Will there be a Mindhunter season 3? It's looking uncertain. Mindunter is one of the best true crime thrillers on the small screen. It challenges and dispels the glamor around the late 20th century's most notorious murderers, rather than reveling in it like a lot of modern true crime media does. But it's also got a director who's in-demand, which means the show won't be returning any time soon (that's if it does return at all).
While Mindhunter hasn't technically been renewed for a third season, an outline for further seasons does exist in some form. The show was originally envisioned with a five-season plan. That said, in December 2019, options for the cast expired, and the show is officially on indefinite hiatus while Fincher works on other projects.
We'll explain more about what that means below, and outline everything that's been discussed about a potential season 3 so far.
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Mindhunter season 3 release date: the show is on 'indefinite hiatus'
While season 2 dropped on Netflix two years after the first in 2019, we could be waiting longer this time to hear about the show's future. Netflix confirmed to Deadline that the cast's options had expired, meaning they can work on other shows. “[Fincher] 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.
That doesn't mean it's been canceled, then, but it definitely means any third season of Mindhunter is in limbo.
David Fincher is currently working on Mank, a biopic based on screenwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz, and his work with Orson Welles on the creation of Citizen Kane. The Gary Oldman-led film is set to release in 2020. THR noted that talk of a third season is “on hold” while Mank is being filmed.
Also, the Fight Club director is known for taking his time. One nine-minute Mindhunter take was shot 75 times and he averaged 50 per scene for Gone Girl. Fincher's attention to detail is important for the veracity of Mindhunter's real-life subjects.
We know that writer Joe Penhall “wrote a five-season bible” in an interview with Metro in January 2019 and that Holt McCallany (Bill Tench) is “hopeful that we will get to do the whole five seasons because the audience seems to have really responded to the show,” in a chat with Pop Culture. Fingers crossed we get to see the rest of the series.
Which killers will we meet in Mindhunter season 3?
There are no confirmed plot developments for season 3 given that it hasn't technically been renewed yet, that hasn't stopped legions of fans from speculating on where it could go next on Reddit based on the timeframe of the show. Names such as John Wayne Gacy come up: the man convicted of 33 homicides and known as 'Killer Clown' was sentenced to death in 1980, but wasn't executed until 1994. Gacy's name and photo were also shown on-screen briefly during season 2, which some interpret as an Easter Egg.
Ted Bundy also comes up time and again, not only because of the recent Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile film and Netflix's Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, both released in 2019. The famous serial killer was executed in 1989. Seasons 1 and 2 of Mindhunter take place in the late '70s and early '80s, so the timelines for both Bundy and Gacy fit.
These are just two of the serial killer boom in the 1980s, though. Any number of infamous characters could be the subject of future Holden Ford investigations – that includes BTK killer, Dennis Rader, shown in a single scene per episode of Mindhunter, and spotted again in the final moments of season 2.
While we expect Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany to return if a Mindhunter season 3 materialized, we're less sure we can predict their arcs. Speaking to Pop Culture, McCallany said “it would be premature for me to talk about the journey that these characters will take […] you are on this journey that nobody really can be 100 percent certain of what the destination is, not even the writers.”
Of course, we know the cases criminal profiler John Douglas – the real-life inspiration for Holden Ford – tackled within Mindhunter's timeline. “By 1981, not only did I have the Atlanta child killings, but I had the Tylenol murders,” Douglas said in an interview with Vulture. “We had the Unabomber case up in Chicago. Then we had other cases, Buffalo's .22-caliber killer.” While we don't know any plot specifics yet, a potential Mindhunter season 3 could explore any of these subjects.
Mindhunter remains one of the best Netflix original shows to date
Netflix's scattergun approach to original content means a lot of hits and misses, but teaming up with Fincher was a smart idea. Mindhunter is one of the most visually distinctive TV shows around, and both seasons illustrate how successful the idea of plugging semi-fictionalized characters into real-world criminal cases is. However long we have to wait, it'll be worth it.