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SilverStormm

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Huge Criminal Minds fan here, so of course I'm going to be watching this. I liked it, though I thought some of the episodes were far better than others. Agree with mostly everyone about both the girlfriend, and Tench. One so awful, the other so amazing. Also agree that the girlfriend didn't seem to like Holden at all, so why bother with him?

Freako Kemper (also amazing) sending Holden love letters, ew.

I liked Wendy. I thought she was a strong character secure in both who she was and what she wants to do in life. I was nervous for her with the cat food. I thought she was going to get killed, leaving the window open and going back down there every night, but they didn't go there. 

Got a strong "Spencer Reid" vibe from Holden, which was tres appealing.

Also got a "Hotch" vibe from the boss. He didn't come off as a bad guy to me, just a genuine "by the book" Fed who wanted to be kept in the loop. Reminded me of Skinner from The X-Files, too.

I hope Tench gets an Emmy nom, Even if he doesn't get the statue, his work here deserves recognition.

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I wish we had known a little more about Wendy's relationship with her girlfriend, because ending it by just getting up and walking out of the bar seems a little harsh.

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She has to show up again in season 2, right?

I mean you don’t cast Lena Olin to do basically not a whole lot, I can’t see it...

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I didn’t hate Debbie.  I thought she was just a plot device but I didn’t hate her.

I don’t know how I feel about Holden, is he even capable of changing course at this point?

The whole world is his Petri dish I guess.

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So, this pilot episode is very rough to get through. I've read some of the general reviews so I'm trying to power through a few more episodes. But judging by just the pilot, it does pick up in the second half a bit, but it's still not catching my interest as of yet. And that's a shame, because I adore Jonathan Groff to no end. I think his character is fairly boring and I don't feel like there's a whole lot of range with his character yet. I know Jonathan Groff is a very capable actor, but he didn't do it for me in this pilot episode. I find Holt McCallany's Bill Trench slightly more appealing, but honestly, all the characters feel very blah. The girlfriend has some spark to her because of her witty dialogue, but it's also dialogue where I either feel like it's forced, or it's from a 1920s comedy film, with the fast talking, witty dialogue from the male and female leads (My Girl Friday, for example). Except here, it's not so fast and the dialogue is subpar with the wit. 

I don't know; I'm going to watch the second episode for sure because I really want to like this show. Also, I adore Fincher, so that's another reason for me to try to get through the series. I also like the psychological aspect. I really like shows that make you think, and I get the feeling that this will be heavy on that. 

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On 10/16/2017 at 6:21 AM, Yokosmom said:

I'm wondering whether they are going to show a certain chilling, real life event that happened between Kemper and the FBI agent.  I can't believe that they will leave it out so perhaps will show up in a later episode.  I think that Kemper is definitely the smartest man in the room in those interviews, and it shows.  

Real life comment:  I have a friend, who's husband was also around 6 foot 7, was abandoned by his father, had a horrific, abusive mother, and was very bright.  And you know what?  He somehow avoided murdering anyone or burying decapitated heads in his yard.  

That's why the human mind is so fascinating - people with the seemingly exact same backgrounds can end up completely differently.  And why psychology is interesting and helpful, but not an exact science.

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This episode was quite a bit more interesting than the pilot. I thought there were more moments that latched me on. I like Bill a lot; I think he's a fascinating character who I'll grow more intrigued by as the episodes move along, so I look forward to more about him as an individual. I'm still very iffy on Holden, but Jonathan Groff finally gave me something to work with in terms of his character. He's sloppy, he's headstrong, and he's still very much an amateur, but he's got more confidence and he's able to stand up for himself in front of the FBI Director (I presume). He's still very much irritating, but I understand him a bit better. I also still am lukewarm on the girlfriend. Again, I think she has a spark to her, and I don't hate her nor love her. 

I thought Kemper was very creepy, so kudos to that actor. I also loved the montage. I didn't know if I did at first, but I really got into it. It was fascinating to watch and I found myself going back to watch it again. 

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The FBI didn't care about Holden's lie until Agent Smith mailed them the tape, forcing the protocols into place.  We are talking about an agency connected to a government not far removed from a bombing campaign in Cambodia that killed thousands of civilians and was a catalyst in a genocide that killed 20% of a nation's population.  They were laughing at the situation until someone forced them into action.

