The real serial killers of ‘Mindhunter’

Sydney Ritter
Mesa Legend

David-FincherMurder has been rising in popularity in America. Do not twist my words here, I do not mean that serial killing is rising, in fact, the amount of serial killings is at an all-time low during this generation, but I mean America’s fascination of the serial killings of old. From podcasts such as My Favorite Murder and Last Podcast on the Left, and television shows like CSI and Law & Order have entertained audiences for decades.
Netflix’s new original series Mindhunter, based on the true crime book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, strokes the deep, dark obsession of those who watched it.

Everyone in the show were real people, from the new detective who joined in late in the show to each and every serial killer Holton interrogates. While Bill Tench and Holden Ford were the main focus of this show, let’s be honest that is not why we watched the show. Edmund Kemper, Jerry Brudos, Richard Speck. Each one of these men were alive and rained terror during their killing sprees to everyone in the area.  Edmund Emil Kemper III, played by the brilliant Cameron Britton, the first subject of Holton and the man who started Holton’s interest in people like him, killed 10 people throughout the 1960s and 70s.

He committed the abduction and murder of several women in the early 1970s, as well as the murders of his paternal grandparents and his mother.  He solely targeted young female hitchhikers during his killing spree until he was apprehended on April 24, 1973. He was found sane and guilty at his trial. Kemper is still alive at the age of 68, but is also incarcerated in the California Facility.

Monte Ralph Rissell, a lesser known name than Ed Kemper, is yet another rapist-murderer.
In the show, the difference between Rissell and Kemper are by and far. Holton learns from him that not all serial killers are as open to their crimes as Edmund Kemper was. And who is to blame him after learning about his dastardly acts. Rissell, portrayed by Sam Strike in the show, killed five women in Virginia who is believed to have committed his first rape at the young age of 14.

Before his nineteenth birthday, he had committed and been arrested for five murders. He is currently serving five life sentences. Jerome Henry “Jerry” Brudos was another serial killer who was a main focus to Holton in Mindhunter. Brudos is only believed to have killed four women in Oregon between 1968 and 1969.  After his sentencing, he was given the nickname “The Lust Killer” and “The Shoe Fetish Killer” due to his obsession with women’s shoes, specifically heels.

From a very young age Brudos, played by Happy Anderson, was sent to a mental hospital after his first crime, abducting a woman when he was only 17. He went on to get married and have two children before his murder spree began in 1968. Brudos committed five murders until May 1969 when a fisherman found the bodies of two of his victims in the Long Tom River.  Brudos raised suspension within the police and when they searched his house they found the same cord used to tie up the bodies.  Brudos was arrested and made a full confession.

On June 28, 1969 Brudos pled guilty to three first-degree murders and was sentenced to three consecutive terms of life imprisonment in Oregon State Penitentiary. Jerry Brudos died in prison on March 28, 2006 from liver cancer. During his time in prison, Brudos had a pile of women’s shoe catalogues in his cell and wrote to major companies asking for women’s heels. By the time the audience is introduced to these three killers we are given the pleasure of meeting the infamous Richard Speck, captures by Jack Erdie on Mindhunter in all his callous, hideous glory.

Speck’s crimes are different than most of the others on the show. On July 13, 1966, Richard Speck tortured, raped, and murdered eight nurses from the South Chicago Community Hospital.  The horror of the singular event made headlines around the world, especially since one woman was able to escape and describe the nightmare.  Speck spent 25 years in prison before dying of a heart attack at the age of 49.  Spoiler alert: In Mindhunter several episodes open with an ADT man from Wichita.

He is by far the show’s most mysterious character who has yet to interact with any of the main cast or even seem to have a place in the main plotline. To anyone just casually just watching the show may think he’s a nobody but he’s instantly familiar to people who have read about serial killers in America: Dennis Rader, the BTK killer. Rader, portrayed by Sonny Valicenti, sent letters to police describing his murders and signing them himself, giving him the name “BTK” which stands for “bind, torture, kill.”

Mindhunter sprinkles Rader throughout the season and gives this the final scene of the show, indicating that he will reappear in season two. Rader wasn’t caught for his murders until 2005, so he’ll likely be a part of the show for some time.


Mesa Legend Staff

Mesa Legend Staff

Stories contributed by MCC journalism students. See end of each article for corresponding authors.
Mesa Legend Staff

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