David Fincher reveals how the cult-hit serial killer drama Mindhunter might have ended if Netflix hadn’t pulled the plug after the second season.
Mindhunter director David Fincher has revealed some details on how the series would have ended, teasing a conclusion to the BTK Killer storyline. Despite critical praise and a tight group of dedicated fans, the show didn’t receive the viewership deemed necessary to warrant a third season – a fate now common to Netflix series. However, as proven by shows like Sense8 and Arrested Development, that doesn’t necessarily mean the final word for Mindhunter.
Hot off a pop culture zeitgeist of serial killer-centric content, including HBO’s The Jinx and True Detective, Netflix ordered its own series on the topic. The show, directed by Fincher and created by Joe Penhall, adapted the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, which detailed the early days of the FBI’s efforts in criminal profiling. The series’ first two seasons featured fictionalized versions of real-life serial killers like Ed Kemper, David Berkowitz, and Charles Manson.
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In a recent interview with Variety, Fincher discussed the show’s fate and potential plans that were in place for hypothetical future seasons. If the show had continued, it would have covered a substantial period from its starting point in the late 1970s. According to Fincher, “The hope was to get all the way up to the late ’90s, early 2000’s, hopefully, get all the way up to people knocking on the door at Dennis Rader’s house.” Rader, also known as the BTK Killer, was arrested in 2005 for killing ten people in Kansas since 1974. He is vaguely depicted and alluded to in the first two seasons of Mindhunter.
Naturally, it’s frustrating for fans to see a favorite series cut short of its long-term narrative goals. The lackluster viewership for Mindhunter was compounded by an incredibly difficult and expensive production process for the second season, leading to Netflix’s eventual cancellation decision. Fincher said he “certainly needed some time away,” but also that “at some point I’d love to revisit it.”
For those loyal to the series, those are words of hope. Series resurrections across time and networks are always possible, and the true-crime fandom isn’t likely to wear tired of the genre anytime soon. Netflix has even had success since the premiere of Mindhunter’s first season with similarly-themed, more fictionalized content like You. Maybe one day, the full plan for Mindhunter will finally play out.
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