Paging Paul F. Tompkins: The opportunity to remake the Mindhunter theme in your own, vaguely Henry Mancini-inspired image has arrived. Netflix has renewed its freshman crime procedural for a second season of obsessive analysis, a development it announced in an Instagram post reading, “We need to talk to more subjects.”
Given the series’ positive critical reception—we’d cite ratings, but Netflix doesn’t release those—this a mere formality, especially given executive producer David Fincher’s comments on the show’s future. Speaking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette back in October, Fincher said, “We outlined five seasons for Netflix. We know the scene [the series] ends on, where the target is.”
In an interview with Billboard a week later, Fincher let slip that the second season will cover the Atlanta Child Murders that resulted in the deaths of 29 people—most, but not all, children, and all of them African-American—between 1979 and 1981. The FBI’s official information page about the case offers up at least one highly cinematic moment:
On May 22, a big break came in the case. One of the groups conducting surveillance—consisting of an FBI agent, an Atlanta police officer, and two police cadets—heard a loud splash around 2:52 a.m. A car sped across the bridge, turned around in a parking lot on the other side, and sped back across the bridge. The vehicle was pursued and stopped. The driver was a 23-year-old African-American freelance photographer named Wayne Williams.
Williams was convicted of two of the killings in February 1982, and the task force assigned to the case later said there was enough evidence to link him to at least 20 more. But, as we pointed out in our roundtable on the Mindhunter season one finale, unless the show significantly changes its format for season two, more than one killer is likely to be featured.
On that note, serial killers interviewed by John E. Douglas—the real-life FBI agent who inspired the character of Special Agent Holden Ford on the show—who didn’t appear in season one include David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Donald Harvey, and Joseph Paul Franklin. Douglas also interviewed several high-profile assassins, including would-be Gerald Ford assassins Sara Jane Moore and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Martin Luther King, Jr.assassin James Earl Ray, and Robert Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan.