True crime seems to dominate so much of the media landscape lately that every time a new show with procedural elements premieres, it feels like it could be rooted in the truth. For example, Netflix’s new series Mindhunter follows two FBI agents as they delve into the minds of serial killers to figure out how they think. But is Mindhunter based on a true story? There may be fictional elements to the series, but inspiration did come directly from real life: specifically, a true crime book by John E. Douglas called Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit.
Douglas’ book lent the show its premise and its title, as well as its main characters. Jonathan Groff’s Holden Ford is based on Douglas even though they don’t share the same name, and Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany) is based on Douglas’