Is the Netflix original series Mindhunter inspired by Heavy Rain. The two protagonists almost seem like they were dragged from the game and dropped into the series.
1977—in the early days of criminal psychology and criminal profiling at the Federal Bureau of Investigation—Mindhunter revolves around FBI agents Holden Ford, played by Jonathan Groff, and Bill Tench, played by Holt McCallany, along with psychologist Wendy Carr who originate the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit within the Training Division at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They interview imprisoned serial killers in order to understand how they think, with the hope of applying this knowledge to solve ongoing cases.
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Although the series concept was inspired by the non-fiction novel, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, by retired FBI agent John E. Douglas, it has a lot in common with the popular Quantic Dream game, Heavy Rain–so much, in fact, that it might be inspired by it.
Mindhunter shares a similar theme. In Heavy Rain, a city on the US east coast is being terrorised by the ‘Origami Killer’, whose victims are all discovered drowned, four days after they go missing. Seemingly the only clues: an origami figure and an orchid, discovered on each of their bodies. The public is gripped by fear and paranoia.
Two of the game’s protagonists, Scott Shelby and Norman Jayden, are almost identical to the series protagonists, Holden Ford and Bill Tench. Anyone who has played Heavy Rain should agree. Mindhunter feels a lot like it.
Just take a look at how similar these characters actually are.
Norman Jayden/Holden Ford
Jayden is an intelligent and dedicated FBI profiler who uses his wits instead of his instincts in order to solve crimes.
He is also somewhat asocial and appears as if he is not completely used to socialising with others outside of his duties as an investigator. He comes across as sympathetic, appearing to understand people due to his knowledge of psychology and is noticeably distraught if he is forced to kill someone. Jayden appears somewhat lonely; unlike the other characters, he doesn’t seem to have any family or friends, nor does he have a love life.
Ford is a special agent in the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit, which he co-founded along with Bill Tench. His job is to find out what motivates killers, especially those who kill for sexual pleasure, although he often veers off-task into other criminal proceedings. This is usually due to his arrogance, head-strong persona, and disregard for both authority and moral obligations. He himself does not display any seemingly violent traits; however, he very easily connects with killers and elicits statements from them.
The two characters are both clean cut, young confident agents who use new-age methods that the rest of the bureau disagree with. They also both suffer from psychological stress disorder brought on by their work.
Scott Shelby/Bill Tench
Shelby is former United States Marine and police lieutenant, Scott has worked as a private investigator since his retirement from the police force. He is quiet, organized, vigilant, and highly introverted, hardly ever talking about himself to others. Being someone who listens to others, methodical in work, straight-eyed, determined, and able to cope under pressure makes Scott Shelby an effective private investigator, allowing him to assess human behaviour and perceive clues other people may miss.
Tench, much like Shelby, is straight-eyed, determined and handles pressure like a boss. He’s the old-hat agent who, although prefers to do things by the books, is willing to set his own bias aside for the sake of the investigation. Tench seems like a younger version of Shelby yet the similarities are uncanny. The way Tench walks, talks, gestures, and even dresses reminds me of Scott Shelby.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the show and its characters are heavily inspired by Heavy Rain?