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Mindhunter Season 2 Netflix Premiere Date, Cast And Episodes

When Mindhunter premiered on Netflix in October 2017, it was met with immediate acclaim from both critics and viewers, with Rotten Tomatoes' consensus stating that "Mindhunter distinguishes itself in a crowded genre with ambitiously cinematic visuals and a meticulous attention to character development."

Starring Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany as FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench, respectively, the series explores the early use of psychological profiling in the tracking and capture of serial killers. It's based on a book by John Douglas, a former FBI agent and profiler, who serves as the basis for Groff's character.

A month after its premiere, Mindhunter was renewed for a second season, which the show announced via its official Twitter with the simple caption, "We need to talk to more subjects." After a wait of nearly two years, Netflix is finally set to release a new batch of episodes. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming second season of Netflix's Mindhunter.

What's the release date for Mindhunter season 2?

Although Netflix announced that a second season of Mindhunter was in the works in November 2017, the actual release date would remain up in the air for another year and a half. Finally, in April 2019, Charlize Theron appeared on SiriusXM's Howard Stern Show and let it slip that Mindhunter Season 2 would hit Netflix that summer. When Stern praised the series, on which Theron serves as executive producer, she replied, "Season 2 is coming out in August." 

Without Theron, Mindhunter the series wouldn't exist as we currently know it. According to IndieWire, Theron first became familiar with John Douglas' book when she was doing research for her role as Aileen Wuornos in 2003's Monster. "I'm fascinated by books on neurology and brain development and why people are sociopaths," she said. "I bought the rights to his book... People said, 'You have never produced television.' I asked David [Fincher] to lunch and he knew about Douglas and was on board." 

In July, Fincher himself finally provided a specific date: August 16th.

What can Mindhunter's source material tell us about season 2?

John Douglas wrote Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit with his longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker. Released in 1995, Mindhunter detailed Douglas' work profiling killers, including the Atlanta child murderer, the BTK killer, and others. According to series producer Charlize Theron (via Indiewire), "This guy had an incredible life... What he does is so rare and mind-blowing."

In 2019, Douglas and Olshaker released The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter, which revisited some of Douglas' most famous cases. In an excerpt published by the New York Post, Douglas explained that despite having "many layers of subtle distinctions," hardly any killer he ever interviewed could be considered legally insane. He said they "knew right from wrong, and the nature and consequences of their actions against others."

What happened in the first season of Mindhunter?

The first season of Mindhunter focused primarily on the task of getting the FBI to accept criminal profiling as a legitimate science. Holden Ford is an up and coming agent who, despite a lack of rebelliousness in his personal life, is more than willing to push against the status quo of the Bureau. His partner Bill Tench is the typical old school veteran who plays by the book. On the advice of Dr. Wendy Carr, the agents embark on their own scientific study to learn more about repeat killers.

Throughout the first season, Ford and Tench interview a number of murders, including Edmund Kemper and Jerry Brudos. As it progresses, Ford begins to blur the line of professionalism during his interviews and finds himself getting a little too close to the men he's supposed to be studying. In anticipation of the upcoming season, Inverse put together a five-minute recap of the entire first season, which is a handy breakdown of all the episodes' major points, in case you need a refresher.

Mindhunter's returning cast members

According to Mindhunter's IMDb page, most of the series' first season cast is set to return. This includes Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany, as well as Anna Torv, who plays Dr. Wendy Carr, a psychologist based on the real life Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess, according to Screen Rant.

Cameron Britton, who plays serial killer Edmund Kemper, was initially cagey about confirming whether or not we'd be seeing the talkative murderer in the upcoming season. In a 2019 interview with Inverse, Britton's official response to being asked if he'll return to the Netflix series was "No comment." Nevertheless, he made it clear that he was interested in reprising the complex role of Kemper — a return that was eventually confirmed by the season's trailer.

Britton's heavy schedule may have something to do with his uncertainty about returning to the show. Along with his work on Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, which got its own second season renewal in April 2019, Britton has also been tapped to co-lead the second season of Spectrum Originals' Manhunt

New additions to the Mindhunter cast for season 2

In August 2018, Collider reported that Damon Herriman had been cast as Mindhunter's Charles Manson, marking the second time audiences will see the actor would portray the infamous killer on screen. Herriman has also been cast as Manson in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is set to hit theaters prior to the release of Mindhunter's sophomore season. According to Collider, Netflix came calling before Tarantino, with his work on the series reportedly being wrapped as early as July 2018.

