Mindhunter, the drama, begins in 1977, a man with a rifle is holding hostages at a factory, demanding to see his wife. Reporters, snipers, and other police officers watch events unfold. The lead officer makes demands via a bull horn trying to get the man to give up and lay down is rife. Soon hostage negotiator Holden Ford arrives immediately he allows his voice to carry and speaks to the suspect calmly and assuredly. Ford believes this will in time get the suspect to ends things peacefully but it doesn’t- without warning the suspect puts the rifle under his chin and pulls the trigger.
Immediately Ford wonders if he and the FBI don’t actually understand the mind of a suspect as well as they think. His superior at the FBI academy assures Ford otherwise. However, he can’t stop thinking and re-analyzing what he knows then he hears another agent giving a talk about how criminals are no longer fit set patterns. Ford listens in and afterward he and the agent go to a bar to talk further.
Shortly after their discussion ends, Ford meets a sociologist major working toward her PhD. Through their talk and others Ford decides to go back to university and takes several psychology and sociology courses. He then uses his new knowledge in his academy classes. This does not sit well with some of his students, his supervisor and others but Ford refuses to let go of his new thinking.
Eventually Ford meets Tench, another agent to thinks along some of the same lines as him. Together they go on the road to give talks and to learn from police officers at stations around the country. Ford thinks with Tench’s help he will finally get the answers and clarify he is looking for but by the end of the episode he finds it won’t be as easy as the thought.
The nuts and bolts of the show is spoken in a few lines from Ford’s girlfriend. She points out only when he can read his own signals and her’s better can he begin to reach his goal. And, while Mindhunter does not offer much in the way of anything new from other FBI agent profile series, one thing that does separate it is, the show lets the dialog paint the picture without the graphic horror and brutality of seeing a deadly crime dramatized.