Customer Reviews: Nova: The Mind of a Serial Killer [VHS]
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on August 23, 2007
Since the 1960's, the murder rate in the United States has doubled and an average of 55 people are killed every day. Some of the most difficult homicides to solve are those perpetrated on complete strangers due to a lack of easily identifiable suspects and no evident motives.

Over 1000 cases are examined annually regarding serial offenders and the FBI's Investigative Analysis division is often the group that is tasked with attempting to find these elusive killers. Describing techniques developed in the 1970's, current processes used in crime scene investigation and criminal profiling is looked at here. Some of these methods have proven successful after discovering patterns and behaviors of some killers.

While many cases can be solved using good old fashioned detective work, others are difficult due to the unpredictability of some serial killers and this is what makes them the more disturbing and frightening of all criminals. Interviews with psychiatrists and law enforcement officials offer insights into the abnormal and devious mindset of these offenders.

Although short references are made to several high profile criminal cases and famous serial killers in this program, the latter half of this documentary focuses primarily on Arthur Shawcross and his killing spree of numerous prostitutes in Rochester, New York. This is quite interesting in and of itself because there is a detailed examination of all the work that went into solving this crime.

This feature isn't all encompassing because it's hard to tackle such an intriguing and in-depth topic in only one hour of material. NOVA leans more toward the science of profiling and behavioral studies more than anything else but they do it well in my opinion. I just wish they would produce longer shows as the topics they document are usually very appealing.
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on February 6, 2001
NOVA: MIND OF A SERIAL KILLER examines the horrifying reality of serial killers. This video, narrated by THE X-MEN's Patrick Stewart, looks at how law enforcement (FBI, etc.) deals with this type of criminal. The video examines different types of serial killers (organised, disorganised), the makings of a serial killer, case histories, and the process known as criminal profiling. Criminal profiling has been used to track down & convict serial killers like Wayne Williams & others.
The video also tracks down the investigation of murdered prostitutes in the Rochester area. The investigation led to the capture & conviction of Arthur Shawcross. Shawcross was a recently paroled sex slayer who was found responsible of at least 10 murders. Using criminal profiling along with other evidence, the FBI successfully imprisoned Shawcross to a term of life imprisonment.
NOVA: MIND OF A SERIAL KILLER is a must-have for true crime afficionados. Highly recommended.
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on February 23, 2008
This documentary is a compelling look inside the process of catching a serial killer through criminal profiling, it follows an FBI team on the hunt for Arthur Shawcross, the murderer of 11 prostitutes in Upstate New York, as well as touching on some other cases, including the Son of Sam Murders and others. It is interesting to watch how these FBI investigators can pin point an individual so throughly through profiling. The only complaint that I have about this documentary is that it, being made in 1992, is a little outdated, but never the less compelling.
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on September 8, 2002
This dvd is just extraordinary, so very interesting and extremely well done. Once again, you have John Douglas in it and that's such a treat for anyone interested in profiling.
This dvd is so interesting that you'll be upset when it's over, buy it without hesitation.
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on February 9, 2013
This DVD is fairly dated. I teach some criminal justice courses in upstate NY and bought this because I knew it contained a substantial focus on area killer Arthur Shawcross. And for this purpose it works well as I have the students watch in class and then complete an assignment related to Shawcross. But, if I were buying for the larger topic of serial killers without being concerned about one in particular, I would now go for more updated material, such as the "Most Evil" series. Don't get me wrong, it's good- but you're getting into a time machine and will be able to tell you're watching something produced last generation (from a person in 2013).
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on May 9, 2012
I have seen several episodes of FBI files and Case Studies in Forensic Science, where there were individualized and in-depth treatment of cases covering behavioral profiling. Because I find forensic psychology interesting, I decided to buy any show that talks about this topic, and also because I ran out of FBI files and Forensic shows to watch. And so the purchase was made.

I can't say that it was exactly bad, but it's just that I already knew everything what they featured, probably even more, so to me, it was a total waste of time and money.

To put it another way, the show was like a trailer to a very good movie.

If you've seen any in-depth or detailed discussion about behavioral profiling, such as FBI files or Case Studies in Forensic Science, by all means, keep out. If not, it would be a show that will pique your curiosity towards behavioral science and will pave the way for a very fascinating interest.
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on July 19, 2011
I enjoyed this Documentary mainly because one of the persons was a local serial killer in the Rochester NY area, Arthur Shawcross. Interesting how the doctors describe persons with killing tendencies.
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on September 7, 2002
My husband and I watched this together. It's not long enough to keep you enthralled, but it is intriguing to delve into the minds of some of these psychos and see what makes them tick. NOVA does a good job as a documentary, but doesn't really go into depth about the makings of a serial killer, or the profiling of a serial killer. The film would have been much better had it been better researched and lengthier, but it is still a fascinating review of some of the famous serial killers of our time.
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on February 5, 2001
This NOVA segment explores the serial murder phenomenon. Although it covers a number of issues related to serial murder, the focus is on the case of Arthur Shawcross, a serial killer who murdered several prostitutes in Rochester, New York. What's fascinating about this particular video is how it builds up to Shawcross' arrest. The documentary does a great job of capturing the sense of terror that must have existed in that community during the time of the murders.
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on March 9, 2013
This was a very interesting film. I loved all the interviews and discussions that took place in it. It manages to give a lot of information without being too disturbing.
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