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MBTI of Mindhunter Characters

The second season of David Fincher’s neo-noir crime thriller Mindhunter dropped in August of 2019. The runaway success of 2017 proved that it could do it again with most of the same characters, some new serial killers, and new challenges. 

Unlike season one, which primarily saw the main characters—Holden Ford, Bill Tench, and Dr. Wendy Carr—study murderers who were already incarcerated, this season switched back and forth between incarcerated subjects like Charles Manson and an ongoing crime spree and investigation in Atlanta, Georgia. Viewers also got to dive deeper into the lives and psyches of the characters. Based on the 19 episodes, here are the MBTIs of ten of Mindhunter’s most interesting characters.

10 Holden Ford - ENTP, The Debater

If there’s ever been a more perfect example of an ENTP, I can’t think of it. Holden checks every box for ENTPs: His Extraverted and Intuitive traits make him charming, energetic, and magnetic, which is what makes him such an excellent interviewer. His Intuitive and Thinking traits combine to make him a curious, quick, and original thinker, which is what makes him great at his work. 

Holden has all of ENTP’s downsides too though. He loathes bureaucracy and is intolerant of being questioned. His unique combinations of Prospecting, Intuitive, and Extraverted traits means he tries to steamroll people into believing what he believes, often before he has solid evidence. He needs INTPs like Dr. Wendy Carr and ISTJs like Agent Bill Tench to keep him in line.

9 Bill Tench — ISTJ, The Logistician 

Holden’s primary partner at work, Agent Bill Tench, is a very good foil for the reckless Debater. Bill is calm, methodical, and practical, some of the most clear examples of his Thinking and Judging traits. His extreme Introverted traits means he plays takes on more than his fair share of responsibility and plays his cards close to his chest, as we see in season two when he withholds information about his family until he’s close to cracking from the pressure. 

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Bill is honest, direct, and extremely responsible. These traits make for a great FBI agent. He’s also a sort of jack-of-all-trades, and while he’d rather play by the book he can roll with the punches better than most.

8 Dr. Wendy Carr — INTP, The Logician

The Logician personality type is almost a scientist stereotype. For better or worse, Dr. Carr fits it well. Her unique combination of Intuitive and Thinking traits make her brilliant and innovative. Her Prospecting traits mean she’s imaginative, which is what allows her to change course when new evidence presents itself. 

Unfortunately, her Intuitive traits and preference for Thinking over Feeling means she can come across as cold, insensitive, and even condescending, as viewers see most with her girlfriend Kay in season two. While she struggles to open herself up, she doesn’t struggle with understanding others, and she can be warm to anyone if given time (and not crossed). 

7 Nancy Tench — ISFJ, The Defender

While it may seem lazy to cast a stay-at-home mom as a caretaker type, Nancy Tench fits the criteria pretty well. It’s probably because of her Introverted traits that we don’t see her bonding with a whole cast of fellow stay-at-home moms. While her Feeling traits mean she’s usually supportive of Bill’s work, her practical Observing side makes her consider their social status. She worries that his work is so uncomfortable that it shouldn’t be discussed with the neighbors. 

Her driving motivation is caring for her son. She protects her son fiercely and will do what she feels is right for him, even if that means leaving Bill. She takes conflict personally, and sometimes represses her feelings until she explodes, which we see repeatedly. If she and Bill weren’t both such strong Introverts or he had a little more Prospecting in him, they might have had an easier time together in season two.

6 Agent Gregg Smith — ESFJ, The Consul

Gregg’s job at Quantico is largely relegated to paperwork—analyzing interviews, creating transcripts, collating information. That works well with his Extraverted, Observing, and Judging traits which combine to make him a team player. In season two he gets to step out a bit and experience the more Prospecting side of research—and unfortunately finds himself out of his depth.  

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ESFJs do really well with clearly defined roles. They thrive with structure, safety, and guidelines, and often have very strong moral compasses. It’s no wonder Gregg struggles to connect with a serial killer and tries to keep the BSU on the straight and narrow. He’s doing what he does best, and without him Holden would be a runaway horse with the BSU struggling to keep up. 

5 Jim Barney — ENFP, The Campaigner

An ENFP seems like a slightly surprising personality to find in the FBI, at least compared to the other personalities we see at Quantico. Despite being largely Intuitive, ENFPs are also very Observant, which is a great combination for investigators, and we see that when Jim steers Pierce with sweets during an interview. Like all Extroverted and Feeling types, he’s popular, friendly, and a great communicator. But he tends to overthink things, and while he has Prospecting skills, he also knows when to stay in his lane, which we see throughout the Atlanta Child Murders investigation. 

Campaigners like Jim often struggle under too many rules, and while his work at the FBI is regimented, his larger struggles are with the racist systemic inequality in Atlanta. The FBI plays to his love for exploring ideas and see new things everyday.  

4 Assistant Director Gunn — ENTJ, The Commander

Commander personalities are naturally suited to leadership positions, and Assistant Director Gunn could not more clearly excel in his role at Quantico. His Extraversion and Thinking traits make him efficient, clear, and strong-willed. He can see a path forward clearly because of his Intuitive traits, but his Judging means he can tend to want things to be by the book—his book. 

Gunn risks making an enemy out of Dr. Carr when he prioritizes his Judging ways and ignores his Intuition of her own needs. By keeping her in Quantico instead of sending her out into the field, he demonstrates the worst traits of the Commander type. He can be stubborn, but he’s most often charismatic, inspiring, and strategic, he just has to be careful. 

3 Kay Manz — INFP, The Mediator

The bartender Wendy begins dating halfway through season two is a pretty classic INFP. She’s idealistic and thinks of herself as a progressive hippy type, but so desires harmony that she tends to bend herself in pretzels to make very different people happy—namely Wendy versus her ex-husband. Her Prospecting and Feeling traits make her a good bartender and a wonderful friend, but the same traits mean she dislikes dealing with the drudgery of day-to-day life. 

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She compartmentalizes and can be difficult to get to know, but Kay is passionate and energetic. She and Wendy aren’t a good long-term match, but they have fun while they’re together. 

2 Edmund Kemper — ESTJ, The Executive

It turns out that there’s no clear MBTI personality for serial killers, so there’s no easy label for us to assign to Edmund Kemper just because he’s a dangerous and terrifying murderer. Kemper is also difficult to categorize because it seems like he was one way as a child—quiet, bullied, introverted—but friendly and even gregarious while in jail. 

That said, the Kemper Mindhunter presents might be an ESTJ. Executive personality types are often strong-willed, direct, and honest because of their Extraverted and Observing traits. Kemper is patient and even reliable, which is how Holden is able to connect with him. Like all ESTJs though, Kemper can be judgmental, and has some difficulty expressing his own emotions—he tends to see things through an intellectual distancing lens. Though incarcerated for horrific crimes, he thrives well in prison where the rules keep him in line and he’s able to flex his organizing and dedicating traits by helping the FBI and organizing Bible studies.

1 Debbie Mitford — ENTP, The Debater

Holden and his ex-girlfriend Debbie have a lot in common; too much, in fact. They’re both big Thinkers, into their studies of sociology and the human mind. Debbie is quick, original, and very charismatic. She draws Holden, as well as others, to her easily. 

Unfortunately, Debbie is as argumentative as Holden. Though she has Prospecting tendencies, which make her a good intellectually, she has strong Thinking traits and believes everyone should bend to her moral code. When their relationship was happy, Debbie's and Holden’s shared Extraverted and Intuitive traits would wind each other up, but their argumentative traits drive each other crazy; their relationship was never going to last long term. 

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