TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Mindhunter TV Poster Image
Parents recommend
Smart, violent crime drama explores killers' psychology.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Psychology and sociology should be used to understand what motivates individuals to commit violent crime. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Agent Ford is empathetic, intellectual; Agent Tech is seasoned but committed. 


Lots of blood, corpses, guns, snipers, kidnappings; images and scenes of gruesome torture, killings, brutal suicides. References to/images of Charles Manson and other serial killers. 


Nudity (full front and back). Crude references like "p---y"; simulated sexual acts. 


"F--k," "s--t," "p---y." 


Miller beer, other popular 1970s brands partially visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer, wine, hard liquor consumed; cigarettes, marijuana smoking visible. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mindhunter is a psychology-themed period crime drama intended for adults. It has brutal acts of violence, bloody, mutilated corpses, detailed discussions of torture and murder, as well as discussions about infamous serial killers (it's all in context, but extremely graphic). It also contains full-on nudity, simulated sex acts, drinking, cigarette and pot smoking, and cursing. It takes an interesting and entertaining look at how the study of psychology and criminal behavior is used to solve violent crimes. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhaiku78 May 8, 2020
Written byAnonymous March 14, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written bysophiaadytia May 6, 2020
The show is very gory and you see very explicit things, such as heads getting blown off etc. I personally think the acting is really bad in this show, and it ma... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bylfbear13 March 3, 2019

Though Not As Outwardly Violent As Similar Shows, Far More Unsettling

To be honest, this show was probably a little too much for me. While I've seen upwards of a dozen seasons of shows like Criminal Minds, Bones, and similar... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the book of the same title and co-produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron, MINDHUNTER is a crime series set in 1979 about two FBI agents trying to broaden criminal science by understanding the psychology behind human behavior. Special Agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is a young, somewhat sensitive hostage negotiator and training instructor who is convinced that the FBI needs to spend more time understanding why people commit violent crimes the way they do. After learning more from a sociology post-grad (played by Hannah Gross), he convinces the unit chief of the FBI National Training Academy (Cotter Smith) to send him back to school to study criminal psychology. He's recruited by Bill Tech (Holt McCallany), a special agent in the FBI's Behavior Science Unit, but despite their best efforts, they simply don't have enough knowledge to truly understand what motivates violent crime. They begin interviewing serial killers behind bars to learn more about how they think, and use what they learn to resolve open cases. Helping them with the process is Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv).

Is it any good?

This entertaining crime series takes a fictional look at how psychology and traditional investigative field work can be combined to help solve violent murders. It explores the idea that psychological profiling can reduce the number of suspects and help law enforcement understand motive. It also reveals the early misunderstandings of criminal behaviorism, as well as the stereotypes that existed about those who studied and applied it during that era. 

Full of dramatic and unsettling moments, the series is also cerebral and thought-provoking. It relies on an academic understanding of psychology, sociology, and criminal behavior to authenticate the plot. The late 1970s aesthetic applied to every aspect of the series helps keep it in context. However, it's also disturbingly violent. If you can get past this, Mindhunter is a good option for adult serial crime fans looking for a show to commit to. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about psychology. How does the study of how criminals think help law enforcement? Is this approach foolproof? Do you think the way TV and movies represent this kind of work is accurate?

  • How do shows like Mindhunter use violence to tell their stories? What potential impact can watching violent media have on a person? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love crime stories

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