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S02.E05: Episode 5

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Bill's devastating family situation spills over during his interview with Holden's holy-grail subject: Charles Manson. Wendy's new romance heats up.

Airdate: August 16, 2019

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Ooh, Gunn's a slippery little bugger.  The way he unzipped Carr's blouse just a little bit before offering her up to the budget guy was just yucky.

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6 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Ooh, Gunn's a slippery little bugger.  The way he unzipped Carr's blouse just a little bit before offering her up to the budget guy was just yucky.

That was really creepy. I wonder if this will go further. Does the FBI know she is gay? I can't remember if it was known last season or not.

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2 hours ago, HollyG said:

That was really creepy. I wonder if this will go further. Does the FBI know she is gay? I can't remember if it was known last season or not.

From what it sounds like from everyone's reactions to Wendy's "story" in the transcripts, no, she's definitely not out to the FBI. 

I've been slowly getting through these episodes, trying to absorb everything that's going on. I did enjoy this episode the most. I think the scene with Manson was spectacular, especially with his interactions with Bill.

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They didn't list Leslie Van Houten as one of Manson's group of murderers.  She was involved in the LaBianca murders only, but it seems odd they left her out.  

Tex Watson talked about Susan Atkins as a director of the murders - telling him to cut the phone wires, telling him to kill Steven Parent, etc.  Interesting when the testimony of Atkins to the grand jury was that Manson told the women to do whatever Tex told them to do.

In a previous thread, I said it was highly unlikely that the FBI wouldn't know about Holden's panic attack and hospitalization in California.  I also find it highly unlikely that no one in the Bureau would have picked up on the death of a toddler in Bill's neighborhood.  There would have been media coverage, first of the mysterious death of a child in an unoccupied home, then the fact that juveniles had been questioned/charged. 

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Who is the actor playing Tex Watson? Can't find it on IMDB or via a Google search. I know this will sound bad, but it was a joy to see Cameron Britton again. Such an amazing actor. He needs an Emmy.

Edited to add that Tex is played by Christopher Backus.

Edited by Atlanta
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They didn't list Leslie Van Houten as one of Manson's group of murderers.  She was involved in the LaBianca murders only, but it seems odd they left her out.  

They didn't mention Lynette Fromme either, I was a bit distracted that whole time like 'What about Squeaky, she is like...the biggest zealot of the lot of them.'

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All the actors playing the murderers do a great job. 

On ‎8‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 1:35 AM, Irlandesa said:

Ooh, Gunn's a slippery little bugger.  The way he unzipped Carr's blouse just a little bit before offering her up to the budget guy was just yucky.

I did not even notice that

Creepy budget slimeball......take a hint, stalker. 

Curious where they are going with the story about Brian and his involvement in the murder.  It has to be more than just to so he would have an argument with Manson about who is responsible for children committing murder. 

Also is curious......Bill you never see talk to his son about what happened or why he did it.  That is LITERALLY his job with the FBI, figuring out why people commit violent criminal acts, but on screen at least he doesn't talk to him about it. 

Maybe we assume he does offscreen and Brian just won't say.  But its odd. 

Also that has to ruin your real estate business, having a kid killed in one of your houses and your son being involved. 

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It is amazing that Bill cannot talk to his own son about what happened, and yet he can sit across from a deranged killer and not blink an eye.  I do think season one set up the relationship betwen Bill and his son pretty well - I recall Bill's sadness and frustration at his son not wanting to talk to him or hug him.  There's got to be something there, I just don't know what it is.

The scene with Bill, Ford and Kemper was so enthralling, I think I rewound and watched it five times.  When Britton as Kemper is on my screen, I cannot look away.  I also can't breathe.  I love the way they all kind of played each other during that little chat...Ford and Bill getting Kemper interested in their newest investigation, and Bill saying "okay, well, we gotta go, we got Manson now."  Then Kemper calling them back with his own inside info on Manson while Ford could barely contain himself.  So good.

And Ford standing up when Manson came in the room?  That was both brilliant and chilling.  Ford was completely awed to be in the presence of that guy.  He even offered a smile when Manson said something - almost like Ford was being lulled into Manson's world just from that one conversation.

I am trying to drag out watching these episodes but I'm not doing a very good job.

Edited by laurakaye
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Britton is Kemper is always the highlight of this show for me. 

But all the actors playing the killers do an excellent job.  ANd they showed some pictures online of the actors vs real killers, they are very close. 

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On 8/19/2019 at 3:38 AM, 1TrackMind said:

They didn't mention Lynette Fromme either, I was a bit distracted that whole time like 'What about Squeaky, she is like...the biggest zealot of the lot of them.'

Squeaky didn't kill anyone though, she "just" attempted to assassinate Ford and so I'm sure Holden didn't find her as interesting. 

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This episode almost felt like a whole season, so much happened but all I can think about is that creep actually reaching over and unzipping Wendy's shirt. What in the hell gives someone the right to think they can do that? Yes, we got Ed, Charlie and Tex in this episode and this is what's bothering me. I am spitting mad right now.

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On 8/18/2019 at 11:05 AM, Calvada said:

They didn't list Leslie Van Houten as one of Manson's group of murderers.  She was involved in the LaBianca murders only, but it seems odd they left her out.  

I thought that was really odd as well. I've always found the media obsession with the Manson girls very strange, in that Tex Watson always seems to be a footnote. He murdered the most people out of all of the family, yet he's rarely mentioned.

Another gripping episode - I just love the scenes featuring the actor who plays Kemper. I have a feeling they've been frantically trying to write extra scenes to sneak in just because he's THAT good in the role.

The actor who played Charlie Manson did an amazing job as well. This is also the same actor who briefly appears as Manson in "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood". Re: the theory that Helter Skelter was kind of hogwash - it's the premise of a new book I'm currently reading called "Chaos" by Tom O'Neil. O'Neil posits that there may have been much more going on with the Manson murders than the public was led to believe, and that Vincent Bugliosi covered things up during the trial. It does not paint a flattering picture of Bugliosi at all. It's a twisty bizarre tale - one the author isn't sure he even believes. This 50th anniversary is dredging a bunch of stuff up - must be painful for the victim's families.

I KNEW Gunn was up to no good - what a sleaze - and now as suspected, we have a clearer picture of his motives - he's just using the team to burnish his image in front of big wigs. Poor Dr. Carr (and no, she is most definitely not out to anyone at her workplace).

The Tenches are in big-time denial about their kid - Mrs. Tench especially. As mentioned above, surely someone at work would have been tipped off about the situation by now.

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4 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

I thought that was really odd as well. I've always found the media obsession with the Manson girls very strange, in that Tex Watson always seems to be a footnote. He murdered the most people out of all of the family, yet he's rarely mentioned.

Another gripping episode - I just love the scenes featuring the actor who plays Kemper. I have a feeling they've been frantically trying to write extra scenes to sneak in just because he's THAT good in the role.

The actor who played Charlie Manson did an amazing job as well. This is also the same actor who briefly appears as Manson in "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood". Re: the theory that Helter Skelter was kind of hogwash - it's the premise of a new book I'm currently reading called "Chaos" by Tom O'Neil. O'Neil posits that there may have been much more going on with the Manson murders than the public was led to believe, and that Vincent Bugliosi covered things up during the trial. It does not paint a flattering picture of Bugliosi at all. It's a twisty bizarre tale - one the author isn't sure he even believes. This 50th anniversary is dredging a bunch of stuff up - must be painful for the victim's families.

I KNEW Gunn was up to no good - what a sleaze - and now as suspected, we have a clearer picture of his motives - he's just using the team to burnish his image in front of big wigs. Poor Dr. Carr (and no, she is most definitely not out to anyone at her workplace).

The Tenches are in big-time denial about their kid - Mrs. Tench especially. As mentioned above, surely someone at work would have been tipped off about the situation by now.

Female killers, especially middle class suburban white ones, are rare, statistically, so I can understand the media fascination.  Basically what this team was interested in as well, how Manson turned them and what became their motivation

A white male killer from Texas?  Seem to be a dime a dozen, especially based on how many people Texas executes each year. 

On the note though of who they should be speaking to in terms of murderers, I don't recall from season one why it is they supposedly focus on sexual related offenders.  However, that seems like a rather narrow focus and hope that is dropped later on.  I haven't read the book but that seems to be awfully limiting in terms of their criteria of offenders.  They obviously ignored it to talk to Manson, which I think was a smart choice  You get a chance to talk with one of the most infamous and notorious criminals of the 20th century, you take the chance. 

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4 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

I thought that was really odd as well. I've always found the media obsession with the Manson girls very strange, in that Tex Watson always seems to be a footnote. He murdered the most people out of all of the family, yet he's rarely mentioned.

Another gripping episode - I just love the scenes featuring the actor who plays Kemper. I have a feeling they've been frantically trying to write extra scenes to sneak in just because he's THAT good in the role.

The actor who played Charlie Manson did an amazing job as well. This is also the same actor who briefly appears as Manson in "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood". Re: the theory that Helter Skelter was kind of hogwash - it's the premise of a new book I'm currently reading called "Chaos" by Tom O'Neil. O'Neil posits that there may have been much more going on with the Manson murders than the public was led to believe, and that Vincent Bugliosi covered things up during the trial. It does not paint a flattering picture of Bugliosi at all. It's a twisty bizarre tale - one the author isn't sure he even believes. This 50th anniversary is dredging a bunch of stuff up - must be painful for the victim's families.

I KNEW Gunn was up to no good - what a sleaze - and now as suspected, we have a clearer picture of his motives - he's just using the team to burnish his image in front of big wigs. Poor Dr. Carr (and no, she is most definitely not out to anyone at her workplace).

The Tenches are in big-time denial about their kid - Mrs. Tench especially. As mentioned above, surely someone at work would have been tipped off about the situation by now.

Why on earth would a district attorney CHOOSE something as bizarre and difficult to explain and prove in court as Helter Skelter if it wasn't the actual motive? In the book, according to Bugliosi, multiple witnesses bring it up without being asked, loads of people outside the family knew about it.  And some IN the family thought it was weird or insane,  but went along. 

There may have been other factors going on, but I feel it's pretty clear that once you meet Charlie, things that seem insane now make sense.  

I agree about Tex.  I think that also has to do with the fact that he wasn't in the first trial when all of the head shaving and face carving shenanigans happened,  so he wasn't as publicized.

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The guy playing Charles Manson is so good, he legit creeps me the hell out. He is the same guy who played Charlie in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, and he really nailed it there as well. He really manages to be both charismatic enough that you can buy people following   him and the national obsession with him, and also the nonsensical ramblings and serious case of the crazy eyes. 

Bill is obviously projecting his issues with Brian onto his cases now, especially with Manson and Corll killings. It really is an unfortunate coincidence that he just so happens to now be working with all these killings that involve seemingly normal young adults committing murders possibly under the influence of older people. 

Bill and his wife, especially his wife, are so clearly in denile about their son. He very clearly needs help, and no matter how many times she says "he didn't do anything wrong!" its clearly  not a normal kid thing to watch a child die and then put his body onto a cross. Pretending he doesn't need any help isn't helping anyone, especially Brian.

Gunn is showing his real scumbag roots, pulling Dr. Carrs blouse down to show her off to that creep, what an asshole. I dont think she has ever been more happy to see Holden in her whole life!

As creepy as he is, its always a perverse treat to see Kemper, he is just so riveting in his creepiness. It was kind of darkly hilarious listening to him kind of shit talk Charlie as a poser, and that they should talk to Tex if they want to talk to a killer. I think my favorite bit was  when he said they were basing all of their information on "killers that you actually caught". Holden looked actually shaken thinking about that.

Edited by tennisgurl
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7 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

I thought that was really odd as well. I've always found the media obsession with the Manson girls very strange, in that Tex Watson always seems to be a footnote. He murdered the most people out of all of the family, yet he's rarely mentioned.

2 hours ago, DrSpaceman said:

Female killers, especially middle class suburban white ones, are rare, statistically, so I can understand the media fascination.  Basically what this team was interested in as well, how Manson turned them and what became their motivation

I agree, that fact that they were female killers added to the fascination. I think it was also the fact that they had no remorse and seemed so nonchalant about the fact that they brutally murdered all of those people. When recounting the murders, they giggled and acted like it was no big deal. Truly disturbing stuff.

I also thought it was odd that Leslie van Houten wasn't mentioned. She wasn't at the Tate murders but she was at the LaBianca murders.

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10 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

Another gripping episode - I just love the scenes featuring the actor who plays Kemper. I have a feeling they've been frantically trying to write extra scenes to sneak in just because he's THAT good in the role.

Cameron Britton is the actor (also in The Umbrella Academy, another favorite of mine).  He is chillingly good as Kemper.  Before I ever watched Mindhunter, I randomly came across a documentary on Kemper, where they showed several of his interviews.  The real Kemper is riveting to listen to, because he seems to choose his words so precisely and appears to be very intellegent, yet completely cold-blooded.  Britton does a perfect Kemper, which is both fascinating and unsettling.

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11 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

I KNEW Gunn was up to no good - what a sleaze - and now as suspected, we have a clearer picture of his motives - he's just using the team to burnish his image in front of big wigs. Poor Dr. Carr (and no, she is most definitely not out to anyone at her workplace).

Was that ever a secret, though? It seems everybody understands that Gunn turned out a job as a big wig because he thinks this new department is the way of the future and he wants to spearhead that. He does, imo, legitimately believe in what they're doing but as the PR man he's often sleazy about it.

I love, btw, the way Tench is the one who instinctively knows how to talk this stuff up to outsiders when Holden is such a dud at it. In general I love the way the show deals with the public's interest in serial killers without seeming to judge them harshly for it. Of course people are going to be fascinated at the mention of these people. It's just the way it is. 

6 hours ago, DrSpaceman said:

On the note though of who they should be speaking to in terms of murderers, I don't recall from season one why it is they supposedly focus on sexual related offenders.  However, that seems like a rather narrow focus and hope that is dropped later on.  I haven't read the book but that seems to be awfully limiting in terms of their criteria of offenders.  They obviously ignored it to talk to Manson, which I think was a smart choice  You get a chance to talk with one of the most infamous and notorious criminals of the 20th century, you take the chance. 

I get the impression they're not actually only interested in sexual offenders, just multiple murderers. They are discovering, it seems, that murders don't need to be obviously sexual to be giving sexual pleasure. Son of Sam, for instance, was just shooting women, so you'd think that wouldn't immediately seem like a sex crime. I would guess that if they didn't look at a mass shooter, for instance, it would be because that's a specific type of crime in itself and wasn't a pattern over time etc., so not their expertise.

3 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Bill is obviously projecting his issues with Brian onto his cases now, especially with Manson and Corll killings. It really is an unfortunate coincidence that he just so happens to now be working with all these killings that involve seemingly normal young adults committing murders possibly under the influence of older people. 

Bill and his wife, especially his wife, are so clearly in denile about their son. He very clearly needs help, and no matter how many times she says "he didn't do anything wrong!" its clearly  not a normal kid thing to watch a child die and then put his body onto a cross. Pretending he doesn't need any help isn't helping anyone, especially Brian.

It's especially ironic to have a lot of focus on the fact that Brian didn't actually kill anyone in an ep that features Charles Manson and reminds us that he didn't kill anyone either. In both that case and Henley's the "I didn't actually do the killing" is no defense at all. 

3 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

As creepy as he is, its always a perverse treat to see Kemper, he is just so riveting in his creepiness. It was kind of darkly hilarious listening to him kind of shit talk Charlie as a poser, and that they should talk to Tex if they want to talk to a killer. I think my favorite bit was  when he said they were basing all of their information on "killers that you actually caught". Holden looked actually shaken thinking about that.

Yup. And Kemper turned himself in, right? So he would know.

I'm sure he'd be happy to know that however overshadowed he generally is by Manson, this show really makes him the king of killers. 

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I don't recall from season one why it is they supposedly focus on sexual related offenders. However, that seems like a rather narrow focus and hope that is dropped later on.

Douglas was personally interested in the psychology of murder, so that's where his interest was. Robert Ressler wanted to study violent crime and get past the reductive diagnosis of "crazy" when it came to murderers, so as to better aid law enforcement when they came up against crimes that were outside the norm.

Why the show focuses on sex offenders is (I think) because Douglas and Ressler were the famous ones that brought the idea of profiling to the attention of the mass public. The first mainstream (non-academic non-law-enforcement) article about profiling was in 1983 and it was about tracking down serial killers. From then on, that's what profiling was, even if the unit as a whole also worked on things like arson and bombing.

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The Brian storyline is like a perfect storm of so many narratives:

a. He's a nice kid. Just a little quiet.

b. He was just "following along", which ends with him handling a dead kid's body (!!).

c. Good family so the hoops are not as onerous as they might have been.

Do we know Brian's backstory in terms of when they adopted him? Was he an infant, and/or did he experience abuse early in life? 

I don't know how Tench keeps this on the DL. I also can't imagine how I would react in the doctor's situation. My co-worker divulges his kid manipulated a dead child's body? Yikes.

Manson stuff was great.

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12 hours ago, DrSpaceman said:

Female killers, especially middle class suburban white ones, are rare, statistically, so I can understand the media fascination.  Basically what this team was interested in as well, how Manson turned them and what became their motivation

A white male killer from Texas?  Seem to be a dime a dozen, especially based on how many people Texas executes each year. 

On the note though of who they should be speaking to in terms of murderers, I don't recall from season one why it is they supposedly focus on sexual related offenders.  However, that seems like a rather narrow focus and hope that is dropped later on.  I haven't read the book but that seems to be awfully limiting in terms of their criteria of offenders.  They obviously ignored it to talk to Manson, which I think was a smart choice  You get a chance to talk with one of the most infamous and notorious criminals of the 20th century, you take the chance. 

Regarding the focus on sex offenders - what's odd is that they are showing them focus only on murderers.  Wasn't a big focus of the BSU's interviews in their beginning years talking with serial rapists also?  I thought their initial focus was getting information from violent offenders, not just murderers.  And they also interviewed assassins (or those who attempted to assassinate someone ), including Sirhan Sirhan, Sara Jane Moore, Squeaky Fromme, James Earl Ray.

Re the Manson women - I think there was a fascination about them because most came from middle class families, and people wanted to know how/what turned them into those willing to commit horrific crimes at the behest of a career criminal like Manson.  Susan Atkins supposedly told other inmates that she tasted Sharon Tate's blood; they shaved their heads; they cut X's on their foreheads.  That type of thing tends to get the public's attention.  I agree that Tex Watson has been overlooked.  One reason is that he was not tried at the same time as Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten.  Today, I'm sure many people couldn't name him as part of the Manson family, probably don't even realize there was a man in the group of murderers, or they think it was Manson.

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3 hours ago, Litnit said:

Do we know Brian's backstory in terms of when they adopted him? Was he an infant, and/or did he experience abuse early in life? 

I think he was 3 when he was adopted and they only know about his life in foster care so his earliest months/years they don't know. I hope I'm not imagining that we learned that.

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Why on earth would a district attorney CHOOSE something as bizarre and difficult to explain and prove in court as Helter Skelter if it wasn't the actual motive? In the book, according to Bugliosi, multiple witnesses bring it up without being asked, loads of people outside the family knew about it.  And some IN the family thought it was weird or insane,  but went along. 

There may have been other factors going on, but I feel it's pretty clear that once you meet Charlie, things that seem insane now make sense. 

Some family members said that they never heard Charlie talk about Helter Skelter.  Bugliosi was desperate to nail Manson, but he had to come up with a motive that he could present to the jury. There were several things going on with Manson and the Family at that time.  His grip on his followers was starting to falter (both Tex and one of the murdering girls, Krenwinkle? had left the group fairly close to the murders--he lured them back).  His musical career, despite association with several well known musicians, wasn't taking off, and there was the desire to take the heat off of Bobby Beausoleil for the murder of Gary Hinman. He was also deathly afraid of the Black Panthers.  I'm not sure even Manson himself could come up with a definitive reason why he told his followers to commit the killings, but I suspect that it was just a way to exert control and to tie them to him even closer.

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58 minutes ago, Yokosmom said:

 Bugliosi was desperate to nail Manson, but he had to come up with a motive that he could present to the jury. 

LOL, so he picks a motive that involves a hole in the desert that leads to a land of milk and honey, a race war that ends with white people losing but black people can't run things and so they need Manson to do it for them?  How does one just make that up if it wasn't expressed by multiple people?  Danny De Carlo, another Straight Satan whose name escapes me, several family members-Dianne Lake, Stephanie Schram, Barbara Hoyt, Linda Kasabian; Juan Flynn, and a few of the folks that left the family when they were in Death Valley, along with Gregg Jakobson, one of Dennis Wilson's friends.  The family members that mostly deny the Helter Skelter talk (that I'm aware of) were the ones who murdered people, and they were trying to get Charlie off, so (in my opinion, of course) their testimony or interviews have little to no weight with me.

Charles Manson was an angry man who was innately violent, but there's no doubt he talked about Helter Skelter.  You can argue "true" motives all day, and I certainly welcome that, but it's the umbrella of motive that you have to park such a bizarre set of circumstances and murders under because of the bizarre nature of the Family itself.  If that makes sense.  

It's very interesting that Mindhunter aired this season around the 50th anniversary of the Tate murders since Manson was one of the interviews.  A creepy, if untintentional, coincidence.

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Honestly, this focus on Charles Manson in America culture is kind of frustrating me. He just doesn't deserve this kind of attention. And he isn't even the worst serial killer out there.

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2 minutes ago, swanpride said:

Honestly, this focus on Charles Manson in America culture is kind of frustrating me. He just doesn't deserve this kind of attention. And he isn't even the worst serial killer out there.

And he is dead now. 

I forgot he died a few years ago.

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I’m sorry, I guess that i came off as implying that Manson never talked about Helter Skelter, but that isn’t what i really meant. I don’t think that Bugliosi made it up. I just meant that it wasn’t necessarily the only motive or the main motive.

Yes, we are all sick of hearing about Manson, but there’s a reason why he’s the subject of so many specials (and was on the show). The crimes were not only bloody, but bizarre, not to mention seemingly random. The trial was the longest in California history up to that point. His victims were rich and famous (or connected to the famous). And every few years or so, one of the imprisoned women comes up for parole.

As other posters have mentioned, Im glad that he wasn’t portrayed as a mystical character, but the manipulative punk that he was. The actor seemed a little off to me at the start of the scene but I really got into his performance by the end. Thought it was funny that they referred to the stopped watch situation in Bugliosi’s book. His voice didn’t sound right. I finally realized that I was expecting it to sound like Steve Railsback who was in the original Helter Skelter TV movie! Scared the crap out of me as a kid... 

