Jonathan Groff on Mindhunter: ‘I walked into makeup and saw a scalped woman’s head’

What turns someone into a serial killer? In the 1970s, the FBI was utterly in the dark. But a wave of seemingly unmotivated killings – by Charles Manson, David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy – forced them into uncharted territory. A new form of profiling was required, one that didn’t simply believe evil to be genetic, but took into account one’s formative years.

Netflix’s ambitious new drama Mindhunter explores the early days of the serial killer. Based on a book co-written by John E Douglas, the FBI agent who was the inspiration for Clarice Starling’s mentor Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs, it’s also created by David Fincher, director of Seven and Zodiac.

“It seems like our culture is obsessed with serial killers,” Jonathan Groff tells me in the library of a Manhattan hotel. He plays a fictionalised version of Douglas, a young agent

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