Cameron Britton returns as Ed Kemper, Oliver Cooper plays David Berkowitz, and Damon Herriman reprises his role of Charles Manson from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, to name a few. Every actor seems to crush their portrayal with ease, making for some seriously intense interrogation scenes.
If you’ve been eagerly anticipating the follow-up season of Mindhunter, you need not worry, this is a continuation of the first season in all of the best ways. Not only does it continue the same style and storytelling that made the first season such an overwhelming success, but it also builds upon the characters already established, further fleshing them out and giving them incredibly intense predicaments to work through. New characters are introduced and featured in logical and rewards ways, not taking anything away from the core group of three we already love. This season also presents a remarkably compelling over-arching story to carry along the proceedings and build towards, concluding in a miraculously rewarding and thrilling final few episodes. When it comes to the “Netflix binge” and “true crime television,” you simply cannot do any better than Mindhunter Season 2.