- Along with Holden Ford, Bill Tench is one of Mindhunter's special agents in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit.
- Fans are wondering if Tench was a real FBI agent.
- It turns out that while Tench isn't a real person, he's based on a famed FBI agent.
Part of the intrigue surrounding Mindhunter is the knowledge that the crimes featured on the show really happened, and the serial killers profiled are real people. However, less is known about the agents that track and interview these killers.
Is Bill Tench a real person?
Bill Tench is not a real person, but he's based on former Special Agent Robert Ressler. Ressler joined the FBI in 1970, and he was later recruited into the Behavioral Science Unit, which is shown on Mindhunter.
He helped to create many of the programs which led to the creation of the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, and he became the first Program Manager of the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program in 1985.
Over the course of his career, Ressler interviewed killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson, and he once said that the challenge of his job was to stop the killers' vicious cycle.
"I am somewhat in awe of their ability to get away with their crimes for so long. It becomes a challenge for me, and people like me, to stop that cycle." Ressler explained. "You're not really admiring them as much as you are in awe that they are able to commit these crimes in sequence over a period of time."
Where is Robert Ressler now?
Ressler retired from the FBI in 1990, marking a close to his storied 20-year career. However, he remained involved in criminology. He wrote a number of books on the topics of his career and experience dealing with serial killers, and often gave lectures to and helped police forces and law enforcement agencies with investigations.
His books and career are said to have been the inspiration for TV shows and films including Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Copycat, and The X Files.
Ressler died in 2013, but his contributions to the true crime landscape, pop culture, and the FBI as an institution stand up strongly to the test of time.
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