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"To Think Like a Killer" Premieres on Hulu This July

“To Think Like a Killer” Premieres on Hulu This July

A new true crime documentary titled Mastermind: How to Think Like a Killer is set to stream on Hulu this July. The documentary focuses on Ann Burgess, a psychiatric nurse and professor, who played a crucial role in the early development of serial killer profiling.

In the 1970s, Burgess collaborated with notable profilers such as Robert Ressler and John E. Douglas, as well as other agents, as a part of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. The participation of a woman in such a field during that era was exceptional, as criminal investigations were predominantly male-dominated. Burgess’s work included the profiling of infamous killers like Ted Bundy and Ed Kemper.

Burgess’s profiling methods were groundbreaking. She not only studied the behaviors of the killers but also focused on the aftermath experienced by potential victims. This comprehensive approach enabled her and her team to form a complete picture and aid in apprehending the culprits.

If this narrative seems familiar, it’s because Burgess, Ressler, and Douglas inspired characters in the popular Netflix series Mindhunter. The character of Dr. Wendy Carr, portrayed by Anna Torv, is based on Ann Burgess.

The show Mindhunter took some creative liberties in its portrayal. For instance, Dr. Carr’s character is depicted as a lesbian, whereas Burgess does not identify as such. Additionally, the series did not delve into Burgess’s collaboration with sociologist Lynda Lytle Holstrom. Together, they were pioneers in understanding rape trauma syndrome. Despite societal biases against women in academia at the time, their research was impactful enough that William Webster, the former director of the FBI, mandated that his agents be educated on the trauma experienced by sexual assault victims.

The presence and contributions of women in this field, during an era of significant struggle for women’s rights, underscore the historical importance of Burgess’s work.

Mastermind: To Think Like a Killer is executive produced by Dakota and Elle Fanning, directed by Abby Fuller, and Dani Sloane serves as the showrunner. According to the Hulu press release, the documentary offers “unprecedented access to the mastermind behind the development of modern serial-killer profiling.” It narrates Burgess’s persistent story and her empathy for victims which placed her at the heart of some of America’s most notorious true-crime cases.

Source: 1428elm