Is Ted Gunn From 'Mindhunter' Season 2 Based On A Real Person? Michael Cerveris' Character Redirects The BSU
Holden, Bill, and Wendy have enough on their plate trying to catalog the thoughts and patterns of some of America's most violent killers at the top of Mindhunter Season 2, but an unexpected change in management leaves the Behavioral Science Unit uncertain about the future of their division. Michael Cerveris' Mindhunter character, Ted Gunn, isn't based on one real person but is instead a fictional character that represents the FBI wanting to keep a closer eye on the BSU. While Holden suspects this is just a run-of-the-mill change coming from his former boss retiring, the revelation that Robert Shepard was pushed out and didn't choose to retire voluntarily suggests that Gunn will be trying to keep the unit's agenda in check.
Gunn's arrival at the BSU indicates a shift in the very intent of the unit. While the group is still interviewing and collecting information from imprisoned serial killers and examining cold cases, Holden and Bill are also asked to put their learnings into practice more often, specifically in the case of the Atlanta Child Murders.
Gunn seems to be impressed by Holden's work in particular, but asks that Bill and Wendy keep a watchful eye on Holden lest his out-of-the-box ideas land him in trouble.
Michael Cerveris is no stranger to playing powerful people who shuffle a show's chessboard and throws its characters into disarray, having played manipulative State's Attorney James Castro on The Good Wife and the Tony-winning role of overbearing patriarch Bruce Bechdel on Broadway's Fun Home. His role in Mindhunter even makes for a mini-Fringe reunion of sorts, as previously played an otherworldly being known as an Observer by the name of September opposite Anna Torv, the actress who plays Wendy Carr.
While Ted Gunn is nowhere near as mysterious as September, Cerveris' scenes with Torv are a nice throwback to their relationship in Fringe which saw Torv's Olivia attempting to do important within the confines of what September asked of her.
Cerveris' distinct appearance and penchant for playing sinister characters forced the actor to clear up to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ahead of Mindhunter Season 2's premiere that he would not be playing a serial killer. "People just assumed I would be playing one of the killers," Cerveris explained, "Someone on the internet even put my face side by side with a picture of David Berkowitz, speculating I would play him." While Cerveris' doesn't portray any of the show's chilling serial killers, Cerveris' role has a much larger impact on the overarching narrative of Mindhunter.
There's no telling how much of a role Gunn will play in the show's future, but he does seem to allow BSU access to people they only dreamed of. Gunn tells the BSU that he'll get them a sit-down with Charles Manson, and he does exactly that. Gunn may be able to bring down an iron fist on the BSU if they stray from their lane, but he's also able to open doors for that the unit only dreamed of having access to.