So I watched Mindhunter on Netflix. (SPOILER ALERT – Seriously, I don’t know how many plot points I’m going to drop, but if you’d prefer not to have any, stop now.)
All ten episodes. Ten was a good number. I wasn’t overwhelmed and could have watched more, but, hey, that’s what next season is for, right?
I’d like to focus on one performance in particular. Holt McCallany plays one of the two main leads, Bill Tench. He’s the more seasoned special agent (that’s a nice way of saying older). And I’m wondering where he’s been all my life. Turns out, everywhere. Check out his IMDB page. Go ahead. I’ll wait. He has 78 acting credits to his name and chances are good he’s showed up in something you’ve seen before now, either on network television or in the movie theater.
Tench is the guy who goes on the road and talks to local leos about what the Bureau is teaching these days, he being from the behavioral science department. The other lead, Holden Ford played by Jonathan Groff, and he hit the road together. We’re invited into the story through Ford’s character, but I enjoyed Tench more, probably because he is older and more levelheaded. He’s seen more and is aware of what he understands and what he doesn’t. This makes him a great foil for Ford, who has no idea how in over his head he’s getting until the last episode.
McCallany’s imbues Tench with an everyman feel. He could make Tench macho with his imposing physical presence, but he doesn’t. He also lends the character a touch of sadness without going too far into morose. Tench has an adopted son of six who can talk, but won’t. Whether this is related to an early trauma (the Tenches didn’t adopt their son until he was 13 months old) or an undiagnosed case of social anxiety disorder isn’t clear. By the time things come to a head for Bill at the end of Episode 7, he realizes he may need to talk to someone about his work in a more therapeutic setting.
Overall I enjoyed the series and will watch more. Not just because I want to know what happens and I find most of it interesting when it’s not too disturbing (I have a minor in psychology from about a million years ago) but because I enjoy McCallany’s performance and want to see what happens to his character Tench.