6. The actors consciously sought out the characters’ depth
The show’s realism was vital, but so was creating characters who made sense as complex human beings. It’s easy to peg Mindhunter’s protagonists as buddy-cop archetypes—Holden is young and idealistic, while Bill is a cynical, grizzled vet—both characters have more to them than those first impressions.
“All of the characters have depth and layers,” McCallany says. “It’s not very interesting to just be the gruff, dismissive, old-school detective that Bill seems to be at first. You start to understand that maybe because of the bureaucracy of the FBI, and because of the problems he has in his domestic life, he’s happier out on the road. He plays some golf, consults, and helps out when he can. But when Holden comes into [Bill’s] life, and has this very innovative idea, although Bill’s resistant at first, the moment that [Bill] recognizes that Holden’s really onto something—which is in the interview with Ed Kemper—he gets very excited too. That’s a kind of very pivotal moment for Bill. The truth is, he is a good detective and that he does love the work. He just needed to be reminded of it.”
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