'Mindhunter' Season 2: From 'lesbian' to 'full-time Quantico psychologist', how Dr. Wendy Carr differs from real-life Ann Wolbert Burgess
Dr. Wendy Carr's role is based on the life of academic Ann Wolbert Burgess who the Boston School hails as responsible for ensuring that nurses and physicians seek the consent of a sexual assault victim before physical examination.
David Fincher's 'Mindhunter' is a crime-thriller on Netflix based on the true-crime book 'Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit.' With the help of two FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), the show delves deeper into the minds of serial killers. Ford's character is based on the serial killer whisperer John E Douglas and Tench is inspired by retired FBI agent Robert Ressler. But did you know psychologist Dr. Wendy Carr's role is also based on real-life academic Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess'?
In the show, actress Anna Torv plays the bright and sharp psychologist Dr. Wendy Carr, who comes as a beacon of hope for the FBI agents as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s Behavioral Science Unit is hardly impressed with their idea of interviewing vicious criminals. In real life, Carr's character is based on a researcher who has pioneered assessing and treating trauma in rape victims. Moreover, the research was more collaborative with at least 10 people instead of just two FBI agents.
Dr. Burgess is a professor at the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College and she co-founded one of the first hospital-based crisis counseling programs at Boston City Hospital with Boston College sociologist Lynda Lytle Holmstrom. It was later that she came on board to consult John E. Douglas, Robert Ressler, and other FBI agents in the Behavioral Science Unit to develop modern psychological profiling for serial killers with expert testimony on sexual assaults. The William F. Connell School of Nursing's website says though about Prof. Burgess: "When a nurse or physician asks for permission before examining a sexual assault victim — giving an abused woman back a modicum of control over her body — it is largely because of the life’s work of Professor Ann Wolbert Burgess, whose body of work includes being a consultant for the FBI."
However, as opposed to the show, Burgess helped the FBI agents join the dots from Boston. In 'Mindhunter', Wendy Carr moves to Virginia when she gets a full-time offer at Quantico. That's not all. The show has taken many liberties with the character portrayal as it shows Carr to be a lesbian — who is shown to be in a relationship with Annaliese Stilman (Lena Olin), head of the Psychology Department at Boston University. In reality, however, Burgess is married to a man and has children.
In an interview with Pacific Standard, Burgess said, "I always have been an academic, but they take her down to [the FBI headquarters at] Quantico. I never moved down there like she did. I have children, and they've been a little bit nervous about the fact that they have me as a lesbian. That's been interesting. That's their right to portray it however they want." While Carr's character is seen as somewhat a trailblazer in the show, Burgess said she was just "trying to get her work done" but "of course, it was mainly male at that time."
Moreover, Ann Burgess is not a psychologist but rather a doctorally-prepared, board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. Among several of her accolades, she was recently conferred the Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) in October 2016.