Why Netflix's 'Mindhunter' Had a Cat Storyline

On Netflix’s Mindhunter, which follows two FBI agents interviewing serial killers to see what makes them tick, there’s no such thing as an innocent cat storyline.

The side plot begins in the seventh episode of the series, when Dr. Wendy Carr (played by Anna Torv) goes downstairs to do some laundry in her new apartment building. There, she hears meowing, and decides to bring some food for the cat. It’s gone the next day. She continues this until the ninth episode of the season, when she finds that the food she left out is covered with insects, meaning the cat is no longer around.

Torv revealed what was really going on with that storyline in an interview with TVLine interview posted on October 23. Originally, like many over on Reddit, she thought that there was deeper meaning to the scene:

“I thought, ‘This little kitten is representative of all these faceless [victims] and we only notice the ones that are dead because they have families that are looking for them. And then here’s this little abandoned cat that no one is going to care about. And if that was a person, it’d be the same thing.

But David Fincher, who executive produced the series and directed four episodes of the first season, told her that the scene’s purpose was much darker than that. In Torv’s words, he said that the storyline was supposed to hint that there could be “a kid in the building who’s going around killing cats. And it’s a birth of a new sociopath that we don’t quite know about. Because that’s how it starts — with [inflicting harm on] animals.”

The fact that it’s some “kid in the building” means we could be seeing some kind of follow-up to this storyline in Season 2, but it seems unlikely that the creators would want to push the idea of “serial killers, everywhere!” so hard. Plus, one of the interesting things about Mindhunter is the way it explores how the professional lives of the Behaviorial Science Unit seep into their personal ones, so more room for that would probably be a good thing.

Mindhunter: Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

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