The True Stories Behind The Serial Killers Mentioned In Mindhunter

No one knows serial killers like John Douglas does. While working for the FBI’s Investigative Support Bureau, Douglas forged the art of psychological profiling to grapple with a wave of inexplicable, seemingly unmotivated serial killings. Douglas, the inspiration for Jack Crawford of The Silence of the Lambs, approached solving crimes by “thinking like a criminal," and deriving conclusions about suspects' personalities through crime zone observations. He also interviewed many convicted killers to build in-depth profiles, which he used to track other killers.
Mindhunter, a David Fincher-directed drama premiering Friday on Netflix, brings us into this world of deep psychological investigations of serial killers. Though the series is based on Douglas and Mark Olshaker's book, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Serial Killer Crime Unit, it introduces an entirely new set of characters — two agents (Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany) and a psychologist (Anna Torv).
Here are the serial killers that are mentioned in Mindhunter, as well as the real serial killers that Douglas worked with, or helped catch, over the course of his career.
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