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I think the Manson murders are so popular is because they were so bizarre and it happened Hollywood and involved a celebrity. So of course Hollywood is going to milk that until they can't anymore. Like others have said I like that they made him not that impressive and the other killers think he's a poser because he's never killed anyone. Kemper was right, talking to Tex would give them what they are looking for over Manson. If they were studying cult leaders then he would be who they need to talk too. 

Look at all of us talking about all the killers we read about, we all have a fascination with them. Which is why I enjoyed when the shrink (?) was at first upset that Bill was late then got all excited that he actually talked to Manson. Trench is definetly projecting his son into his work now and even justifying the ones he thinks were manipulated into killing or being part of a killing like his son. That should be enough to know his son needs help so that can't happen again. 

With Gunn, things like that are why needed a #metoo movement. That was so gross and she couldn't say anything about it. Even if she wasn't gay, her boss was trying to pimp her out to a creep. 

I didn't even recognize Britton on the Umbrella Academy where he plays another killer (one with a heart of gold of course). It was his voice that was making me think about where I heard it before. I had to look it up to see he plays Kemper. Kemper is definitely an Emmy worth role of him. 

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The Manson murders are at the very, very least, California history. It's like a story that you just can't make up. My mother was pregnant with me at the time and was scared that they were killing pregnant women.

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Every time I see Wendy interacting with other males or Holden with Black people I am reminded how unusual Bill actually is. I mean, he has no trouble whatsoever to ignore societal pressure when judging other people, but he is also aware of them, unlike Holden, who would most likely describe himself as fair-minded person, but actually isn't. He still expects his girlfriend to jump and admire him all the time, and he is utterly ignorant regarding racism.

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On 8/22/2019 at 1:23 PM, swanpride said:

Honestly, this focus on Charles Manson in America culture is kind of frustrating me. He just doesn't deserve this kind of attention. And he isn't even the worst serial killer out there.

No serial killer deserves this kind of attention.  But, to be fair, name a victim of any other serial killer besides Manson.  If anything, the continued interest in the Tate-LaBianca murders keeps the victims front and center.  Is it because they were famous?  Of course.  But at least they are remembered and are as important as the evil men and women that killed them.

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This is just anecdotal, but until recently, I had no idea who Charles Manson actually murdered - or that he didn't murder anyone at all. I knew HIS name, but not why he of all people was so famous and I think it would have stayed that was if not for Once upon a Time in Hollywood...which, I suspect, confused a lot of the international audience exactly because they have no idea what the significance of Tate in the movie is. I also think that it wasn't the murder which made the victims famous (in the US), but the fame of the victims made Manson famous. Which is quite disgusting if you ask me. The victims would have most likely remembered for their LIVES and not for their DEAD if not for him and his cult.

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In his book, Order of the Assassins, Colin Wilson presens a theory of motives for murders in different ages by applying Abraham Maslow's theory of needs to crime. When the majority of people lived at or below the subsistence level, the motive for the crime was economic. As well-being increased, the need for sex became the motive. Sex offenses increased in the United States since the 20s and in the United Kingdom since the 40s.

What distinguishes a new type of murder from the traditional is that it has no clear motive. An example is the murder of Sharon Tate and her friends by the 'family' of Charles Manson in the 1970s, a group of young people who lived with him. Although Manson himself did not participate in the killings, he was also convicted of them because he was believed to have caused them by his teachings.

Manson justified the murders by retaliation for society. Wilson calls such a motive magical: after all, murder could not have contributed to social renewal. Manson's reasoning was beyond logic anyway: he considered himself innocent, not because he had nothing to do with the murders, but because the real culprit was society.

Wilson thought Manson was talented but frustrated. Since he has not found the passage to fulfill himself, he reacts to the senselessness of modern life by violence.

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I don't think that this was necessarily a "new type" of murderer. That is the one notion in the show I find extremely questionable. There have been serial killings beforehand, most famously Jack the Ripper, but he was by far not the only one. I think they became just more noticeable because there were less opportunity for people with those leanings to hide behind a seemingly "acceptable" frame (like war), and because it became more difficult to find alternative explanations for it. Plus, the attention seeking aspect became more important.

Anyway, the "earliest" Serial killer we know about was in Rome in 331 BC, though that was a poison ring. The oldest we know of the "raped his victims and then killed them" kind was in the 5th century AD in the Himyarite Kingdom. If you look into the history of the US, you will find a number of pirates, "gangs", slavers aso who could be considered serial killers. There there is also Jesse Pomeroy, the Bender Family, aso.

Granted, the Murders with the highest kill count in the US were active in the last 40 years or so, but that is most likely simply because the police has gotten better in connecting crimes with each other. In the past a killer who moved around a lot had a pretty easy time to stay hidden.

What kind of changes is the method of killing. That one tends to adopt to the times.