This show reminded me of Plato's allegory of the cave, in that everyone except Holden and the serial killers are incapable of seeing beyond the comfortable parameters dictated by the construct of a seventies mentality where many viewed the Bradys and the Waltons without the slightest hint of irony.  They cannot yet imagine the scope of abuse in an institution such as the Catholic Church, so of course they cannot see that this tickling is anything other than harmless child's play.  Wendy is a brilliant woman who comes across at first as somewhat daring because she is brave enough to be gay at a time when it was much more difficult, but she like the FBI is mired in the conventionality of her systematic approach.  This what I thought her reaction to the tuna was about, she performs her experiments but may not like to really look at the true nature of the data.  Similarly, Tench seems to be playing a perfectly decent man, and many here have praised the flawed "realness" of his character, but he is also like the others very limited in spite of his relatively liberal mind for that time, completely sublimating his issues with his wife and his autistic child by playing the cliched role of that time of the distant father who buried himself in his work and golfing.  He can see that the distant father is a consistent trope in the development of a serial killer's rage, yet somehow he cannot apply this lesson to himself.  

Ultimately, even bright,, intuitive Debbie cannot accept this version of Holden that has been molded by his epiphanies although it is unclear whether this was caused by the distance formed by Holden's metamorphosis or the actual change itself.  Remember that Holden is the one who allows the work to come into their bedroom when he becomes distracted by her clothing after dealing with Brudos.  Instead of communicating his confusion over the issue with her, he creates a separation... which leads to her dalliance with the grad student.  At this point, we only see Debbie through Holden's POV and she has become a subject, rather than a person in his mind.  He doesn't even bother to fully communicate with her during their breakup, he analyzes the data, and determines she exhibits the outward appearance of someone who wants to separate.  This of course, might be perfectly accurate, but like the chicken or the egg, we don't know at this point.

I think it is a very interesting show. where hopefully the characters are only just beginning their journeys.

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I liked this one as well. I wonder if they'll be moving up from the basement.

No resolution on the blond girl's murder - I hope they follow it up. 

I assume we'll get into Bundy at some point. His first arrest was prior to this show, I think, but there were a couple of escapes and re-arrests that went on in the 77/78 time period - and the full scope of his crimes wasn't known at that point, I think. 

Edited by Clanstarling
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I was also pleased when the elderly women/dog killing case was actually solved halfway through this episode, instead of having some predictable twist of them not catching the right guy.

I really do like the ongoing partnership between Holden and Bill. The two have enough differences to be useful on cases, but they still seem to support each other. 

So...Ed Kemper is going to be a recurring character, then? I don't hate it. I find Kemper utterly fascinating and I'm really loving the actor in this role. 

However, with Kemper possibly being around for future episodes, I wonder if the elderly women/dog killing case is truly over. 

Dr. Wendy Carr is great so far. I'm really digging Anna Torv in the role. 

Well, I'm glad I stuck it out to this episode. 

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Pretty good episode here. I like the cold opening. I don't know much about the BTK Killer, but decided to look him up as soon as it was mentioned on here. 

I'm honestly getting into the series more than I did a couple of episodes ago. I liked the scene with Holden, Debbie, and Wendy. 

It was nice to get more on Bill, but it definitely feels like the show's building up to something with him. It was disheartening to hear about his son and that strained relationship. I can see why Bill might consider Holden like a son, and also why he has trouble expressing that to him, especially after the car wreck. 

I also loved the end scene with them smiling in the elevator. I don't think we've really seen Holden smile, even with Debbie. 

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I don't know how they made a show where a character shoots his head off in the first 5 minutes dull. But they managed. This sort of show is usually my jam, too, so I'm surprised how much I did not enjoy it. 

I'll give it a couple more episodes based on the comments here, though, in the hopes that it will pick up. 

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I'm always glad when I recognize lesser known actors, so when I saw the actor playing Frank (Jesse C Boyd), I got a huge grin on my face, even when I realized he was not playing a good guy.

I liked the cliffhanger of not knowing who killed Beverly Jean (boy, they made sure I wouldn't forget her name by the number of times they said it in this episode). I'd like to think Benjamin is innocent, but if he was really there, then no matter if he killed her or not, he's had some compliance. 

