“How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”

Netflix’s “Mindhunter” follows two FBI agents in the 1970s.  Apparently at that time, the whole concept of a serial killer was a pretty foreign concept, and the two protagonists, special agents of the FBI, take on the burden of pioneering this field.  That means interviewing serial killers and assisting local law enforcement around the country when a new killer is on the loose.  Granted, the show has a rough start–it’s slow and takes a while to get to the meat and potatoes, but by the third episode I was hooked.  You can feel David Fincher’s (“Fight Club,” “Seven,” “Gone Girl”) influence, as he directs four of the episodes and is an executive producer on the show.

Image courtesy of Netflix

“How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”  The line from Agent Ford, played by Jonathan Groff, is the backbone of the entire series. I am reminded of Sun Tzu here, “If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can win a hundred battles without jeopardy.”  He figured if you can understand the mind of an adversary, then you will be able to accurately predict where he is going to go and what he is going to do.

The FBI’s goal in today’s society is to “produce and use intelligence to protect the nation from threats and to bring to justice those who violate the law.”  You could argue, for the sake of this article, that their “enemies” are those violating the law.  The FBI agents in “Mindhunter” are desperately trying to learn and understand the worst of these enemies (serial killers), and have to delve into the deepest and most disturbing corners of their minds.  That way they can recognize the red flags of a serial killer during ongoing investigations, and they can look out for early warning signs before the killer strikes.