 

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3 hours ago, swanpride said:

I don't think that this was necessarily a "new type" of murderer. That is the one notion in the show I find extremely questionable. There have been serial killings beforehand, most famously Jack the Ripper, but he was by far not the only one. I think they became just more noticeable because there were less opportunity for people with those leanings to hide behind a seemingly "acceptable" frame (like war), and because it became more difficult to find alternative explanations for it. Plus, the attention seeking aspect became more important.

Wilson didn't mean that the serial killer was a new type of murderer but a "murderer without a clear motive" was. Well, actually he didn't even mean that there hadn't been such murderers before but that murders that most interested the general public were of different type in different ages. 

I applied Wilson's theory to the famous Finnish murders in 1950ies and 2000ies (none of which were serial killings) and it really explained their difference and, most of all, why the public became so intensely interested just in them and not other murders.   

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Murderers without clear motive existed earlier, too. What I found very noticeable when I looked at people classified as serial killers in earlier time was that a lot of them where women - and that can be easily explained with the fact that women had less of a "societal outlet" so to speak. Meaning a women who killed a bunch of he slaves was seen as abnormal, but when a man did the same thing, I suspect a lot of people wouldn't have thought all that much about it.

I get the impression was that what changed wasn't the kind of murderers, it was the society they lived in. All the earlier classified serial murders broke some kind of taboo, like eating their victim, killing specifically children or preying on someone from their inside group, otherwise they only got attention of their kill count was really, really high.

Though who knows, maybe the show gets there, too. After all, they have already put the idea in the room that the police only gets those who aren't particularly good in what they do, or who want to get caught. They might eventually arrive at the conclusion that this kind of murderer actually isn't that unusual at all, and what changed was actually their opportunities to blend in as well as the quality of the police work.

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On 8/21/2019 at 8:08 PM, laurakaye said:

Cameron Britton is the actor (also in The Umbrella Academy, another favorite of mine).  He is chillingly good as Kemper.  Before I ever watched Mindhunter, I randomly came across a documentary on Kemper, where they showed several of his interviews.  The real Kemper is riveting to listen to, because he seems to choose his words so precisely and appears to be very intellegent, yet completely cold-blooded.  Britton does a perfect Kemper, which is both fascinating and unsettling.

I don't think any of these actors do their serial killer counterpart perfectly. I don't think anybody could. There is something so cold to them, I don't think anybody who's not a psychopath could capture.

There is just a feeling of unease I get while listening to real serial killers that isn't there while listening to these actors. Of course that could just be the nocebo effect, since I know what they are. On the other hand, I'm not neurotypical and sometimes I pick up on things most people wouldn't (has more drawbacks than advantages though).

That being said, these actors do great jobs of capturing all other aspects of these killers. I just don't buy them as being capable of killing multiple people in cold blood.

On 8/21/2019 at 4:46 PM, tennisgurl said:

I think my favorite bit was  when he said they were basing all of their information on "killers that you actually caught". Holden looked actually shaken thinking about that.

I said that out loud about 10 seconds before Kemper said it (they really drew that out for dramatic effect). That Holden and the team never considered this is baffling to me. It's classic survivership bias. I hope the real team at the FBI wasn't this daft.

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Yeah, me too…

What I said above about me being puzzled about them acting as if the kind of murder without motive is something so incredible special...I mentioned it in another episode discussion, but there is a German movie about a serial killer. Which was made in 1931!!!!! and at least already has an understanding for there being murders who just murder because of some psychological defect which leads to them having to kill because of some inner push to do so.

I mean, I guess it is pretty usual for an US series to act as if American psychologists invented the wheel, but I feel that the team would look less, well, naive, if there were some acknowledgement that there are already studies and material based on earlier cases, while their work expanded on it.

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22 hours ago, swanpride said:

the police only gets those who aren't particularly good in what they do, or who want to get caught. They might eventually arrive at the conclusion that this kind of murderer actually isn't that unusual at all, and what changed was actually their opportunities to blend in as well as the quality of the police work.

It's clear that with new methods (DNA etc.) police can now solve cases that would have earlier been unsolved. Yet, that doesn't mean that, as we have seen, traditional leg work has lost their value. Some detail that first seems meaninless can, when connected some other thing, lead to the breakthrough. Also, one must not believe blindly in the profile.  

I am not sure if criminals who aren't caught are really so good  - at least in the sense that they are highly intelligent, organized or effective. Maybe they aren't suspected simply because the cases are so messy.  Two people who are drunk go to row, the boat crashes and a person who can't swim drowns. Who can't be sure it wasn't an accident?  

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I suspect it is a mixture of how "normal" the killer can act, who the victims are, the method of the murder and the environment.

