4. The real-life inspiration for the show lent a helping hand
Mindhunter takes its inspiration from real-life events and people of the era, primarily drawing from the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. The character of Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is based on Douglas, the former FBI special agent and unit chief who pioneered the field of criminal profiling. McCallany said that Douglas was a constant help to the actors on the series.
“Douglas, who has become a friend of mine, was a great resource for us,” McCallany said. “He’s always very generous with his wisdom, and I send him emails and I call him and ask him questions. I went to visit him at his house in Virginia; he’s an extremely knowledgeable guy and has been very supportive of us and of the show. Even recently, after the shooting in Las Vegas, when Stephen Paddock killed 58 people, the first call I made was to John Douglas, to say: ‘Wow John, what’s your take on this?’ He also helped in getting into the mindset of not just the criminals, but the agents themselves.”
“It was a tough life,” McCallany says. “John had a complete breakdown because of the work, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. You see guys that had heart attacks, become alcoholics because of the work. I mean, it’s grim, and you’re always dealing with the victims, families of these people that have experienced this unspeakable hardship, and they’re just in anguish, and then that’s when you’re consulting, when you’re interviewing witnesses. Otherwise, you’re trying to walk in the shoes of the killer and try to understand his mentality, and walk through the whole crime scene, and say, ‘What did he do? Then what did he do?’ And going through all the grisly details, including rape, torture, murder, and you get to dismemberment, mutilation—some of these guys were into cannibalism. So if that’s what your job is every day, thinking about that, absolutely you pay a price for it. John was extremely helpful throughout the series for us.”
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