Mindhunter is one of those shows people are still talking about years later. The first season debuted in 2017, with the second season premiering in 2019. After the way the second season ended, everyone wants to know: is season 3 ever going to happen? As of February 2023, we now have an answer.
There are still so many potential criminal cases for Holden Ford, Bill Tench, and Wendy Carr to dive into as they apply their groundbreaking behavioral analysis to hunting notorious serial killers. The series, inspired by true events, has become a fan favorite since its premiere. HollywoodLife has the latest updates about Mindhunter season 3.
The Show So Far
Mindhunter focuses on FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench, as well as psychologist Wendy Carr, who work for the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI Academy. Ford, Tench, and Carr interview serial killers in order to understand their psychology in hopes of solving other cases. The first season takes place from 1977 to 1980. Ford, Tench, and Carr begin their work interviewing serial killers such as Ed Kemper.
The second season revolves primarily around the real-life Atlanta child murders that took place from 1979 to 1981. By the end of season 2, Ford and Tench help to arrest Wayne Williams in connection with two of the murders. Season 2 also featured other infamous serial killers like the Son of Sam, Elmer Wayne Henler Jr., Ed, as well as cult leader Charles Manson.
The final moments of the season 2 finale feature Dennis Rader in a motel room dressed in women’s clothing. He stands in front of a mirror and puts on a creepy doll mask. He then walks over to the bed where he has a camera set up. The belongings of his victims, along with photos Dennis took of them and newspaper clippings about their deaths, are lying on the bed. Dennis puts a rope around his neck and begins to pleasure himself via autoerotic asphyxiation.
Mindhunter Season 3
Mindhunter season 3 is not happening, according to executive producer and director David Fincher. “It’s a very expensive show and, in the eyes of Netflix, we didn’t attract enough of an audience to justify such an investment,” David told the French publication Le Journal du Dimanche in February 2023.
Netflix has not officially cancelled Mindhunter season 3. Since season 2 was released in August 2019, David has been vocal about Mindhunter season 3’s uncertain future. In January 2020, Netflix revealed that Mindhunter season 3 was on indefinite hold. “David is focused on directing his first Netflix film Mank and on producing the second season of Love, Death and Robots,” a Netflix rep told TVLine. “He may revisit Mindhunter again in the future, but in the meantime felt it wasn’t fair to the actors to hold them from seeking other work while he was exploring new work of his own.”
Months later in October 2020, David opened up about the struggles of making the show. “We started getting scripts for the second season, and I ended up looking at what was written and deciding I didn’t like any of it,” he told Vulture. So we tossed it and started over. But it’s a 90-hour work week. It absorbs everything in your life. When I got done, I was pretty exhausted, and I said, ‘I don’t know if I have it in me right now to break season three… Mindhunter was a lot for me.”
He added, “I think probably [it’s done]. Listen, for the viewership that it had, it was an expensive show.” The prolific director admitted that he wouldn’t be able to make season 3 for less than what it cost to make the second season. “And on some level, you have to be realistic about dollars have to equal eyeballs,” he said.
A month later, Fincher was still unsure about the future of Mindhunter season 3. “I don’t know if it makes sense to continue,” the director told Variety. It was an expensive show. It had a very passionate audience, but we never got the numbers that justified the cost.”
Initially, the Mank director wanted to debut a new season of Mindhunter every 12 to 14 months. However, due to production delays, there was a two-year difference between the first and second seasons.
“I certainly needed some time away,” Fincher continued. “We had all hands on deck to finish [season 2] and we didn’t have a ton of scripts and a ton of outlines and a bible standing by for season 3. I’ll admit I was a little bit like ‘I don’t know that I’m ready to spend another two years in the crawl space.'”
Small-Screen reported in April 2021 that season 3 talks had started up again. “All I can really tell you about Mindhunter is that conversations between Netflix and Fincher are ongoing. They are discussing the possibility of bringing the show back for a third season… It’s still very early days, but Fincher sounds more upbeat about the project.”
Season 3 Cast
If Mindhunter season 3 ever did happen, Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany would likely return as FBI special agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench, along with Anna Torv as psychology professor Wendy Carr. Stacey Roca, Joe Tuttle, Michael Cerveris, and Lauren Glazier would also be expected to return in their supporting roles.
Throughout Mindhunter’s first two seasons, serial killers Ed Kemper, David Berkowitz, William Joseph Pierce Jr., Charles Manson, and Wayne Williams were featured. Cameron Britton’s portrayal of Ed Kemper became a fan favorite. He was event nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2018. Ed and the other notable serial killers at the time could make an appearance in season 3. Since David Fincher had plans to eventually explore the BTK killer more in-depth, Sonny Valicenti would most likely be back as Dennis Rader in the third season. The final scene of the second season teased more of a focus on Dennis in season 3.
Mindhunter Cast & Crew Reaction
Despite the indefinite hiatus, David Fincher knows where he would want the show to end. “At some point, I’d love to revisit it,” he told Variety in November 2020. “The hope was to get all the way up to the late ’90s, early 2000s, hopefully, get all the way up to people knocking on the door at Dennis Rader’s house.”
Over the course of Mindhunter’s two seasons, glimpses of Dennis Rader, played by Sonny Valicenti, were shown to the audience. Dennis is known to the world as the BTK killer and killed 10 people between 1974 to 1991. By the end of season 2, Tench and Ford had yet to come across Dennis or his murders.
In August 2019, Holt McCallany admitted that Fincher had a 5-season plan from the beginning. “He said ‘Listen, are you ready to do this for five seasons? Because even if I f**k it up, it’s gonna go 5 seasons, and I don’t intend to f**k it up.’ So I’d like to think that we will continue, for as long as David is intrigued by telling this particular story,” Holt told The Hollywood Reporter.
Holt also noted to Pop Culture that was “hopeful that we will get to do the whole 5 seasons because the audience seems to have really responded to the show, people really like the show.”