Aside from Manson, there are a couple of other well-known serial killers Mindhunter fans can look forward to seeing this season. In an interview with Oxygen, John Douglas revealed, "They're also going to be interviewing David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam." We've yet to learn who's been cast in the role. 

According to a 2018 cast Q&A at the Vulture Festival, an unknown serial killer who kept popping up throughout the first season will be revealed to be Dennis Radar, the BTK killer. Holt McCallany told the Vulture Festival audience (via RadioTimes), "We may see more of him."

What will Mindhunter season 2 be about?

In speaking with Oxygen, John Douglas said that details surrounding the upcoming season were difficult to come by, even for him, but he did reveal that Mindhunter would feature some of his lesser-known cases, along with the high profile Charles Manson and David Berkowitz interviews. Specifically, season 2 is going to focus on the Atlanta child murders, which series creator David Fincher confirmed in an interview with Billboard about the show's musical score. "Next year we're looking at the Atlanta child murders, so we'll have a lot more African-American music which will be nice," he said.

Douglas told Oxygen that he received backlash when he first came up with his profile for the case. "I said the killer is going to be in his mid-20s and he's going to be African-American," he said. "He's going to be a police buff, which he was, he was arrested for impersonating a police officer. He's going to have a dog, a police-like dog, which was the power kind of dog back then."

The Atlanta child murders

One of John Douglas' most famous cases was that of the Atlanta child murders — in part because of the heinousness of the crimes, and in part because of how the killer seemed to be nothing like what Atlanta police had expected. Between 1979 and 1981, 24 children between ages 7 and 17 were murdered, their bodies dumped in rivers or behind dumpsters. Most of them were young boys, and all of them were black. 

According to The New York Times, many believed the killer was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and the murders were racially motivated. Douglas, however, disagreed with the assumption. In The Killer Across the Table, he wrote (via the New York Post), "First, these were not Klan-like murders; there was no symbolism, no behavior intended to intimidate or cause fear, and no signature or taking credit for the crimes." 

When 23-year-old Wayne Bertram Williams was caught, he fit Douglas' profile exactly. In 1982, Williams was convicted of killing two adults. Though he was connected to the child murders, he was never tried for them. Regardless, 22 of the cases were closed once Williams was convicted.

The real Charles Manson

While Charles Manson never physically killed any of the seven victims he was convicted of murdering, he did manage to convince an entire group of followers to do it for him. Manson was only the second killer John Douglas interviewed as part of his study, just after Edmund Kemper. Upon first meeting him, as Douglas recalled in The Killer Across the Table, Manson positioned himself in a higher "superior position," as a means of establishing a sense of leadership. "What we learned from our interview was that Manson was not a master criminal," he said. "He was a master manipulator, and he had developed that skill as a survival mechanism."

In the book Mindhunter, Douglas said that Manson wasn't looking to be a famous killer — he was just looking to be famous. "[He] had become extremely adept at sizing up the people he met and quickly determining what they could do for him," he wrote. "He would have been excellent in my unit assessing an individual's psychological strengths and weaknesses and strategizing how to get a killer we were hunting."

Who was David Berkowitz?

For a year between 1976 and 1977, David Berkowitz shot 13 people throughout New York City, killing a total of six. He went by "Son of Sam," a moniker he gave to himself in reference to a dog that belonged to a neighbor named Sam Carr. Berkowitz claimed the dog was host to a 6,000-year-old being begging for blood.

Before John Douglas interviewed Berkowitz, he had already assessed that the killer had acted out of feelings of inadequacy and resentment. In The Killer Across the Table, Douglas wrote (via the New York Post) that he once called Berkowitz out on the dog having "nothing to do with it," to which Berkowitz "laughed and nodded... and conceded that I was right."

In 2017, Berkowitz spoke with CBS News and explained that he had suffered from depression from an early age. By the time of the murders, he had gotten into "satanic stuff," explaining, "I really was opening myself up to some very dark forces."

Netflix drops the first Mindhunter season 2 teaser

Only weeks before the premiere of Mindhunter's sophomore season, Netflix finally dropped its first trailer, a one-minute teaser accompanied by the tagline "History. Pattern. Profile." Along with returning cast members Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv, the trailer confirms that Cameron Britton's Ed Kemper will in fact be coming back to the series, although his purpose this season seems to be as more of case consultant than a subject himself. "Have you got somebody, Holden?" he asks. "Someone you can't catch?"

That is the question this year, as the teaser features four separate killers and at least two open cases. As the conversation among Ford, Tench, and Kemper continues, footage shows the agents working on what is most likely the Atlanta child murders case, as well as a pretty terrifying scene involving a woman walking in on a crime (it's entirely possible that this is the work of BTK, which we've been promised more of this season). And in a couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-it clips, both Charles Manson and David Berkowitz are shown. Meanwhile, there's a brief shot of Holden in a hospital bed, likely the aftermath of his anxiety attack at the close of last season.

The full trailer for Mindhunter season 2 is even more ominous

Netflix quickly followed the brief teaser with a more substantial trailer, though it may actually raise more questions than it answers. It begins with a police narrative of a crime scene from 1974 — the fact that the Atlanta child murders didn't begin until 1979 points to this being a BTK crime scene (his first, actually), which means that Dennis Rader may have an even more prominent role this season than expected. 

We're also introduced to the new head of the Behavioral Science Unit, played by Michael Cerveris. "He wants to expand the unit, and he intends to make our approach practice" is how he's first described to the agents. That could mean good things for the BSU, or it could mean they'll have even more administrative red tape to deal with this season. Either way, he promises to deliver Manson to Holden, and he clearly delivers.

As far as the Atlanta case goes, the trailer shows that Holden will have to deal with pushback from local authorities who are convinced the killer is a member of the KKK, and it looks like it could lead to an explosive confrontation between Holden and the entire city.

How accurate is Mindhunter?

During his interview with Oxygen, John Douglas addressed the concept of "art imitating life." Although Netflix has taken some creative liberties with Mindhunter as far as its portrayal of how his onscreen character got involved with certain cases, the show's approach to interviews is spot on. So too is how the series shows the team's struggle to be seen as a legitimate field of study, according to Douglas. "The trouble in the FBI accepting us, you know, is very true," he said. "The police in the field at the time not accepting it, it's true."

One interesting part of the show for Douglas (and his wife), is Mindhunter's dramatic portrayal of their personal lives. While watching a sex scene between their two characters, she at one point asked him if it was supposed to be her. "Well, it sure as hell isn't me," he quipped.

Is Holden being set up for something sinister?

When the cast of Mindhunter attended the Vulture Festival in 2018, a certain fan theory question regarding Holden Ford's potentially dark future was posed to actor Jonathan Groff (via RadioTimes). "Everyone has said to me after they've watched the show that they thought my character was a sociopath," Groff said, adding that he had received numerous texts from his own friends wondering when his character was going to turn into an actual killer.

Groff dispelled the theory, explaining that what viewers were picking up on had less to do with being a sociopath and more so with his character's growing narcissism, which seems to mirror the self-obsessed behavior seen in the serial killers that he interviews. "It's that quality of narcissism that we're seeing in Holden that makes him appear as though he is a sociopath," Groff said. "Or maybe I'm just a sociopath and I have no idea."

How much more Mindhunter is coming?

Fans can rest assured knowing that, at least for now, Netflix's Mindhunter isn't going anywhere. In a 2019 interview with Vulture, John Douglas said he wasn't even sure where Season 2 would be headed, but he did know there would be a total of eight episodes — two shy of the show's first season. The good news? David Fincher has planned for a five-year arc. "At least five years is what they are planning," Douglas said. "That's what David Fincher asked both the actors: 'Can you give me five years here?'" 

Douglas also revealed that Jonathan Groff had taken the liberty of reading The Killer Across the Table, which suggests that Fincher has more of the show planned beyond just the contents of just the Mindhunter book. As far as Holden's future goes, however, Douglas is just as much in the dark as the rest of us. "They keep everything a secret," he said of the show's creative team. "Sometimes they will ask some questions. It's based on the book and me, but it's definitely not all me."

What's the future of Mindhunter?

Knowing that Mindhunter has at least a five-year arc planned, it's possible to throw out some guesses regarding which serial killers will be explored in future seasons. Probably the most famous case covered by Douglas that we've yet to see (and which, it seems, won't be featured in season 2) is the Green River killer. While the case itself is fairly well-known in the world of true crime — Gary Ridgeway claimed to have murdered 80 women during the '80s and '90s — it's what happened behind the scenes that makes the story so compelling.

In Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, Douglas shares the story of how he nearly died during the case: "Viral encephalitis brought on or complicated by stress and my generally weakened and vulnerable condition." He was in a coma for a week. Audiences caught a glimpse of Holden's anxiety condition in the first season finale, but it's unknown how far the show will go with it.

Other killers featured in Douglas' books that could possibly show up in future seasons include Joseph McGowan, Joseph Kondro, and Ted Bundy