The following contains full spoilers for Mindhunter Season 1 and zero spoilers for Mindhunter Season 2.
After almost two years, Mindhunter is finally making its way back to Netflix this weekend.
Streamers obsessed over the FBI drama when it first premiered in fall 2017, but folks diving back into Season 2 on Friday reported forgetting where exactly this tense saga left off. If you’re in that boat or altogether new to the true crime series, then we’ve got great news.
Out of the goodness of our hearts — and in no way because we also forgot nearly everything that happened in Season 1 — we’ve thrown together a quick Mindhunter refresher to jump start your weekend binge. Enjoy!
Big names to remember: Holden Ford, Bill Tench, and Wendy Carr.
Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Tench (Holt McCallany) are two FBI agents, one a wide-eyed rookie and the other a curmudgeonly pro, who are tasked with heading up a psychological study set to profile serial killers across the United States in the late 1970s. To do that, the pair visit their subjects in prison, run them through a standardized questionnaire, and then report that data back to their research partner, Professor Carr (Anna Torv).
Mindhunter is based on a true story, so the series features plenty of characters based on real-life killers, including Richard Speck (aka the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” played by Jack Erdie) and Edmund Kemper (aka the “Co-ed Killer,” played by Cameron Britton). Both play essential roles in Season 1’s final two episodes.
Wendy Carr, badass psychologist.
Image: Patrick Harbron/Netflix
The Richard Speck snafu
Despite some pushback from naysaying higher-ups in the FBI, the fledgling research team is chugging along smoothly for a good part of Season 1 — until Ford goes off book in an interview with Speck.
Frustrated with Speck’s lack of willingness to participate in the study, Ford goads Speck into talking by vilely applauding him for his murder of eight nursing students. Tench is horrified by Ford’s behavior, but it works and Speck reveals new information on the record.
Eager to get the information contextualized within the rest of the study, Ford soon hands over the pair’s recording of the interview to their hired transcriber, but asks that he not report the unscripted comment made during the interview.
The transcriber agrees to keep the unflattering moment out of the study, only to anonymously mail the unedited tape to the FBI’s ethics office scenes later. Of course, Ford is called into the ethics committee to explain himself. Meanwhile, Tench accuses Carr, who was particularly angered by the tape’s contents, of intentionally turning Ford in.
Now, the future of the study hangs in the balance.
The Edmund Kemper debacle
While being questioned about the Speck snafu, Ford is told that another subject of the study, Edmund Kemper, has attempted suicide. Throughout Season 1, Kemper and Ford forged an unusual working relationship — one that has bizarrely inspired Kemper to write Ford friendly letters and list him as an emergency contact.
Dismissive of the ethics committee’s take on his profiling tactics, Ford abruptly leaves the disciplinary meeting to go visit Kemper. Once there, however, Ford and Kemper engage in a tense back-and-forth that leaves Ford fearing he might become Kemper’s latest victim. It’s a massive wake-up call for the increasingly arrogant agent, who escapes the hospital room and subsequently collapses in the hallway mid-panic attack.
Ed Kemper and Agent Ford hangout in ‘Mindhunter’ Season 1.
Image: Merrick Morton/Netflix
That final BTK shot
While the Kemper and Ford scene is unspeakably horrifying, Mindhunter delivered one more scare before rolling the final credits on Season 1.
In the last shot of episode 10, a mysterious man — whom Mindhunter had been following via cryptic vignettes all season — is seen burning what appear to be plans for a torture device. Fan theorists and true crime aficionados believe this man to be none other than Dennis Rader, aka the BTK Killer.
Prior to the release of Season 2, Mindhunter‘s creative team declined to confirm the man’s identity, but it’s safe to assume that Ford, Tench, and Carr will cross paths with him soon.
Mindhunter Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.