FBI agent, author and crime consultant to the seriously minded, true crime fraternity turns 77 tomorrow.
This guy is depicted in the very polished Netflix series called Mindhunter that is getting a bit old now, but if you have not seen it I envy you, you get to see it fresh. I have watched it at least twice and would love to see a new series if they ever get around to one. Both seasons are very highly recommended by us. Here is the Netflix description:
‘In the late 1970s two FBI agents expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters.’
John Douglas is one of the few true detectives I have up on a very high shelf. He and Robert Ressler were part of the pioneer days of profiling offenders based on the crime scenes they left behind. They and others interviewed convicted serial killers at length to try and learn what to look for. This involved painstaking research, massive amounts of travel and the odious task of ‘making friends’ with creatures everyone else would like to avoid.
The series on Netflix was dramatized to the extent of not using the FBI agent’s real name. I don’t know why that is ,but we have learned that what is in drama should not be relied on for its accuracy haven’t we? The good news is that John Douglas and Robert Ressler wrote their autobiographies and you can see some links below.
Profiling became all the rage in popular writing after the movie Silence of The Lambs in 1991 and there were very high hopes for the process in law enforcement. The idea of giving murder squad detectives an outline of what their prey might look like and how they may act is a very enticing one. In the hands of a really skilled practitioner it is indeed a brilliant tool when tracking a killer. It does have its limits though. My own view is that as the process was taught out from the original masters like Ressler and Douglas it became watered down in the teaching. That is my theory anyway so by all means put me straight on it.
My point is that what the original team did should be honoured. So happy birthday John Douglas, may you have many more of them.