Mindhunter: Season 2: The Real Life Serial Killers

Mindhunter: Season 2: The Real Life Serial Killers

mindhunter season 2 real life stories

With Mindhunter Season 2 reintroducing the world to some of its most fascinating serial killers I thought I’d break down some of the real-life stories behind the show’s most infamous names.

Throughout this, I’ll be breaking down the true cases of four of Season 2’s most high profile names and discussing how the show handled their on-screen depictions. In this break down I’ll be primarily covering The Son Of Sam, The Atlanta Child Murders, Charles Manson and BTK.

Make sure you drop a comment below if you’d like me to cover the other killers of the season in a future video as everyone featured in the season definitely deserves their own documentary.

If you haven’t seen the finale of Season 2 of Mindhunter and aren’t aware of the resolution of the cases then I highly recommend that you turn off now as there will be some spoilers.

With that out the way, I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video now let’s get into my break down of The Real-Life Killers of Mindhunter Season 2!

The Son Of Sam

The Son Of Sam is one of the first killers that we come into contact with in Season 2 of Mindhunter and the show depicts him as a remorseless shooter that manipulated psychiatrists and other industry experts into believing that he had a degree of insanity.

Holden calls him out on this his fabrications and this leads to a more truthful conversation that allows for some fascinating insights.

In real life, The Son Of Sam’s real name was David Berkowitz and the serial killer operated in New York City during the years of 1976 and 1977. Berkowitz was a serial shooter that randomly ran up to parked cars and shot the passengers. He notoriously preyed on women with long dark hair and this is paid lip service to in the show during the interview when it’s noted that women completely changed their hairstyles out of fear for the killer.

Berkowitz taunted the press and gave himself the moniker ‘Son Of Sam’ claiming that he killed to appease his father’s insatiable craving for blood.

the son of sam real life killers of mindhunter explained

Throughout his reign, Berkowitz killed six people and wounded seven and was caught when his car was ticketed at a scene where he later attempted to carry out a shooting. After his victim got away she reported the incident and police were able to track Berkowitz back to the parking fine to him. Upon arresting him Berkowitz was apparently smiling and bragging about how long it took for the police to catch him.

Later Berkowitz admitted that his reasonings were made up and denied every being possessed. Holt McCalleny who plays Special Agent Bill Tench in the show has tried several times to interview Berkowitz but said that the killer does not wish to go over the crimes anymore and now refers to himself as The Son Of Hope.

Berkowitz is now 66 and is currently serving six life sentences for his crimes.

The Atlanta Child Murders

The Atlanta Child Murders are the main thrust of Season Two and become the focus of Holden’s ongoing investigations throughout.

The crimes, similar to the show were carried out by Wayne Williams, though he was only ever convicted for two of the deaths and there are several theories that other perpetrators were involved.

The murders themselves took place between 1979 to 1981 and they involved the deaths of 28 children and adults.

the real wayne williams mindhunter season 2

Similar to how the show depicts his capture, Williams was caught by a bridge surveillance team who stopped his car after they heard a large splash. After Williams failed three lie polygraph tests he became the number one suspect though he taunted the police and even held a press conference at his house.

After fibers were found that linked Williams to some of the abductions he was arrested and convicted though he still maintains his innocence, alleging that the crimes were carried out by the KKK and that this was covered up to avoid a race war.

Whether we will ever find out if this is the truth or not is still unknown but Williams is currently 61 and serving a life sentence.

Charles Manson

Charles Manson is arguably the most infamous killer that appears in Season 2 and his on-screen portrayal doesn’t disappoint either.

Manson was born November 12th, 1934 and had a very troubled childhood and during his teens committed several offenses that meant a lot of his life was spent in incarceration.

During the late sixties after being discharged from prison, he began to form a cult that later became known as The Manson Family. Acting under instruction from Manson the family committed several crimes including a failed assassination attempt on then-president Gerald Ford. They later went on to commit the Tate Murders which involved the deaths of several people including the then-wife of Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, who at the time was eight months pregnant.

Upon exiting the house they wrote the word ‘Pig’ in blood on the wall.

charles manson mindhunter season 2 actor once upon a time in hollywood

Manson wanted to frame the Black Panthers to create a race war known as Helter Skelter however after the killers were caught this quickly dissembled. Manson spent the rest of his life in jail where, due to his persona, and interviews gained somewhat celebrity status.

Manson died on November 19th at the age of 83 and though he is gone it’s fair to say that his life is still a point of fascination.

It really can’t be overstated how much Damon Herriman nails Charles Manson and after his portrayal of the man in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood the actor looks like he’s carving out a reputation for playing the man going forward. Mindhunter perfectly captures his message and charisma and makes for a dramatic portrayal that shows just how controlling the man could be.


And finally is BTK which stands for Bind, Torture Kill. BTK is hinted at throughout both Mindhunter season one and two and it’s clear that the show is building up to his eventual takedown which will no doubt happen in the future iterations of the show.

BTK remained at large for over 30 years and operated between the years of 1974 and 1991. In 2004 he was finally caught after sending letters to the police as well as a floppy disk which was traced back to his local churches’ computer. BTK was revealed to be Dennis Radar, a seemingly innocuous man that had an extremely dark side to him.

Radar killed over ten people in his life but seemingly stopped which is very rare for serial killers. Those close to him later stated that Radar could be seen spending hours looking over old books and shoeboxes in his treehouse and psychologists assumed that he had found a way to relive the fantasies without carrying out the acts themselves.

the real life mindhunter btk dennis radar

Radar is currently serving 175 years in prison due to the 10 consecutive counts of murder that he was charged for. Due to the time scales of Mindhunter, I imagine that the show will eventually have a time jump in which they will finally bring him down and we will shoot from the late seventies and early eighties to show his capture.

Either way, BTK is a fascinating killer and Radar’s sheer normality on the outside showcases just how unassuming serial killers can be.

Mindhunter completely nails this and it’s a credit to the show just how accurate each killer is to it.

Your Thoughts

Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the killers so make sure you leave them in the comments section below.

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