Here are the real life serial killers who inspired Mindhunter.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to sit across from a serial killer and ask them anything you like, you need to watch Mindhunter.

Mindhunter, Netflix’s new psychological thriller, tells the story of Holden Ford (Jonathon Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), two special agents from the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) who travel around the United States interviewing the country’s worst serial killers.

The David Finch-helmed series takes us into the early days of criminal profiling, to a time before the term ‘serial killer’ was a part of our vernacular and Ted Bundy was a household name.

Ford and Tench are the first FBI agents to ever study serial killers and to look closely at why they do what they do. Throughout the series, they sit across from some of the most dangerous men in history and attempt to make sense of how their minds work.

Here are the real life serial killers who inspired the show:

Ed Kemper

mindhunter serial killers
Image via Netflix and Getty.

Ed Kemper, sometimes referred to as the "co-ed killer" is ~ for want of a better word ~ the star of the first season of Mindhunter.

It's Ford and Tench's interviews with Kemper which really inspire them to work on building up the FBI's criminal profiling knowledge.

Mindhunter's Ed Kemper is played by Cameron Britton and he's pretty similar to the real life serial killer. They're both hulking, larger-than-life figures who were more than happy to talk about their crimes.


When he was just 15 years old, Kemper killed his grandparents. He was sent to the criminally insane unit of the Atascadero State Hospital where he remained until he turned 21.

After he was released Kemper went on to kidnap, murder and defile eight co-eds between May 1972 and April 1973. He eventually turned himself in to police. Kemper is still incarcerated at the California Medical Facility.

Jerry Brudos

mindhunter serial killers
Image via Netflix and YouTube.

Serial killer Jerry Brudos appears in episodes seven and eight. Brudos is sometimes referred to as the 'lust killer' or 'the shoe-fetish killer'.

Yep, you guessed it. He had a big ole' shoe fetish.

Brudos' mother always wanted him to be a girl and this led to him developing a shoe fetish from a very young age. After Brudos abducted a woman when he was just 17 years old, he was sent to a mental institution.

The first few years after his release were crime free, Brudos settled down with a wife and two children, before embarking on a murder spree in 1968.

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While dressed up in women's clothing, Brudos killed at least four women in Oregon. He would mutilate his victims and keep some of their body parts as trophies.

Brudos died in prison in 2006.


Richard Speck

mindhunter serial killers
Image via Netflix and YouTube.

Richard Speck, portrayed by Jack Erdie in the series, was a spree killer rather than a serial killer.

On July 13, 1966, Speck tortured, raped and murdered eight nurses who worked at the South Chicago Community Hospital.

The murder spree made headlines around the world because one woman escaped and was able to describe the nightmarish event.

In the series, Ford sinks to Speck's level and says some very NSFW things which end up putting his career in jeopardy.

Speck died in 1991 of a heart attack.

Dennis Rader

mindhunter serial killers
Image via Netflix and Getty.

Dennis Rader's role in the series in subtle. He's the ADT man from Wichita who features in the opening scenes of several episodes. Rader would go on to become known as the 'BTK killer' (bind, torture, kill). He's one of the most well-known serial killers in American history, he murdered ten people between 1974 and 1991.

Rader appears in the final scene of the first season so we're guessing we'll see a lot more of him in season two.

Darrell Gene Devier

mindhunter serial killers
Image via Netflix and YouTube.

The season finale of Mindhunter was all about Darrell Gene Devier.

Devier, played by Adam Zastrow, was working as a tree-trimmer in the neighbourhood where 12-year-old Mary Frances Stoner was raped and killed.

Devier was an immediate suspect in the case and Douglas and Tench interrogated him into a confession.

Devier was executed in 1995.

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