“Mindhunter” Puts Spotlight on Kittanning for Netflix Series

MH Productions Associate Producer Bill Doyle was in Kittanning this week to set-up logistics with local police departments while crews film scenes for the Netflix psychological crime drama

MH Productions Associate Producer Bill Doyle was in Kittanning this week to set-up logistics with local police departments while crews film scenes for the Netflix psychological crime drama “Mindhunter.”

by Jonathan Weaver

Next weekend, the snow may be flying in Kittanning with plunging temperatures – but that’s exactly how the leadership behind Netflix’s next series wants it.

Scenes for Netflix’s psychological crime drama “Mindhunter” will be shot on the streets of downtown Kittanning January 21 and 22.

In an exclusive interview with MH Productions Associate Producer Bill Doyle, he said the series is based on the nonfiction book, “Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit” – which was written by former FBI Special Agent John Douglas.

“(Douglas), along with other agents, were essentially the people that put together the operational arm of the Behavioral Science Unit – the profilers,” Doyle said. “The story is about the formation of that unit.

“The book describes how they took what limited knowledge they had, how they added to that knowledge in order to be able to go to crime scenes and help figure out whom this person could be. They were remarkably successful.

“You’re not looking at fingerprints or other type of evidence so you know the person through old-school police work. What you’re looking at is what makes them tick, why they make those decisions, how they make those decisions, how did they get that way. Therefore, you have to get inside their head to where you become a criminal psychologist almost and not Sherlock Holmes looking for clues.

“It’s a psychological thriller/crime drama, and not one where you’re supposed to be able to solve it at the end of the hour before they do.”

“Mindhunter” began filming in May, but Doyle began working on the project a year prior after the inclusion of Director David Fincher – who he worked with on the movies “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Social Network.”

Production executives converged in Kittanning last Fall to plan the video recording of scenes for the Mind Hunter television series that will be filmed here next weekend. (photo by Ann Dranzik)

Production executives converged in Kittanning last Fall to plan the video recording of scenes for the Mind Hunter television series that will be filmed here next weekend. (photo by Ann Dranzik)

The series filming moves from the studio zone around the 31st Street Studios in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh to Kittanning to keep up with the change in seasons and represent Altoona in the 1970’s. Filming also took place in places such as Butler, Coraopolis, Tarentum and Vandergrift for season 1.

Altoona’s story arc spans a few episodes in the middle of the season – even if only about eight minutes of screentime will be ultimately used – but is part of the location library Doyle has amassed.

“We wanted to make sure that the scenes we were doing were very wintry – no leaves on the trees, the skies were going to be gray,” Doyle said. “There’s such an amazing diverse amount of locations to film here. Everywhere we look is another great diner, courthouse or street, and there’s very-minimal amount of work that we have to do to return it back to that feel and that time.

“It’s important stuff – it really sets a tone for the same reason why we waited until January to shoot it. We’re not searching for stuff the writers came up with – we’re giving the writers ideas to put stories into.”

Extras will get the opportunity to perhaps stand alongside Lancaster’s own-Jonathan Groff (known for his roles in “Glee” and “American Sniper”) and Holt McCallany (recently known for his roles in movies such as “Sully,” “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” and “Concussion.”)

“Both Jonathan and Holt are a blast to watch,” Doyle said.

Because of the nature of the series, Doyle has been to the FBI law enforcement training and research center in Quantico, Va.

“We’ve had really good access with the FBI. They’re a partner in helping us make sure we get our facts straight, make sure we get our procedures as correct as possible,” Doyle said. “A lot of two-way communication.”

Doyle, born 30 miles from New York City before moving to Los Angeles, actually got his start in broadcast news in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 25 years ago after graduating from Texas Christian University (TCU).

After graduating from Columbia College Chicago, Doyle’s son, Liam, is a camera production assistant on-set.

The series is on the last several weeks of the first season, and should be released in late Summer/early Fall.