The new season of Netflix’s hit series “Mindhunter” dropped Aug. 16, and this year the series finds FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) taking on the Atlanta child murders, which unfolded between 1979 and 1981, with 28 African Americans slaughtered in Georgia. No one has ever been charged for the murders.
According to a new feature in the Los Angeles Times, Netflix has confirmed that the “Mindhunter” team did not consult the families of the victims in the killings, two of whom feature prominently in the season — Camille Bell, the mother of nine-year-old Yusuf Bell, who was found dead in 1979, and Venus Taylor, the mother of 12-year-old Angel Lenair, who was found dead in 1980. The investigation is currently being reopened, and with the new attention the issues of racial injustice inherent to the case are coming to the forefront.
“As you know, serial killers rarely ever cross racial lines, so if you have a lot of young black boys being abducted and murdered, the chances are that you’re looking for a black killer or killers,” McCallany told the L.A. Times. “But because of the racially charged history of that part of our country, there were a lot of people who didn’t want to believe that and wanted to believe that the crimes were racially motivated. … They were very hesitant to embrace the idea that we were looking for a black perpetrator.”
The killings were also recently re-examined in the must-hear podcast “Atlanta Monster,” which in its second season has pivoted to focus on the still-unsolved Zodiac murders, made even more famous by “Mindhunter” director/executive producer David Fincher’s 2007 film.
Among the sage psychopaths to whom Holden and Bill turn for input this season are Charles Manson (Damon Herriman, who also embodies the cult killer in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) and New York serial killer David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam, played by Oliver Cooper. Also returning for the series based on the book by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker is Anna Torv as psychology professor Wendy Carr, who assists Holden and Bill in their investigations of criminal behavior. New to the cast is Albert Jones as a black FBI agent who serves as an Atlanta-based liaison.