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Why are we fascinated by serial killers?

Even though the second season of Mindhunter (Netflix) premiered in 2019, many fans still wonder if there will be further installments of the production, which followed the work of two FBI agents and a psychologist who formed the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit in the 1970s. Directed and produced by David Fincher, the series is based on the memoirs of former agent John E. Douglas and writer Mark Olshaker. Using this material, as well as many interviews with real police officers, behavioral analysis experts and even the agents who captured serial killers like Green River and Ted Bundy, British playwright and screenwriter Joe Penhall fictionalized the lives of those whose task it was to try and delve into the minds of the most dangerous criminals.

As a child, one of Penhall’s friends fell victim to a serial killer, he revealed during an interview before a masterclass he recently gave as part of Serielizados Fest, an international television series festival in Madrid. Penhall believes that was the root of his fascination with these characters, which grew wider when he was 20 years old and working as a crime reporter. That is why, when actress and producer Charlize Theron bought the rights to turn the book into a series and the project fell into his hands, his goal was to demystify both the criminals and those who try to catch them. They wanted their killers, says Penhall, to be like the ones in real life: brutal, dysfunctional, damaged and very disturbed, unlike those glamorized, Silence of the Lambs-style murderers who are charming and profound and enjoy opera and good wine. As for the good guys, they wanted people who could become confused, nervous, even frightened, instead of the usual bold and heroic cops who always know exactly what to do.


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