'Mindhunter' Season 2 Atlanta Child Murders: Podcasts, Movies, and More
From Manson to Son of Sam, here's the best books, podcasts, and movies to learn even more.
Mindhunter Season 2 is finally here, picking up right where the first season left off with FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) as they profile serial killers in the late ‘70s for the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. This time, they’ll apply their analysis to the Atlanta Child Murders, trying to solve the troubling murder spree in Atlanta’s black community, but they also spend time working on other cases and profiling other serial killers from Charles Manson to Son of Sam.
For anyone that wants to dive even deeper into the true crime stories behind these figures, here are a few more podcasts, shows, or books you can check out to learn even more about what you’ve learned in Mindhunter Season 2:
Atlanta Child Murders
Between 1979 and 1981, at least two-dozen black children and teenagers were kidnapped and killed in the Atlanta area. The victims’ ages ranged between 7 and 17, and they were predominantly male. Six murdered adults under the age of 30 were also believed to be victims of the same killer. The method of killing was, in most cases, strangulation or asphyxiation. Bodies were disposed in seemingly random locations throughout the city, inspiring panic and fear in local residents.
History tells us that Wayne Williams was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, but the truth is much more murky than that. Maybe these can help:
Mindhunter the show loosely adapts the memoirs of John E. Douglas co-written by Mark Olshaker. Douglas helped found the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI in real life. Chapter 11 of the book is dedicated to his experiences joining in the investigation into the Atlanta Child Murders.
From Tenderfoot TV and iHeart Media and hosted by Up and Vanished creator Payne Lindsey, Atlanta Monster examines the facts of the Atlanta Child Murders 40 years after they happened. IndieWire called it “the first blockbuster podcast of 2018,” and its timing not long before Mindhunter Season 2 couldn’t be better.
Sometimes referred to as simply “BTK” or “the BTK Strangler,” Dennis Rader gave himself the acronym title that stands for “Bind, Torture, Kill.” Between 1974 and 1991, he murdered 10 people in Kansas. It wasn’t until he began sending letters to law enforcement in the early 2000s detailing each of his crimes that he was eventually caught.
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark talked about the BTK Killer in their August 15, 2017 episode of My Favorite Murder. In the hit podcast, they each present a murder case and discuss the implications in a casual, accessible way.
A non-fiction author and professor of forensic psychology, Katherine Ramsland wrote this “guided autobiography” of Dennis Rader after five years of correspondence.
Son of Sam
Sometimes referred to as the .44 Caliber Killer or the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz killed six and wounded seven people in New York City during the summer of 1976 with a gun. The case achieved worldwide renown thanks to the letters Berkowitz left behind at crime scenes mocking the police.
Spike Lee’s film all about the Son of Sam may have reviews that place it as a middling movie, but it’s a solid examination of the terror that Berkowitz’ attacks instilled in the people of New York City.
In the September 21, 2017 episode of My Favorite Murder, Karen and Georgia discussed the Son of Sam.
Perhaps one of the most famous serial killers of all time, Charles Manson was also showcased (by the same actor who plays him in Mindhunter, no less) in this summer’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. A cult leader who believed the end of the world was coming, Manson sought to execute an apocalyptic race war prophecy called Helter Skelter. In the summer of 1969, the Manson Family (his followers) executed a string of murders on his behalf.
Karina Longworth’s “You Must Remember This” podcast structure is applied to Charles Manson’s story in “Charles Manson’s Hollywood,” a 12-episode podcast series that recounts the entire story step-by-step.
This 1976 film depicts the murder trial of Charles Manson.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Film
Quentin Tarantino alters history in dramatic fashion in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, essentially focusing on fictional people in Hollywood during the Manson Family’s rise to power that may or may not drastically change the course of history, similar to how the titular Inglorious Basterds kill Hitler in the WWII alt-history film.
Mindhunter Season 2 is now available on Netflix.