It’s been nearly two years since Mindhunter first premiered on Netflix, and while we’re elated that Season 2 is finally here, you’d be forgiven for forgetting certain details about where things ended. Mindhunter Season 2 picks up pretty immediately after Season 1 left off, with the first episode of the second season taking place a week after the events of the Season 1 finale. Since those events have major ramifications for what occurs in Mindhunter Season 2, we’ve put together a bit of a refresher on where things left off to get you up to speed.
If for some reason you’ve forgotten the entire premise of the show, Jonathan Groff stars as FBI agent Holden Ford, who together with FBI agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) creates the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. While Season 1 found the agents traveling the country and interviewing various serial murderers in order to gather research, the FBI itself was not exactly eager to embrace this new line of thinking.
In the penultimate episode of Mindhunter Season 1, Ford and Tench interview mass murderer Richard Speck. At first, Speck is uncooperative and doesn’t look like he’ll be giving the duo any insight into his high-profile killing spree. Playing a hunch, Ford deviates from the plan and asks Speck what gave him the right to take “eight ripe cunts out of the world.” Tench looks on in horror as this is behavior unbecoming of an FBI agent, but the hunch does illicit new information from Speck—he sparks to Ford’s graphic language.
On the plane ride back home, Tench advises Ford to “lose” this particular portion of the recording, arguing that kind of tactic was uncalled for given the lack of insight Speck could provide, and fearful that Wendy and their bosses at the FBI will be displeased with the language. So once back in the office, Ford asks Gregg (Joe Tuttle) to remove that portion of the interview from the permanent transcript. Gregg obliges, but as FBI chief Shepard (Cotter Smith) and Wendy become aware of Ford’s behavior, they lay into Ford for deviating from procedure and putting the entire operation at risk. At the end of the episode, we see Gregg mailing the unedited tape to the Office of Professional Responsibility, anonymously.
In the Mindhunter Season 1 finale, the unit comes under investigation by the CPR, who has now obtained the unedited tape. Tench accuses Wendy of turning it in, and she is understandably offended. Ford, meanwhile, is interviewed by the CPR directly after he receives word that serial killer Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton) has attempted suicide and put Ford down as his emergency contact. He shows nothing but contempt for the investigators during his interview and ultimately walks out on the investigation, heading straight to see Kemper.
The Season 1 finale ends with an incredibly tense scene between Kemper and Ford, during which Kemper speaks further to his crimes, and as tensions grow, he asks Ford one question: “Why are you here, Holden?” When Ford replies “I don’t know,” Kemper responds, “Well then, that’s the truth” and moves to hug the FBI agent, which sends Ford into a severe panic attack, collapsing in the hospital hallway as his increasingly reckless and troubling behavior from the episodes prior comes flooding into his brain.
The last scenes we see in Mindhunter Season 1 are of the BTK killer, whose exploits have opened each episode prior in enigmatic fashion. We watch as he burns plans and drawings, hinting towards his elusive nature.
So that’s about it. Those are the main points you should remember from the end of Season 1 that lead directly into the new season. We won’t dare spoil what happens in Mindhunter Season 2, but trust us; you’re going to want to have this information fresh in your brain once you start up the first episode.