WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 2 of Netflix's Mindhunter, streaming now.
Season 1 of Netflix's Mindhunter focussed heavily on Holden Ford's (Jonathan Groff) obsession with vicious serial killers, the follow-up season, set in 1978, adds a more personal touch as we get deeper insight into his teammates in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit: Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv).
As more of their family lives unfold, one of the most engaging plot threads unravels, leading Bill to make the shocking discovery that a killer exists right within the confines of his own home. It's none other than his young son, Brian (Zachary Scott Ross).
Bill's constantly away, profiling and gathering evidence for the infamous spate of Atlanta murders, when his wife, Nancy (Stacey Roca), calls him in the middle of the nine-episode season to inform him something's horribly wrong with their adopted kid.
She's been approached by cops back home who've found the corpse of a toddler in a house she was selling after becoming a realtor. As local police keep visiting her for information on who she showed the house, Brian confesses he was present with two local boys, watching them kill the baby in the basement of the place in a chilling revelation which threatens to tear the Tench family apart.
Initially, Brian admits he didn't do anything but view the incident, something his mom is glad to hear as she desperately wants to believe he's innocent. However, fans might remember that last season he was caught stealing and studying his dad's case files on some very sadistic murderers. Nancy's adamant Brian didn't do anything, though, and it appears the other boys (who aren't mentioned much due to the sensitivity of the story) corroborate he was nothing more than a bystander. Thus, Brian, being so young and not having participated in what appears to be an accidental murder, isn't charged with a crime or sent to juvenile detention.
Still, a social worker hounds the Tench family for the remainder of the season, with the family mandated to meet with a child psychiatrist weekly in order to ensure Brian isn't a threat to society. While Nancy keeps defending the boy -- as she doesn't want to be painted as a failure as a parent -- Bill spends every episode wondering if Brian is indeed on the path to becoming the kind of twisted individual he deals with on a daily basis. It's a dark yet fascinating turn, adding much-needed nuance to Bill who merely came off as a career foil for Ford last season.
What makes it all the more intriguing is that, apart from Brian wetting his bed, becoming more anti-social and not even being fazed at the site of the house where the baby died while traveling past it, there's a scary scene later on where he goes missing only for Nancy to find him unresponsive and staring at a young girl on a swing with a very demented look on his face. It's at this point she seems to accept he could have a killer streak in him, although she maintains a sense of denial in front her husband.
The murderers did tie the baby to a cross in the house at Brian's request as he felt this would resurrect the child, but following this sequence at the park, it's obvious Brian had something more to do with the death that no one's mentioning.
Sadly, by the time Bill returns home at the end of the season from Atlanta, he finds an empty house as Nancy has moved away with Brian, believing her husband's career and the town poisoned their son's mind. Now, while Bill's based on former FBI agent Robert Ressler, the agent doesn't have a son who went through this, so this arc is all fictional for the series. However, this particular killing itself is influenced by a similar one in '70s San Francisco involving two brothers, a baby and them hoping to revive the kid on a cross.
It remains to be seen if the show will pursue Brian's journey as a budding serial killer but with this creepy suggestion of him watching the girl on the swing, plus other kids and parents becoming weirded out by his behavior in public, it's apparent Brian isn't winning over anyone. And as the show illustrates, he doesn't seem to care, which will surely make Nancy's job all the more difficult, as well as Bill's, as he tries to figure out once and for all how to help his son.
Season 2 of Mindhunter is now streaming on Netflix, starring Jonathan Groff, Anna Torv, Holt McCallany and Stacey Roca.
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