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Mindhunter Season 2 Is The Best Show I've Watched This Year

I liked Mindhunter season 1. A great deal of people loved it, getting a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.6 on IMDb, but I found it entertaining if not great. I thought the interviews were interesting at first, especially coming in hot with Ed Kemper, then they got too hung up on them and the series seemed like it got repetitive with less interesting murderers.

However, season 2 is very fucking fantastic. I finished it last night and can’t recommend it highly enough. Where season 1 seemed to beat a similar drum over and over, season 2 covers a variety of topics. The interviews are still there, they sit down with the likes of Charles Manson and Son of Sam, but there’s much more to this season. The show has them working the active case that put the BSU on the map for the FBI, the Atlanta Child Murders, and does a much better job at showing their personal lives and humanizing the characters. You get a firsthand look at how sympathizing with psychopaths affects them when they’re outside of The Basement.

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Where I always thought of Holden as the socially awkward wunderkind, he’s much more a person who’s affected by the pleas of the families of victims. He still refers to victims as numbers and his overall goal is definitely to prove his theory rather than ease suffering, but there’s at least a glimmer of humanity in him. Tench absolutely SHINES this season as a man torn between his work and his family who very much needs him at home. Even Dr. Carr has her storyline explored more, though she’s ultimately pretty left out of the last few episodes, but she goes from the uptight academic to someone with a far more interesting tale to tell.

What I love the most about it, though, and what I would understand if it annoys other people, is how realistic it is. I get VERY frustrated when people won’t just listen to Holden, but then I remember how psychology today is still thought of by many as something that’s fake, so I can’t imagine how it was received in the 70s. I get VERY frustrated when the families of the victims continue to pester Holden when he’s doing all he can, but then I’d be pretty pissed if my child was murdered and I wanted justice.

I love how things don’t work out perfectly all the time like they typically do in shows. Sometimes you can’t complete a wiretap in the middle of the night because it’s not an easy thing to do, sometimes racist cops destroy evidence, sometimes people are just bad cops who fall asleep or don’t know how to do their job properly, sometimes politics get in the way, and oftentimes things do not end in a perfect bow and almost everybody is disappointed. It’s annoying and had me punching my bed while watching, but real life is annoying and makes you punch your bed too.

The only thing that might get really, really difficult to take is the constant threat of the BTK Killer in the background. He’s been there since season 1, always with strange and entertaining little scenes, but REAL LIFE SPOILER ALERT the BTK Killer wasn’t caught until 2005 and at the end of season 2 we’re in 1981. Might be quite a while until we really get in the mix with him.

PS – Dr. Carr delivers one of the most RUTHLESS breakup lines I’ve ever heard.

PPS – I can’t stress enough how much Holt McCallany, Tench, CRUSHES this season. He should get an Emmy. You can’t take your eyes off him whenever he’s on screen.