Mindhunter Season 2 featured a veritable clown car of serial killers, but Season 3 could feature the Killer Clown himself. A subtle Easter egg in the show’s recently released second season seems to confirm that John Wayne Gacy could play a major role in Mindhunter Season 3.
The clue comes early in Season 2 during a scene featuring the various members of the FBI’s budding Behavioral Science Unit meeting in their basement office. With the BSU team assembled for the first time since Season 1, Dr. Wendy Carr briefs her coworkers on the various imprisoned serial killers they plan to interview as the scope of their work expands. The scene mostly focuses on introducing William Henry Hance (another S2 killer), but a closer look at Carr’s list of psychopaths reveals an even more intriguing name.
“Gacy, J.W.” refers to John Wayne Gacy. Because of the angle, it’s tough to tell whether we’re looking at a photo of the actual killer or an actor hired by Mindhunter to portray him. However, his mouth does seem to be closed in this screenshot, whereas it’s open in a disturbing smile in his actual real-life mugshot.
It’s tough to say for sure, but assuming that the photo in Mindhunter is an actor playing Gacy and not Gacy himself, that could be even more evidence that Netflix already has someone earmarked for the role in Season 3. Either way, it definitely seems like Mindhunter is setting up the Clown Killer as a future in-depth interview on the show.
It’s also worth noting that John Douglas (the real-life FBI agent Holden Ford is based on) really did interview Gacy. In a 1999 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Douglas explained that Gacy had access to a phone and would call Douglas at his office in Quantico, Virginia.
Gacy also served as a perfect example of the central findings of the BSU’s work: that serial killers can easily blend into society. Said Douglas:
“We used him as a training tool to basically show how a guy like Gacy was almost like a chameleon. How he could blend into society. He can have a job and be very, very functional, married and belong to a political party and have his picture taken with Rosalynn Carter. These people don’t look odd. They look like you and I and can blend into society. To this day, people think that serial killers look different than us, act different than us.”
Who Is John Wayne Gacy?
Between the years 1972 and ‘78, Gacy raped, tortured, and murdered at least 33 teenage boys. Most of them were killed and buried in his home in Cook County, Illinois. Publicly, Gacy often appeared at local events dressed as a clown, later earning him the alias “the Killer Clown.”
Gacy was convicted and sentenced to death in 1980 and executed by lethal injection in 1994.
Mindhunter Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Netflix.