Mindhunter Episode 1
Mindhunter Episode 1 Recap
In Braddock Pennsylvania FBI Special Agent Holden Ford enters a situation in which a man has taken five hostages at gunpoint. Holden attempts to talk to the man, named Cody Miller, before the police storm the building. Smith is convinced that he is invisible and demands to see his wife. Holden promises Smith that he will try and get the police and reporters to back of while he locates his wife. After the police and reporters back off Smith takes his clothes off while still holding a woman at gunpoint. He asks Holden if he sees him. Holden replies that he can see that Smith is naked and that he is cold, leading Smith to put his clothes back on and retreat into the building. Smith’s wife is brought to the scene and Holden asks her if anything happened that day that would lead her husband to do this. She tells Ford that she tried to get him sectioned days ago and that she hasn’t seen him since. She also tells Ford that Smith was talking to people that weren’t there and that he was seeing a doctor, but he wouldn’t tell her what his diagnosis was. After Ford sends the wife away he attempts to coax Smith into talking to him. When Smith realises that he won’t get to talk to his wife he tells Ford that he can’t help him and blows his head off with a shotgun.
In Fredericksburg, Virginia, Ford returns home where he discovers that some of Cody Smith’s blood is on his shirt -cuff which he tries to rinse off in a panic. The next day he goes to the FBI Academy in Quantico. While waiting to see his boss he glances at an issue of Time magazine that has the Son of Sam killer on the cover. After Holden’s boss congratulates him for avoiding further loss of life, Holden questions the effectiveness of the FBI procedures for hostage negotiations. In return he is taken out of field work and been relegated to teaching full-time at the academy. Holden uses his classes to try out the ideas that have come from the Smith situation: telling his students to listen, and try to understand the hostage taker rather than dominating him. He ends the class by stating that the goal of hostage negotiation is “no body bags”.
Holden grabs a beer with another Academy teacher that has the same ideas that he does but in a simpler form. They have a conversation about how the nature of homicide investigation has changed since the beginnings of the FBI. After his colleague leaves the bar Holden meets Debbie, a college student who studies sociology, who through a flirtatious conversation shows Holden how out of touch he is with modern culture of the 70s.
After seeing Dog Day Afternoon with Debbie Holden realises that there is a lot about human psychology that he still doesn’t understand and askes his boss to allow him to go to college to learn more of the current academic thinking. Holden argues that the FBI should use all th resources they can to understand the criminal mind. His boss agrees to the courses as long as Holden uses the opportunity for recruitment. After failing to recruit his lecturer, Holden discovers the fractured relationship between law enforcement, and the college campus culture. He then shows his own students Dog Day Afternoon to teach them how not to treat a hostage taker during a negotiation. He tells his students to always expect the complicated. Holden then meets FBI Special Agent Bill Tench who works in the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit. Tench, who is intrigued by Holden’s ideas, invites Holden to teach Road School with him: where the FBI travels to different towns and teaches police forces what the FBI knows. In Fairfield Iowa, Ford and Tench teach the local police about understanding criminal psychology. Holden explains that criminals always have a reason for what they do, and that that reason is the key to understanding them. Tench then tells Ford not to make his teaching too complicated after they are both laughed out of the police station.
Holden then tries to challenge the Iowa police’s “Old Testament” ideas about good and evil by explaining the brutal upbringing of Charles Manson, and what effect this would have had on him: arguing that circumstances affect behaviour. Bill tells Holden to know his audience after his point about Manson falls on deaf ears, after one of the detectives reveals that he was close to the Manson case. The detective, Frank McGraw, approaches them afterwards and apologises for humiliating Ford, and then asks both agents for their help on a local case in which a woman and her son were brutally murdered. After looking at the crime scene photos Ford realises that both he and Tench can’t help with the case because they don’t fully understand the crime. Ford believes that they are completely in the dark.
On the drive back, Tench tells Ford to keep his opinions to himself, whereas Ford argues that they need to find new ways to try and understand the changing nature of the murders they investigate. The episode ends with both of them silent, angry, and driving home.