Frank's a creepy guy and I kind of buy Benjamin's story more than his. What is nice is that any of the stories told in this episode could be both true or fabricated. 

I loved the cop, Mark. I thought that his character was very interesting and a good foil for Bill and Holden. I love that he was the only one to even consider looking into Frank and Rose. Maybe Bill and Holden would have gotten to it, but Mark got there first, because he seemed to want to believe that Benjamin was good.

I'm also starting to get the feeling that Holden may be more interested in Wendy the more he gets to know her, while him and Debbie are starting to drift apart somewhat. I can see why; Debbie and Holden have little in common, while Holden can have conversations with Wendy about work, something he seems to be invested in first. 

However, I'd like it to not go on beyond a crush on his end. I'm growing quite fond of Debbie. 

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Aw, I thought I caught a serial killer Easter egg (or foreshadowing) with the green VW beetle appearing briefly, but Bundy's VW was beige.

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I figure the guy in the opening is the BTK killer (who killed for decades before being caught) so maybe he is supposed to show that, even with all the main characters work, these guys are still out there hunting. or maybe its a reminder that what they're doing is serious and will continue to be serious and necessary. 

I really liked this episode, the car crash made me actually jump! Its sad to see how Bill is struggling with his young son, despite the fact that he is clearly trying. I think he was awkwardly trying to tell Holden that he feels fatherly towards him, but between his dislike of talking about feelings, and Holden not being great with subtleties, it got a bit lost for the two of them. 

The growing smiles on the elevator were awesome. 

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I absolutely agree that her "question and challenge" conversation style was aggressive, condescending, and patronizing.  

- This may just have been in my world, but the 70s were a time when a lot of women were still only just learning how to push back against traditional roles. And when you're still exploring and redefining boundaries, you will sometimes overshoot the mark. I remember very clearly my brother's girlfriend at the time describing the times she had cheated on him as if it was some sort of feminist affirmation, when in fact she was just being an asshole. But at the time, as an impressionable teenage girl, I thought she was cool. So for me, Debbie's behavior resonated as accurate.  Not to say that we weren't right to challenge traditional roles and rules of behavior and say 'you don't get to tell me what to do anymore' - just that in learning how to do this, mistakes were sometimes made.  I saw a lot of excesses back then having to do with reverse sexism. Like I said, a lot of us were still learning.

- Also, kudos for being one of the few shows set in the 70s (the Deuce is another) that understands Disco was not the only music back then. Yes, by the end of the decade, everyone and their brother was dabbling with music that at least nodded in the general direction of Disco. But most shows, movies, and dance clips I've seen seem to think that John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever was the only thing happening musically. Trust me, it wasn't. This show seems to get it all in a spectacular way, from the sublime (Bowie and Talking Heads) to the pure Velveeta (Atlanta Rhythm Section.)

- And I've long admired Holt McCallany - I think the chemistry between he and Groff is great and I'm hoping that for next season, that Ford, Tench and Carr learn to better work together, using each of their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. Still not sure how I feel about Smith - I mean, hard to fault a person for having ethics, but on the other hand, no one likes a narc.

- Speaking of ethics - how refreshing is it to see the gruff boss they're constantly butting heads with being the ethical one who may very well know what he's talking about sometimes? Usually when people have a boss, and especially when the boss is played by Cotter Smith, the boss is a full on douche-bag. Okay, so the boss here can be a little douchey, but at least they haven't made him a caricature of an incompetent shit-weasel.

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Just finished watching the series.  The ending scene with Kemper was bone chilling.  That actor had me mesmerized from his first scene.  I can take or leave the lead actor.  I thought his story arc was well done, going from a young officer with new ideas, to a very arrogant, overly confident jerk.  My favorite character by far is his partner, Bill.  The actor is excellent.  Mixed feelings on the professor.  She was very stiff, but as a retired professional woman, I can see where you would try very hard to hide all emotion, because as sure as you do, men will do exactly what they did on the show and discount you as “emotional”. It was a different time and attitudes are slow to change, no matter how well you do your job.  The sex scenes between Holden and Debbie were jarring to me mixed in with all the serial killer stuff.  I’m not sure what I am supposed to take away from that, but just yuck.  I guess someone had to get naked.  Very much looking forward to the next season.  

