Netflix’s newest original show Mindhunter is the latest must-watch series on the popular streaming service which takes inspiration from real life serial killers.
Some of the best shows made for TV and film are sometimes sourced from harrowing real life events such as the infamous Red Wedding scene in Game Of Thrones and HBO’s new series The Deuce, which is based on the early boom of the adult entertainment industry in New York.
Already renewed for a second season, Mindhunter is a show set in the late 1970s that follows two FBI agents who expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder by getting uneasily close to the all-too-real serial killers.
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In the show agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench analyse the brutal and often stomach churning crimes committed by real life serial killers. If you’re looking for a True Crime surrogate before its inevitable season three return, Mindhunter should hold you down.
While the names of the detectives have been changed, the true-to-life encounters with the serial killers remain the same. And although some bits, such as Richard Speck telling Holden the eight nurses he murdered ‘it just wasn’t their night’, have been dramatised for the show, the drama is not lacking.
Here are Mindhunter’s five major, real-life serial killers and the heinous crimes they committed
Also known as the ‘Co-Ed Killer’, Kemper was found guilty of ten counts of murder, dismemberment and necrophilia.
Played by Cameron Brittle on the show, Kemper is the first accused murderer to be interviewed by Holden. He was a six-foot-nine 280lb serial killer who was found guilty of ten murders from 1964 to 1973. At the age 15, Kemper confessed to murdering his grandparents, however he was released at the age of 21 and continued on his murder spree.
In addition to murdering his mother and one of her friends he brutally took the lives of six young, female students in the Santa Cruz area.
He used various methods including shooting, stabbing, and choking. He also killed two cats, one of whom he dismembered.
The show delves into his Kemper’s childhood and the abuse he suffered from his mother but leaves out several other details from his past.
He’s currently locked up at a maximum security prison serving life.
Played by former Eastender Sam Strike, Rissell had raped and killed five women over a nine month period during 1976 before being arrested and charged. He was only 18 at the time the law eventually caught up with him, two years prior to this he had been convicted for armed robbery and rape.
Like the other serial killers in the show not much information is known about Rissell other than the crimes he’s committed.
He was eligible for parole in 1995 but remains in prison at the age of 59 in the Pocahontas State Correctional Center in Virginia.
Also known as the ‘Lust Killer’ or the ‘Salem Shoe-Fetish Killer’, the show establishes Brudos (played by Happy Anderson, who stars in next year’s New Mutants movie) developed a disturbing obsession with women’s shoes at a very young age. Prior to his murder spree he was jailed for nine months, at 17 years old, for sexual assault. However he was released after evaluations came to the conclusion he was not psychotic.
In 1968 to 1969, when he was 28, he allegedly killed at least five women. Each of the victims were young strangers who he brought back to his private garage and assaulted. Brudos dismembered several of the bodies, dressing them in clothing such as high heels, and amputated the breasts of his two victims making moulds of them to keep as trophies.
Furthermore he allegedly had sex with a least one of the bodies before disposing of it.
Initially he confessed to the murders but later recanted the statement. He was eventually convicted for three of the murders in 1969 and sent to the Oregon Department of Corrections where he died of liver cancer in 2006.
Played by Jack Erdie, Speck was a high school drop out and an alcoholic by the age of 15. He was 24 when he made his way to Chicago to look for work.
One night he got drunk and forced his way into a house where eight nursing students were staying. Speck was wielding a knife and proceeded to methodically tie-up his victims and kill them.
A ninth woman was also tied-up by Speck but she avoided being murdered when she hid underneath one of the beds, Speck reportedly forgot to kill her.
In the show, Speck finishes his interview by telling Holden aggressively the reason those women were killed was because ‘it just wasn’t their night’. This is an actual statement made by Speck but according to The Chicago Tribune it was told in a recording to a fellow inmate. Speck died in 1991, 49 years old, in prison.
Rader is seen at the start of each episode. While the series hasn’t confirmed his identity, all clues point to Rader being the BTK which stands for blind, torture, kill.
Rader (portrayed by Sonny Valicenti) was obsessed with knots and bondage, and would bind his victims before suffocating or strangling them, this is teased in the show when we see Valicenti watching TV as he ties knots over and over again. During his spree he sent letters to the police, taunting them, and at the start of one episode we see Rader mysteriously posting a letter.
Rader was arrested and convicted in 2005, killing at least ten people over the course of 20 years while residing in Wichita, Kansas. He’s currently being held at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Now at the age of 72 he’s serving a life sentence with his earliest possible release date is listed as 2180.
You can catch season one of Mindhunter on Netflix now.