Season 1 Episode 1
FBI Special Agent Holden Ford is dealing with a hostage situation that is deteriorating quickly. The man holding the hostages believes that he is invisible and the local police have decided to give in to the man’s demand to see his wife. Ford is immediately worried that her presence might make matters worse. As the agent tries to reason with the man to buy some time, he takes his act to its ultimate conclusion.
Immediately, Mindhunter goes for the jugular and its dark, moody atmosphere adds a sense of tension that draws you in. The opening credits have a definite David Fincher / Se7en / American Horror Story feel to them.
Holden returns to speak to his boss about the incident and he is praised for the outcome and given the opportunity to continue teaching, a prospect Holden equates to being put out to pasture. Nevertheless, he continues to teach his fellow agents about Hostage Negotiation. As he leaves his class, Holden listens in on another lecture about David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam and asks the professor out for a drink to pick his brain on his theories about the rise in serial murders. Holden decides to go to his boss to get funding to sit in on classes about criminality.
Holden teams up with Bill Tench from the Behavioral Science Unit and he tells Holden how he uses his time with local law enforcement to learn more about criminal behavior. In order to find common ground with the cops they’re teaching, Holden decides to meet them on their level to get them interested in the psychological aspects of crime. One of the detectives working a homicide decides to go to the pair for help with a recent murder of a woman and her son.
Unfortunately, the pair aren’t equipped to offer any real help in the case and it causes tension between the new partners.
The first episode of Mindhunter is a relatively slow burn. With the exception of the first few minutes, there is a lot of conversation and exposition in the episode and that is actually a good thing. The fact that there is enough space given to the moment to let the drama win out allows the viewer to dive into the story without the specter of having to deal with unnecessary action. The performances are great, although Groff’s stilted performance as Holden can be a little tiresome. Hopefully, more facets of his personality are shown in later episodes. Overall, it was a solid premiere episode that laid the groundwork for some interesting things to come.