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I kind of loved this.  I thought the pilot was a bit of mess but the rest was impressive.

I was a big Fringe fan so I'm familiar with Anna Torv.  I remember her receiving some of the same criticisms she's receiving here when Fringe debuted.   She's playing a very similar character here.  All business, no fun type of character.   As anyone who's watched Fringe knows opinions changed when Torv played her doppleganger on Fringe which was a much different character than her main character.  Anna did it before Tatiana Maslany on Orphan Black.     

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Well now, same actors playing different roles (same face, different personality) have been around since film did Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde if not before.  So, one on one is not unusual.  I'd love to give Ms. Torv all the credit in the world.  But, Maslany was Emmy award winning and ground breaking.  I watched all of Orphan Black and enjoyed it although I'm not a "fan" necessarily.  Maslany played not just one but an entire ensemble and carried it over five seasons in every episode.  That's an amazing feat. 

 

ETA:  Redhackle, all points well taken.  Especially about how disco wasn't the only music, and the really cool point that the "big bad boss" was actually right some of the time when making the "big picture" decisions.  By the way, I was born in 1961 in a large US uber-urban area.  So, I was a teenager in the 70s.  Also, I spent 20 years in the US military as one of the first female jet pilots.  I'm aware of the sexism and misogyny. I didn't find the girlfriend appealing at all in her responses (you quoted me, so I'm just conversing) -- yes, aggressive feminism was in vogue.  It was new and different.  (Helen Gurley Brown was just telling girls that "a little anorexia makes you powerful".  Yeah.)  So, there were good and bad sides.  I didn't like Debbie in this series set in the 70s and I wouldn't put up with her now.  I'm not sure whether it was the performance (I think that's the problem) or the writing.  The actress just couldn't overcome it.  The male actor had the benefit of massive more amounts of screen time and plotline to get his character across.

Edited by Captanne
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Captanne, I completely agree with you here - and massive kudos to you for being a jet pilot, BTW.  I was born at the end of '58 so we're close in age, so no doubt some overlap in experience, and I can't imagine that was an easy thing for anyone to attain, much less someone struggling against the preconceived notions of others about their possible limitations. Very impressive.

 I quoted you not to take issue with what you said, but more to present a differing perspective of Debbie's behavior. But you're totally right, the first episode to me was some of the most wooden acting I've ever seen. But the writing kept me coming back for more. 

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Glad that the hometown cop seemed to show some real competence at the end. Even if he looked in the direction of Frank and Rise because he hated the idea that it was Ben, he still looked at them first, and moved past his "it must have been a drifter no here could have done this" attitude. 

Ben is kind of an odd duck, but Frank is super creepy, so I think he might have been the instigator. His wife seems like a ghost practically, but I guess having a baby, a creepy husband, and covering up a murder will do that to a person. 

I really dig the acting on this show, both the main characters, supporting ones, and the one shot characters. They're not only really good, they look/act very period appropriate, if that makes sense. Obviously everyone on the show is from 2017, but they look and feel like people who could exist in the 70s. Too many period pieces have characters who seem super modern and seem out of place, and this show hasn't had that problem. 

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I will also echo that Anna Torv actually does have range (her 3-episode stint playing Leonard Nimoy's character on Fringe is priceless), but it has to be written for her to play and that's just not how Carr was penned out. Which I had no problem with, Carr almost never left the office as far as the profiling was concerned, she listened to the tapes, read the transcripts, she never had to face any of the serial killers. The emotional reaction she had was what I expected. Granted, that weaselly new guy was fairly perturbed by it at first, but as a female professional in the '70s, Carr was probably rather conditioned to not show emotions in the workplace. Being emotional would pretty much guarantee that no one would take her seriously.

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On 10/19/2017 at 6:34 PM, Lamima said:

The ending...it's based on true events. The real FBI guy was interviewing Ed in a cell when he saw the guard leave. He got nervous and pushed the help button. Ed saw this and told him that he could twist his head right off and have it sitting on the table before the guards could get in to stop him. The FBI guy frantically pushed button until guard came back and then he ran out of the cell and never went back alone. After that they made a rule that they had to always interview in pairs.

 

Wow. That sounds more suspenseful than what we got on the show.

