Mindhunter is an excellent show for many reasons. From its superb cast of mostly unfamiliar faces to David Fincher’s unique visual style, the Netflix original stole countless hours from true crime fans all over the world. What kept viewers watching, however, were the interviews with real-life serial killers like Edmund Kemper, Jerry Brudos, and Richard Speck. Each of these disturbed men offered a different flavor of a damaged psyche, and Season 2 promises a new batch of psychopaths for Holden and Bill to interview. With that said, here are five serial killers with minds in desperate need of exploring.
Since the second season will revolve around the Atlanta Child Murders — a case that the real-life Holden Ford, John E. Douglas, helped solve — it only makes sense that the prime suspect will play a significant role in the narrative. If you’ve seen interviews with Wayne Williams, you know that he’s a highly intelligent individual. This will force Holden and Bill to work harder than they have on their past interrogations, with the show version of Williams effortlessly dodging their usual tactics for trapping suspects into confessions.
There’s a lot of controversy around Williams’ conviction. He maintains his innocence to this day, and even though Douglas believes he’s responsible for a good chunk of the murders, he’s not convinced that he killed all 29 victims. This conflict between Williams and Holden would put the racial tension of the case front and center and feed into the season’s central theme: prejudice.
This is how Holden gets himself back in the game after his meltdown in last year’s season finale: interviewing the Son of Sam. Since Berkowitz’s arrest was teased in the first episode as one of the reasons Holden joined the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, interviewing him would be a satisfying way to bring things full circle. Berkowitz’s introduction would mark the first appearance of a world-famous killer on the show, and boy would it be a glorious way to start the season off.
While Berkowitz has offered many different motives for the murders, it’s widely believed that they’re the same as most serial killers: a lack of success with women and abandonment issues. While this doesn’t distinguish him from most of the subjects on Mindhunter, he would be the first interviewee who became a national sensation by taunting the police. This topic would open the door to some fascinating dialogue about the nature of celebrity-status murderers.
There’s a lot of juicy trivia around this guy. While there’s only one convicted murder on his record, Bateson confessed to and is widely believed to be responsible for, slaying six other gay men. He worked as an X-ray technician at the New York University Medical Center, which is how he was able to appear in a little film called The Exorcist. You can see him creeping around in the background as an X-ray tech while Regan undergoes a medical procedure at the Center.
This factoid alone would make for a fascinating piece of conversation in Bateson’s interview, but the real meat of this storyline is in how it would affect Dr. Wendy Carr. Being a closeted lesbian, she might break her rule of not making these interviews personal if she lashes out at Bateson for his homophobic motives. Wendy’s sexual orientation surfacing during this confrontation would give the show another opportunity to touch on prejudice.
Joseph Paul Franklin
As a former member of the Ku Klux Klan who committed his murders after reading Mein Kampf, it’s no wonder Joseph Paul Franklin’s nickname was “The Racist Killer.” Most of his victims were African American and Jewish, and he admitted that his goal was to incite a race war. He even went so far as attempting to kill Hustler publisher Larry Flynt because one edition of his magazine depicted interracial sex.
Whether Franklin’s abusive childhood influenced his racist views is unknown so it would be up to Holden and Bill to dissect that topic. Another potential talking point would be Franklin’s views on the Atlanta murders since his arrest was around that time. Holden could gauge his opinion on Wayne Williams, opening up a can of worms that’s bound to shock viewers.
While Season 2 should end with Holden feeling conflicted over Wayne Williams’ fate, interviewing Charles Manson would be the pièce de résistance of the finale. This guy has been Holden’s ultimate objective from the start, and once he’s made a name for himself with the Atlanta murders, he’ll finally have the opportunity to pick the deranged cult leader’s brain. But, in an ironic twist, Manson may be too much for Holden to handle.
The show has yet to explore the mentality of cults, and Manson’s silver tongue would mess with Holden’s head in ways he couldn’t imagine. Like Joesph Paul Franklin, Manson murdered in the hopes of perpetuating an apocalyptic race war, tying back into the prejudice motif. As a bonus, interviewing him could open the door to several mini-interviews with other infamous members of his “family,” such as Tex Watson, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, and Sara Jane Moore.
Season 2 of Mindhunter doesn’t have an official release date yet, but it’s expected to drop early 2019. Ed Kemper and Dennis “the BTK Killer” Rader are confirmed to return, so if the show adds the killers on this list into the mix, we’re in for an embarrassment of riches.