David Fincher Reveals ‘Mindhunter’ Season 2 Premiere and the Opening That Got Cut

Charlize Theron teased in May that the long-in-the-works second season of “Mindhunter” would debut on Netflix in August, and now co-executive producer David Fincher has revealed the date: August 16. The “Gone Girl” director announced the premiere date during an interview with Elvis Mitchell on KCRW’s “The Treatment” podcast. Fincher also cleared up speculation and confirmed the Atlanta Child Murders, Charles Manson, and Son of Sam are all integral to new episodes. The filmmaker also verified the involvement of “The Assassination of Jesse James” director Andrew Dominik.

“I got a call from Andrew Dominik who had seen the first season and said, ‘I’d really like to do something with Season 2,’” Fincher said. “We brought him in. When God gives you a really great idea, take it. When we first sat down he said, ‘What is it about this world that seems so American? There is something going on here.’ I said the show is about narcissism. The show is about needing to be seen.”

The first season of “Mindhunter” was set in the late 1970s during the birth of the FBI’s criminal psychology and criminal profiling division. The newness of this investigative work confined it to the literal basement, but in “Mindhunter” Season 2 the interest in serial killers has exploded onto a national scale. What was once stuck in the basement is now driving everyday conversations, which naturally has an effect on the FBI agents.

“In the 70s, post-Manson, post-Son of Sam, post-Zodiac, there really was, I don’t think you can say it was an epidemic, but there was definitely the feeling that the notion of this has gotten away from us,” Fincher said about the atmosphere of Season 2. “There was this transition. I remember it happening with Son of Sam. When I left the Bay Area in the mid 1970s and our parents moved to Oregon, you go 300 miles north and nobody talked about Zodiac. It had been this festering thing that had never been brought to any kind of closure but no one cared about it [outside of the Bay Area]. Then Son of Sam came, and it was Newsweek and Time, the cover.”

Fincher continued, “I remember conversations at the family dinner table about Son of Sam. We didn’t have those conversations about Zodiac, granted I was in the second grade and it was probably too distressing to talk about this stuff. But when I was a teenager these conversations were had out in the open.”


Patrick Harbron/Netflix

According to Fincher, “Mindhunter” Season 2 will involve behavioral analysis as it makes its way to the front lines of police work. The Atlanta Child Murders, a series of killings that took place between 1979 and 1981 and left 28 African-American children, teenagers, and adults dead, is the driving narrative in the new season. For this reason, Wayne Williams plays a significant role. Williams is currently serving life imprisonment for the deaths of two Atlanta men in 1981 and police believe he was responsible for 23 of the murders. Fincher teased Season 2 picks up in the back half of the investigation as the FBI is called in to Georgia.

“You could probably do three seasons on the Atlanta Child Murders,” Fincher said. “It’s a huge and sweeping and tragic story. We couldn’t do it justice in the background of our nine hours. We had to choose to dramatize. … [Tthe FBI] are the last guys in, they’re trying to help out something that has its own momentum and politics. It’s a divided battlefield. They’re coming in to throw this federal umbrella over everything to make everyone feel OK about sharing information.”

Fincher wouldn’t give away any more details about the new season, although he did drop some information on the original “Mindhunter” Season 2 opening that was cut from the script and reshaped. The new season was going to begin at a house near a lake and depict a man pleasuring himself with autoerotic asphyxiation. Alas, that’s not the opening viewers will see when the show debuts.

“Mindhunter” Season 2 begins August 16 on Netflix.

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