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I went to Wikipedia to look up Edmund Kemper and was perplexed when the german wikipedia said he weighed 150kg. That didn't match with photos of him. The english Wikipedia seemed much more sensible with 113kg. So that's my first edit to Wikipedia in like a decade.

 

The show has definitely sucked me in. I'm fascinated by this kind of stuff and when it's not the real killers, but actors I can easily watch it. Interviews with real killers always give me the creeps. I don't know if it's a placebo effect, since I know they really did murder people, or if it's something about them. I think they have that weird calm about them... I liked to think nothing like that bothered me, but I think I can be honest enough now to say that it does. Took me a while to work through even a short visit with a killer in a prison.

 

On 16.10.2017 at 3:21 PM, Yokosmom said:

Real life comment:  I have a friend, who's husband was also around 6 foot 7, was abandoned by his father, had a horrific, abusive mother, and was very bright.  And you know what?  He somehow avoided murdering anyone or burying decapitated heads in his yard.  

Well I'm 6 foot 8, was abandoned by my father, had a soso mother (we have gotten a lot closer in recent years, but she wasn't exactly easy when I was younger), was horrifically bullied for years and I still didn't kill anybody... that the cops know off! *muhaha*

No, but seriously, I'm not a murderer and so aren't most people that went through some bad shit. There aren't that many serial killers around. It needs a psychopath (which as I understand is mostly genetic) and that psychopath must have gone through some very bad shit, to not just become a bank manager and fuck up the economy, but actually kill people directly.

Edited by Miles
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On 17.10.2017 at 5:54 AM, Bec said:

What I thought was especially interesting about this episode - the DA didn't think jurors would understand how all three are responsible for Beverly's death. And that's probably true. I barely understood it myself, and I'm living in a far less innocent time than they are, relatively speaking.

To be perfectly honest, he was right. Without DNA evidence (which wasn't a thing back then) all the evidence was circumstancial and they had to go with the confession. If all of them had kept their mounths shut they never would have convicted any of them. You can't just let some profilers tell a story they concocted and expect the jury to believe it.

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Yeah, it seems to be a one-two punch. The likely case is that you can have someone with psychopathic tendencies, but if they have a happy childhood, they'll go through their entire lives without killing anybody. Or you can have somebody who has a crappy childhood, but no psychopathic tendencies (and this is a very common occurrence for many people) but they also do not kill anybody. But merge those two together and you end up with some scary shit.

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54 minutes ago, Miles said:

To be perfectly honest, he was right. Without DNA evidence (which wasn't a thing back then) all the evidence was circumstancial and they had to go with the confession. If all of them had kept their mounths shut they never would have convicted any of them. You can't just let some profilers tell a story they concocted and expect the jury to believe it.

Which goes back to what Carr was saying about them not being ready. Ford was jumping the gun trying to implement what they'd learned so far, but before they had done that, they really needed to sit down and figure out how prosecutors would be able to get a jury to understand it. I mean, they pretty much have to take the psychobabble and dumb it down twice: once for the lawyers and one more time for the jury.

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I read the Douglas book (okay, everything he's ever written) and I had forgotten the Kemper comment.  Wow.  O_O  

When I read the book, I had just read everything Thomas Harris had written (up to that point it was Black Sunday, Red Dragon, and Silence of the Lambs.  "Manhunter", the Michael Mann version of Red Dragon, had just been released.  The Jonathan Demme version of SoL had yet to be made.)  So, that was a long time ago.  It may be that the timing doesn't quite work on that chronology (I'm fuzzy about when Red Dragon and SoL were actually released as books.)  Suffice to say, I was fascinated by William Peterson's "Will Graham" from Manhunter and through some quick research discovered John Douglas.

Those interested in John Douglas' life and who prefer video, please get a hold of "Citizen X" with Stephen Rea (famous for "The Crying Game".)  It's about the opening up of the USSR and the effect it had on the Soviet search for Andre Chikatilo.  (Say in Russian accent, "In Soviet Union, we don't have serial killers!")  

Also, I like Carr.  I enjoy Torv's portrayal.  I assume the two dimensionality is based on the actual person.  I read an article in which the Boston professor was the only one interviewed.  (RL Tench has passed away already and Douglas was interviewed by a third party.)  She had nothing but good things to say about her portrayal.  (If I recall correctly.  I'm old so I forget stuff.)

