Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases.Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases.Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases.
1979. Agent Holden Ford is attached to the FBI's Behavioural Sciences Unit, headed by veteran agent Bill Tench. A new type of killer is emerging, one that kills regularly and without apparent motive. Due to the lack of motive, it is difficult to profile and apprehend the perpetrator in a murder investigation. In order to reduce this knowledge deficit, Tench and Ford set out to question incarcerated 'sequence killers' and build up a database of their backgrounds, behaviours, drivers and motives in order to make apprehending such criminals easier in future.
Brilliant drama series, largely based on a true story, with the names of the main characters changed. (Interesting fact: the true-life character Holden Ford is based on, John Douglas, was the inspiration for the character of Jack Crawford in the Hannibal books and movies.).
Well-told, showing how behavioural science evolved as a means of identifying and apprehending serial killers. Quite fascinating, especially when you consider that as recently as 1979 nothing was really known about serial killers' motives or profiles. In 1979, the expression 'serial killer' wasn't even a term! (Bill Tench's real-life character coined it).
The individual cases are quite riveting, and show the new method of profiling in action. Also shows that, like with any new, revolutionary idea, hitting upon the idea is only half the battle - convincing others, especially those you rely on to follow through on your work - in this case prosecutors, superiors, other law enforcement officers - is the other half.
Good character depth. Each of the main characters is clearly drawn and brings their personality, issues and hang-ups to the job.
On that note, the only negative aspect initially is the character of Holden Ford. I often found him irritating - cold, over-thinking, nerdy and paranoid. The episode involving the teacher was the low point of the series and a great example of the downside of Ford's personality. Maybe that's the point - what makes him brilliant also makes him a dingbat.
Season 2 isn't quite as interesting as Season 1. While S1 showed them interviewing convicted serial killers, evolving their theories and processes and building their processes, S2 largely deals with one particular case. While it is reasonably interesting, and does show some of their newly-developed techniques in action, it largely involves old-fashioned police grunt work, so is nothing new and is even dull at times. I kept feeling like the story was going in circles without developing. That's how police investigations are, I suppose, so is quite realistic. Just not that exciting.
Season 1: 9/10. Season 2: 8/10.
- Nov 10, 2018