Netflix ‘Mindhunter’ Crew Talks Sociology, Holds Open Auditions

Nov 07, 2018

Cal U students can learn more about the Netflix original series Mindhunter — and audition for roles as extras on the award-winning show — from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, in the Performance Center inside the Natali Student Center.


Dr. Emily Sweitzer, directs Cal U's program in social deviance. 


Now filming its second season, Mindhunter stars Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany as FBI agents who attempt to solve cases by exploring the deviant thinking of serial killers.

In Season 1, set in the 1970s and filmed in the greater Pittsburgh area, Netflix says the agents “expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters.”

The true-crime drama shines a spotlight on sociology, says Dr. Emily Sweitzer, a sociology professor and director of Cal U’s program in social deviance. At Cal U, a Mindhunter cast member and the show’s casting director will discuss the sociological principles the characters use to build a “profile” that can aid in understanding – and ultimately apprehending – these sadistic killers.

The show is based on the book Mindhunter by John Douglas, one of the original FBI profilers. Douglas holds a degree in sociology, Sweitzer says, and class discussions and exercises in Cal U’s deviance program – especially in the course Sociology and the Sociopath – focus on a sociological analysis of many of the actual killers portrayed in the Netflix series.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for students to gain a real-world perspective on how their degree in social deviance can be utilized,” Sweitzer said, “and to see how the principles discussed in class are applied and employed in a popular media series that is based on actual, historical FBI cases.

“For students to be able to interact firsthand with the cast, with their analyses in hand, is a phenomenal opportunity.”

In addition to teaching, Sweitzer consults for television programs such as Lucifer, Rosewood, The Blacklist, Bones, CSI and Notorious. She has completed training in violent behavior with former and retired members of the FBI’s behavioral science unit.

The program, held during Common Hour, is open to all members of the Cal U community.

Audition for ‘Mindhunter’

After the presentation, the casting director for Mindhunter will hold open auditions for “extras” to appear in the show’s second season, which references events from the 1970s.

People from a wide variety of backgrounds are needed.

Interested applicants can bring recent photos (one forward-facing portrait, from the waist up, and one profile image); and a page with contact information (your name, phone and email) and sizes (height, weight, waist measurement and shirt, pants and shoe sizes).

Successful applicants will be contacted with details about the filming schedule.