Edited by Captanne
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On 10/18/2017 at 9:26 AM, teddysmom said:

Wasn't sure where to put this, as Kemper was in several episodes. 

Actual interview with Ed Kemper, it's amazing how close the actor portraying him got to the real guy. His voice, mannerisms etc. It's about 50 min long but worth it. 

http://www.vulture.com/2017/10/mindhunter-who-is-ed-kemper-serial-killer.html

 

Here's a youtube video of the real Ed Kemper side-by-side with the Mindhunter version. They used a lot of his real quotes:

 

Edited by Charlesman
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On 10/16/2017 at 8:30 PM, larapu2000 said:

I liked the BTK interspersed throughout each episode, as this meticulous, clever, patient, sort of "apex" serial killer.

  Hide contents

I'm pretty sure that Douglas did profiling work on BTK but they were (obviously) unable to bring him to justice for so long.  BTK might end up being a bit of a white whale for the Holden character in the next season or two.

 

 

That may be, I think, because:

Profiling didn't solve BTK like it worked on some of the crimes we saw over the course of the first season. BTK was taunting the cops, and ended up mailing them a disk with a letter detailing his crimes saved on it. Digital forensics uncovered remnants of old files on the disk and were able to find BTK that way. Profiling didn't have much to do with it, IIRC.

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More on the real story of BTK:

Spoiler

I suppose profiling's connection with BTK would be that they would have looked at the stuff he sent in to taunt the police.

Also, his profile helped the police figure out how to respond to his messages. With help from the FBI, the police managed to make him feel like he can trust them. That's why when he asked them whether they can track him from a floppy disk, and they replied "nah, we can't track you, go ahead and send it in", he believed that reply.

He actually felt betrayed when he found out the cops lied. He was all like "I thought we had an understanding!" And the detective was like "I was trying to catch you."

Source: http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/how_the_cops_caught_btk/

17 hours ago, numbnut said:

Wow. That sounds more suspenseful than what we got on the show.

Apparently in the real story, Kemper threatened Robert Ressler, the guy Bill Tench is based off of, and he kept debating with Kemper about the pros and cons of killing him to buy himself some time for the guard to come back. That was pretty damn calm under pressure and clever of him to remember Kemper likes to talk a lot, even while he was within grabbing range of this friggin' giant musing about murdering him.

If that was the plot of a TV show, I'd be like "no way a real person would stay that cool in that situation".

Funny how the fake story in the show seems much more realistic. No impressively stoic debate, just a lot of shuddering uncontrollably. Barely able to say "I don't know." It's not what really happened, but I love what they did with it.

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In the Criminal Minds episode Damaged, Reid and Hotch become trapped with serial killer Chester Hardwick while interviewing him in prison (there's a guard shift change that takes like 12 minutes). He begins threatening them, telling them what he could do before the guards could even get there. Hotch starts removing his jacket and tie and wants to kick his ass, but Reid interrupts, saying he knows why Chester is a killer.

The narcissist in Chester keeps him listening to Reid for the entire time, and he doesn't attack. The guards burst in, and Hotch and Reid leave, when Chester asks if Reid meant what he said, Reid mumbles "I don't know, maybe" and scurries out of there.

I wonder if they took the inspiration for the scene from Kemper's behavior, or maybe Ressler's.

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Is this the one with the laundry room (getting them mixed up,sorry). Who goes to the basement laundry in an apartment building w/o pants or shoes? That just creeped me out, and I kept expecting her to get attacked. The free washing machines seemed weird to me too, but maybe that's an East Coast thing. My shared laundry in my apartment building at that time was coin operated. 

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My point was, the jury could have understood it as much as they liked. There was no evidence to back up the story. I'm not going to convict somebody of murder, even if a profiler tells me the best story in the world, if there isn't evidence to back it up.

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I think some of you are expecting a lot out of a pilot. 

Its a set up for the rest.  And I like the idea behind the show. 

As far as the sex scenes with his girlfriend, I don't think they are meant to be gratuitous.  There is a point to them.  I think its reinforcing his general naivety about the world, the kind of "babe in the woods" persona that extends not just to his professional life but also his personal life.  She seems more experienced than him, like she is a teacher to him sexually. 

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