Warning: this article contains Mindhunter season 2 spoilers.
Inspired by real-life stories involving serial killers including Charles Manson, Mindhunter returned last week. But while season one focused on Ford, this series pays closer attention to his colleagues at FBI's Behavioural Science Unit, including Bill, played by Holt McCallany. And one particular storyline has caught fans' attention - with many wondering if it's got a true-life background.
In season one, Bill confides in Holden that his adopted son, Brian, doesn't speak. Then, early in the new season, a toddler's body is discovered in a property being sold by Bill's wife, who is an estate agent. Soon after, police establish that the child was killed by two older boys whom Brian brought into the house after meeting them in a park. The boys suffocated the toddler and put him on a cross, while Brian (who is admittedly pretty creepy) watched.
As he's so young, Brian isn't accused of criminal activity, but the Tench family is made to have weekly meetings with a child psychologist and they're dogged by a social worker, too. Needless to say, Bill is troubled by what his disturbed son has witnessed and wonders if Brian is going to grow up to be a murderer - just like those he studies in his day job.
As the series is inspired by true events, many fans are wondering whether this particular subplot is based on a real case, too.
Thankfully, The Wrap has done some digging and uncovered an answer. While Bill Tench is based on a real FBI agent, Robert Ressler, the fictional character only has one child, whereas Ressler had three. And as far as we know, Ressler’s son, Aaron, did not witness the murder of a toddler when he was a kid.
However, true to Mindhunter form, the crime itself may have been inspired by one reported in the news in the 70s. A PBS Frontline report was dug out by Oxygen, which reports retrospectively on a 1971 crime that sounds pretty familiar to the Mindhunter storyline.
According to the Frontline report, two brothers - one 7, the other 10 - had been playing in a park when they came across a toddler named Noah Alba. The brothers reportedly lured the child to a nearby basement where they violently attacked him. Five days later, police discovered the young boy dead in the basement, having been tied to a makeshift wooden cross.
The brothers reportedly claimed they believed they could resurrect the toddler by putting him on a cross, in keeping with the Bible.
So while the Mindhunter plot isn't identical to this story, it does sound pretty similar for such a particular crime. Looks like this might be another case of the Netflix show's writer's cleverly weaving the real life with the fictional.
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