Is Mindhunter's Holden Ford A Psychopath?

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Spoiler alert: The following post contains important details about the plot of Netflix's Mindhunter. Proceed at your own risk.

Meet Holden Ford. Played by Looking's Jonathan Groff, he's an FBI agent who teaches hostage negotiation at Quantico in Netflix's new show Mindhunter. He's obsessed with serial killers, he's idealistic, and he's more than a little dweeby.

Or is he?

Reddit user thebeginningistheend posits that Ford might be a functional psychopath. The user points out that Ford checks off a lot of boxes on the Hare psychopathy checklist. He's cunning, he's manipulative, and he's callous. And, he has a "grandiose estimation of self," not unlike that of his subjects. Serial killers tend to self-aggrandize, which you'll know if you watch the series (or are really into serial killers).

Another Reddit user pointed out that when Debbie (Hannah Gross) and Ford break up at the end of the season, Ford displays almost no empathy. User Switchcrit noted that as Debbie is breaking up with him, Ford analyzes the situation instead of reacting to it, which would be the normal, emotional thing to do.

Yet another commenter made the connection between Ford's epithet — he's the "mind hunter," in his role as criminal profiler — and the title "serial killer." Serial killers hunt their prey systematically. Ford is the same, except his prey are serial killers.

We already know that Ford is based on a real person, criminal profiler John E. Douglas. Douglas wrote Mind Hunter: Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit in 1995 and is a renowned detective. Douglas is not a serial killer or psychopath. This doesn't mean Ford isn't a psychopath. Douglas has inspired several characters in film and television, including Jack Crawford of Silence of the Lambs (1991) and the FBI profilers Jason Gideon and David Rossi in Criminal Minds. At this point, Douglas is more of an archetype than a fully-fleshed character, and creative liberties can be taken.

If Ford is indeed a psychopath, then he might become a serial killer. We already know that there's going to be a season two. In the pilot episode, Frod explains that breakups are often triggers for serial killer. The first season ends with Debbie breaking up with Ford. Oh, and there's that nervous breakdown in the finale.

Did the functioning psychopath meet his trigger? We'll have to wait until season two to find out.

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