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Why you won’t see another season of ‘Mindhunter’ anytime soon

  • In January, the actors in Netflix's "Mindhunter" were released from their contracts, signaling a long delay before a third season of the show would be made.
  • Now coshowrunner David Fincher admits that a third season is very unlikely to happen. 
  • "Listen, for the viewership that it had, it was a very expensive show," Fincher said in an interview with Vulture. "And on some level, you have to be realistic — dollars have to equal eyeballs."
  • The show wasn't officially canceled by Netflix, but fans shouldn't expect season three. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

At the start of this year, Netflix's original drama series "Mindhunter" was put on an indefinite hold, and now its future looks even more bleak. There are no current plans to make a third season thanks a combination of low viewership, expensive production costs, and the strenuous work the show requires.

In January 2020, TVLine reported that the show's executive producer and coshowrunner David Fincher was working on other projects. This led to the company's decision to release the "Mindhunter" actors from their contracts, though the show wasn't formally canceled.

"David is focused on directing his first Netflix film 'Mank' and on producing the second season of 'Love, Death and Robots,'" a Netflix representative said in a statement. "He may revisit 'Mindhunter' again in the future, but in the meantime felt it wasn't fair to the actors to hold them from seeking other work while he was exploring new work of his own."

But now, ahead of the premiere of Fincher's movie "Mank," the director says a third season of "Mindhunter" is a very distant possibility. Speaking with Vulture, Fincher said making the second season was a huge challenge. 

"When I got done, I was pretty exhausted, and I said, 'I don't know if I have it in me right now to break season three,'" Fincher said.

FBI agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford on "Mindhunter."
Netflix

Netflix doesn't release full viewing numbers to the public. But, as former Netflix showrunner Jonathan Entwistle told Insider, the company will disclose viewership data to individual show creators for their own series. 

Fincher told Vulture that the viewership for "Mindhunter" didn't seem high enough to justify the cost for the show.  

"Listen, for the viewership that it had, it was a very expensive show," Fincher said. "We talked about, 'Finish "Mank" and then see how you feel,' but I honestly don't think we're going to be able to do it for less than I did season two. And on some level, you have to be realistic — dollars have to equal eyeballs."

Fincher's comments about the relationship between cost and viewership will be familiar to anyone closely following Netflix's recent TV show cancellations. 

"The biggest thing that we look at is, are we getting enough viewership to justify the cost of the series?" former vice president of Netflix originals, Cindy Holland, said during a Television Critics Association event in 2018.

Actor Cameron Britton starred in "Mindhunter" as the real-life serial killer Ed Kemper.
Netflix

"We also look at other things: how beloved the fan community is, how social a title is," Holland continued, as reported by IGN. "There are lots of other things that we look at that you all can also see out in the world. But we are deliberate and thoughtful, and there are a lot of things that go into the decision."

So does all this mean "Mindhunter" will never return to Netflix? There's still a sliver of hope for fans, given that the streaming service hasn't officially stamped the show as "canceled." 

A Netflix representative confirmed with Vulture that a third season was unlikely, but added, "Maybe in five years."

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