#Series Review: Netflix’s The Mindhunter

I started watching this new series on Netflix last night, and it seems very promising based on one episode I watched, as it has an entirely different story than what I normally watch. It also seems to have depth and focuses on some important social issues.

Therefore, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is a federal agent working in the crisis team that leads negotiations in hostage situations. Accidentally, he meets Debbie Mitford (Hannah Gross), PhD candidate in Sociology who talks with him about Durkheim and his views of criminality and deviancy. This immediately triggered my attention as I do have a PhD in Sociology in hand and I read Durkheim’s work.

Holden and Debbie end up discussing how things are being done in the FBI and how they should be done, as well as the need for the Government to consult academia and academic views regardless how different these view may be.

This opened up a discussion that runs through the first episode on whether the Government should consult academia or just do their own stuff when it comes to staff training. Holden decides to take a Master in Psychology and in lectures he learns about academic classifications of criminals, which made perfect sense to him. In addition, he realizes that academic approach and academic underpinning can be useful in interrogations and hostage negotiations.

He tries to apply academic work to his teaching, as he is a teacher in training programmes in FBI and ends up being mocked. People refuse to accept academic work and this brought immediate recollection of recent statements and debates on the role of intellectuals that happened both in the UK and the US during Brexit and presidential campaign when some questioned whether we need experts anymore.

These two elections are not responsible for large anti-intellectualism in two countries, however, if these elections have done anything well it is that they have pushed the problem to the surface so we all became more aware of it. There is indeed large anti-intellectualism and this needs to be tackled, because societies that do not respect research and knowledge can only go backwards but not progress.

While nobody wants to undermine the value of practical experience, this cannot and should not ever be imposed over research and the production of knowledge. Intellectuals should then also be involved in policy making and public debates, and we should all start defending academia and the importance of studying and developing critical skills.

I’ve done fine in every practical job I ever had, and this was especially because I had a good research-informed education that developed my brain and critical thinking, which then enabled me to resolve practical problems in the work place and learn practical skills. In other words, I’ve always done well not ‘despite’ having research education but because of it.

To go back to the series, Netflix is once again not just entertaining but also doing good, just like with all other programme I commented on before, which championed diversity and the position of women.

As I progress through the series I may add an update to this blog, or write a new one so keep checking 🙂

Thank you for reading.


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