Reviewed: Season 2 (All Episodes) | Where to Watch: Netflix
At last, David Fincher’s hard-boiled serial killer drama returns. And with it, a whole host of new serial killers for FBI Agents Ford and Tench to coyly chat murder with. Mindhunter’s eagerly awaited second season (two years!) plays like a veritable who’s who of period True Crime, taking in the Son of Sam, BTK and one Charles Manson.
The show’s big names, however, are set-dressing for a deftly-weaved A-storyline which gradually makes its importance known as the season progresses. Sure, Manson is a macabre highlight, but his appearance is surprisingly brief, and of little concern when compared with the show’s burgeoning Atlanta storyline, or Tench’s grim family woes. For once, Charlie Manson is the least important person in the room, and that makes a refreshing change.
What hasn’t changed since Season 1 is how powerful Fincher’s own hold on the audience is, playing each episode like a short but gripping version of his Zodiac. From the sound design to the period setting, everything is beautifully atmospheric and perfectly realised. For a show that shows next to no actual violence, it’s almost unbearably tense, especially during the final few episodes. This gives Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany’s Ford and Tench plenty to chew on – the latter, especially, runs away with the show’s best storyline – but does tend to leave Anna Torv out in the cold. Sidelined, both at work and by the show, her Doctor Carr has little to do but turn into a bit of an asshole, ala Season 1 Holden Ford.
Compelling as it may be, Mindhunter does not make for easy television – by its very nature, it’s frustrating and cruel, caring not a jot for resolution or conventional payoffs. As with his first season, Fincher leaves audiences desperate for more, vaguely unfulfilled but profoundly hooked. A serious contender for the best show on Netflix, there’s not nearly enough of it. As its treatment of Charlie Manson proves, less is certainly more, but let’s not wait two years until the next one, eh?