‘Mindhunter’ Star Holt McCallany Sheds Some Light on Mysterious New Netflix Thriller

McCallany promises “the most fascinating scenes” feature the serial killers

Netflix’s latest crime thriller “Mindhunter” just might surprise you, star Holt McCallany told TheWrap ahead of the series premiere this Friday.

“It’s a very unique kind of show,” McCallany said, adding that there are some scenes “that are almost like theater,” and that because of the lack of need for commercial breaks or other traditional restraints, the “narrative is really allowed to unfold at its own pace.”

When you’re doing a series as opposed to a movie or a play, there’s more time to explore a character in detail,” McCallany told TheWrap. He added that there is more time to engage his character, FBI agent Bill Tench, in different types of situations. “There’s this … luxury of knowing that the story can unfold at a different kind of a pace and you can really get to know these guys,” McCallany said. “And at the same time, get to know these great criminals.”

“Mindhunter,” based off John Douglas’ book of the same name and directed by David Fincher, follows the two agents as they delve into the inner worlds of some of the world’s most famous serial killers in the 1970s. The agents are “loosely based” on real-life agents Douglas and his partner Robert Ressler. 

“Some of the most fascinating scenes on this show, I promise you, are the interviews that Jonathan and I conduct with these incarcerated serial killers,” said McCallany, who previously worked with Fincher on “Fight Club” and “Alien 3.”

“And just to give props to the casting department, the guys that they’ve chosen have just been absolutely amazing. Every one of them is amazing. They’re all so different, but they’re all playing real people. I know people are going to really respond to those scenes.”

The first serial killer the agents meet is Edmund Kemper, also known as the “Coed Killer.”

He used to pick up hitchhikers, picking up college coeds in California, and you know, torture and rape them,” McCallany said of the killer’s disturbing behavior. “He chopped his mother’s head off and stuffed her voice box down the garbage disposal, among other things.”

It’s this disturbing, foreign behavior that makes crime shows so interesting, McCallany said.

“When you really start to go down the road of saying, what are the psychological underpinnings of sexually motivated homicide, you enter a really dark world that is foreign to us,” he said. “We don’t think like that. But these men do, and I think that’s what fascinates us, it’s because they’re so different from us. We have difficulty understanding how they do what they do.”

“What we’re really chronicling in the show is the birth of criminal profiling, and specifically serial killer profiling, which really didn’t exist,” he continued. “It was a real innovation.”

And what they found out was chilling and fascinating,” McCallany said. “And that’s really the heart and soul of the show.”

“Mindhunter” premieres Oct. 13 on Netflix.