Ever since Netflix unveiled its handy new "Skip Intro" feature, it's likely you haven't seen the opening credits of a TV show in months. Yet if you're an exceptionally patient person and decided to watch Mindhunter's opening credits, then you were probably jarred by its flashes of decaying bodies and gory images.
The photos never stay on screen long enough for the viewer to get a good glimpse of what they are. Combined with the eerie, sparse piano theme music, the opening credits' photos set a fitting tone for the show. Mindhunter is going to give you a jolt, just like those photos did.
So what's actually depicted in these brief flashes? They go by too quickly to give a lasting impression. Thankfully, one very committed Twitter user compiled the photos into a collage, so you can take a close peek (if you have the stomach for it).
Here's what we know, thanks to the montage. There are 25 photos in total, which remain consistent every episode. Each photo depicts a different segment of a woman's decaying body – her gaping mouth, her glazed-over eyes, the wounds on her back. We don't know the dead woman's identity.
Perhaps the victim's anonymity is the point of the opening credits. The members of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) — Tench (Holy McCallany) and Holden (Jonathan Groff) — frequently receive photos of bodies from police precincts around the country seeking their expertise. Through studying the corpses, Holden and Tench extrapolate details about the potential killer. By learning the killer's methods, they learn his motivations.
Holden perceives the photos as a trove of clues, but it's harder for Tench to repress an emotional reaction. These gruesome photos especially haunt him. Tench carries his horror home with him, quite literally. This is demonstrated at the end of episode 6, when Bill and Nancy (Stacey Roca) arrive home to find their babysitter, Julie (Jordyn DiNatale), completely distraught. Julie had found a photo of a victim underneath the Tench's son's bed. The fact that Tench spends his days looking at mutilated bodies impacts his relationship with his wife and son, and now, has scarred his teenage babysitter.
Judging by the way she scurries out of the Tench household, the coltish babysitter clearly has been altered by her exposure to such violent imagery. Yet we're being inundated with it even before the show begins. Perhaps we're more accustomed to violence than the trembling babysitter is — after all, we're willingly watching a show about serial killers.
Even if we don't flinch like Julie does, these credits are meant to shock us, and to warn us. What you're about to see will contain violence against woman. And isn't that true? In each instance of violence we've seen in Mindhunter, the victim has been a young woman. The crimes are motivated by the killers' distorted relationships with the women in their lives, or their sex-related hang-ups.
Essentially, the woman shown in the credits could be any and all of the victims mentioned in Mindhunter. For the killers on this show, women aren't individual human beings who deserve to live. Women are objects of scorn, violence, fascination, and sexual frustration, easily overpowered and easily disposable. The opening credit sequence is a harrowing reminder of women's places in the imagination of some Mindhunter characters.
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