Mindhunter Fans Caught a Subtle Reference to One of America's Most Feared Murderers
In its first two seasons, Mindhunter has included appearances from some of the most notorious serial killers in American History. We've seen the BTK Killer, Son of Sam, Ed Kemper, Charles Manson, among many other feared murderers. But, this list only scratches the surface of the men who have terrorized the US.
In the first episode of Mindhunter Season Two, the show subtly teased the appearance of one of the most wicked murderers ever captured. As pointed out on Reddit, Wendy Carr is giving a presentation of possible psychosexual serial killers for the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit to investigate. But if you look at the scene again closely, you'll see the name: Gacy, J.W.
That stands for John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer who murdered at least 33 boys between 1972 and 1978 in Illinois. Gacy was arrested in late 1978 and sentenced to death two years later for 12 of his murders. With Season Two of Mindhuntertaking place between 1980-1981, this lands right during the height of Gacy's capture and trial, making him a prime target for the BSU's investigations. And considering Gacy spent 14 years on death row before being executed in May of 1994, this gives the detectives time to interview the murderer in the next few seasons.
John Douglas, the real FBI agent who inspired Jonathan Groff's Holden Ford, actually interviewed Gacy during his career. As he told the Chicago Tribune in 1999:
Gacy had access to a telephone. He was calling me at Quantico (in Virginia). We used him as a training tool to basically show how a guy like Gacy was almost like a chameleon. How he could blend into society. He can have a job and be very, very functional, married and belong to a political party and have his picture taken with Rosalynn Carter. These people don't look odd. They look like you and I and can blend into society. To this day, people think that serial killers look different than us, act different than us.
This makes for some potentially terrifying stuff in future Mindhunter episodes. Gacy was infamous for dressing up as a clown at local events, eventually earning the name The Killer Clown. An interview scene would also be a pretty chilling thing to watch, given Gacy was known as such a charming and charismatic guy in his public life.
Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.