You pick victims nobody will miss, at different places and alternate your killing method and nobody would even get the idea that they are part of a serial killing. Or you do it in a way that nobody suspects that there was a murder in the first place. One of Germany's most "successful" killer was a nurse who killed patients in a hospital for years until someone realized that the death rate at every hospital he worked in was statistically speaking too high. It took so long because he carefully picked victims where nobody would be surprised if they didn't survive.

Another one was back in the day knows as a very mild and helpful man, who did the "arsenic and old lace" style of murder by inviting people who travelled through the town for a nice meal and then killing the ones who wouldn't be missed...he would have gotten away with it, too, if not for one of his victims managing to escape and then alerting the authorities and his habit of using the body parts of his victims for "practical" purposes. Basically the police wasn't really inclined to belief his victim, but he convinced them to at least searched the house and there was evidence all over the place. If he had hidden what he did better, he might have gotten away with it, because he had such a good reputation in the community.

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8 hours ago, swanpride said:

Yeah, me too…

What I said above about me being puzzled about them acting as if the kind of murder without motive is something so incredible special...I mentioned it in another episode discussion, but there is a German movie about a serial killer. Which was made in 1931!!!!! and at least already has an understanding for there being murders who just murder because of some psychological defect which leads to them having to kill because of some inner push to do so.

I mean, I guess it is pretty usual for an US series to act as if American psychologists invented the wheel, but I feel that the team would look less, well, naive, if there were some acknowledgement that there are already studies and material based on earlier cases, while their work expanded on it.

I think the storyline with Tench's son is bringing that up. Bill is now questioning if someone can be born evil, no matter what kind of upbringing they had. This is the first time they have anyone really thinking about these type of killers. So everyone is going to be bringing in their own biases or thoughts. They are showing that Holden has tunnel vision in regard to what a Serial Killer is. Because it was his idea and he believes he is completely right and is unable to accept other ideas. He's an investigator that doesn't care to investigate other leads because he's so sure his idea was the right one.

He was mostly like right, but Williams' upbringing didn't match his profile 100%. If they get another season I'm sure we'll see they have to widen their criteria. That not all killers are loners or all of them had horrible childhoods. Some just want to kill. Something else made them that way.  That's why we are seeing BTK behind the scenes. He doesn't match Holden's profile.  

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2 hours ago, Sakura12 said:

I think the storyline with Tench's son is bringing that up. Bill is now questioning if someone can be born evil, no matter what kind of upbringing they had. 

The boy was three years old when Tench and his wife adopted him. Tech said that he had no idea what has happened him before that. 

In S1 it was shown that both spouses had separately realized that the boy had problems. The wife wanted him to have music therapy but Tench thought it was too costly. He had been suggested psychoterapy (or something like that) but he had missed it. 

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The Tate-LaBianca murders are not only famous because of the victims but also because Sharon Tate was married to Roman Polanski and carrying his child.  His later accusation of raping a child, an accusation that led to him fleeing the country for the vast majority of his life, makes for a compelling narrative.  Looking at it from Tate's murder in 1969 through the rape and absconding from justice in 1978 and you have quite a story to tell.  Manson may or may not have triggered the entire sad chain of events.

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 His voice didn’t sound right. I finally realized that I was expecting it to sound like Steve Railsback who was in the original Helter Skelter TV movie! Scared the crap out of me as a kid... 

Haha, I said this too! I suppose it's not the actor's fault or anything and he did have the rest down to a science.

Also, I'll ad that I am not at all tired of Manson information , and I've been reading/watching it since 1980 ( I was 9!).

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On 8/26/2019 at 2:45 PM, Roseanna said:

The boy was three years old when Tench and his wife adopted him. Tech said that he had no idea what has happened him before that. 

Nancy made a comment that he had been in an orphanage for 13 months, and they didn't know what had happened to him before that. Which means his background is a complete mystery before the state found him, when he was almost exactly the same age as the toddler who was killed.

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Also was this the ep when Gunn straightened Wendy's dress. Eff you you little creep. Do not touch her. I wish she could have slapped away his hand. More women should do that. Just shut that crap down immediately. I found that way more creepy than the overt perv.

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On 9/8/2019 at 2:20 AM, jeansheridan said:

Also was this the ep when Gunn straightened Wendy's dress. Eff you you little creep. Do not touch her. I wish she could have slapped away his hand. More women should do that. Just shut that crap down immediately. I found that way more creepy than the overt perv.

I understood that he unlocked her top button - as if he meant to pimp her to the man he introduced her. 

Of course she couldn't slap away his hand if she wanted to keep her job, but she did show that he crossed the forbidden line by calmly closing the button again.

A small scene told so much about all what she had to suffer in the work and private life. No wonder she is always so reverved - she can't afford a slip, yet she also wants to keep her dignity.

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