What the Killer Sees: Avatar

Returning after a short sabbatical, What the Killer Sees is pulling out the big guns for this edition. As a nod to the recently released podcast interview with writer Michael R. Perry—a highlight of the Millennium Group Sessions’ entire run and a very revealing interview that I highly recommend—we turn our attention to one of the most popular episodes in Millennium’s entire run and an antagonist to rival Lucy Butler as Frank Black’s archnemesis…

Killer: Avatar

Episode: “The Mikado” (6 February 1998)

Writer: Michael R. Perry

Director: Roderick J. Pridy

Quote: “Avatar will tell us how to find him. And then, after he escapes, he proves his superiority.” --Frank Black

Profile: Avatar is a highly organised killer. The degree to which he stages his murders and the level of pre-planning demanded by the obtuse clues he leaves in his wake along with their complexity all indicate this and point to an extremely high intellect. He is also very unusual in a couple of respects. Whilst most serial killers follow a particular modus operandi, even when this develops over the course of a killer’s career, Avatar has completely changed his approach from a decade previously. Also, it is notably rare for a serial killer to go for such a long period as this without any activity unless incarcerated or otherwise restricted. Perhaps Avatar has simply evaded detection over this period, although this seems unlikely, since what truly defines him and forms his overriding motive is the extent and methods by which he taunts the authorities that would seek to catch him. This sociopathology not only leads to him asserting a level of control and superiority over the authorities as he demands that they “defer” to him—“The Lord High Executioner”—but also cultivated a culture of fear and infamy from his previous killings.

This should not detract, however, from the fact that Avatar has another motive belying his crimes. His typology is that he selects couples, killing the male and then enslaving the female before murdering her. He thus seeks to usurp the men and gain control and ownership over the women he murders. Frank Black gives an insight into this element of his motive by voicing what he “sees” as the investigative team seeks his lair:

You slaughtered that young girl for no other reason than you wanted to. You hate yourself but you feel like you're God at the same time. But maybe the bitch had it coming. I watched the life blood drain from her body. And now she is mine forever. I showed her to the world. And now I have her in a safe place where I can see her any time I want.

Avatar is, of course, closely based upon the Zodiac Killer. Various particulars of the cases and the killers mirror one another: the use of ciphers, delivering a minute change to a known text in his encrypted messages, the taunting of the police, the adoption of a symbol as a calling card, the evasion of capture, even down to sending of a segment of The Mikado to the authorities.

Kills: 22

Investigation: The most notable aspect of this latest investigation into Avatar’s killings of course derives from the fact that the murders are broadcast online; it offers a social comment in that the public’s voyeurism precipitates the bloody culmination, making them complicit to the crime. “The web has become his world” as Frank puts it. Given it is not immediately clear where the crimes are being perpetrated, no-one has jurisdiction; it is as though Avatar has selected the medium to highlight this shortfall in the law, or maybe even to defy Frank Black’s gift. As Frank indicates when it is suggested his apparent re-appearance is in fact a copycat killer:

The most recent events are not a copy. It's a whole new creation, from the slipstream of electrons, a world as real as life or death but that disappears in the blink of an eye. The devil has a new playground.

Nevertheless, assisted by Roedecker unleashed on the Millennium Group’s state of the art technology and Frank Black’s instincts, albeit muted by the fact he is not present at the crime scene, the investigation closes in on Avatar’s location by unravelling some of his subtle clues. Ultimately, though, Avatar manages to stay one step ahead and proves he is still a rare match for Frank’s gift, escaping from the stage on which he has performed for him and for us in order to fight—and kill—another day.

Charity Auction Round Five

Amidst a swathe of other activity here at Back to Frank Black, we have now commenced Round Five of the charity auction! Our eBay auction page now has the following items up for bidding:

  1. A complete series DVD box set of Space: Above and Beyond signed by Glen Morgan, Kristen Cloke and James Morrison
  2. A Special Edition DVD of Aliens accompanied by a 10"x14" signed photo of Lance Henriksen as Bishop
  3. Lance Henriksen's autographed copy of his script from Tarzan II
  4. Lance Henriksen's autographed copy of his script from Nature of the Beast including his own notes from filming
  5. Lance Henriksen's autographed copy of his script from Baja including his own notes from filming
As with previous rounds, all of these exclusive items are being auctioned in aid of Children of the Night, so please get bidding now and dig deep for this very worthy charity.

Write a letter to FX!

It has begun. The time is now to send your letters to FX!

In the wake of our landmark "Make or Break" podcast, the creators behind Millennium have given the Back to Frank Black campaign a new focus: FX! In order to bring Frank Black to FX, however, we need you to add your voice to the campaign. To help you help us, help you help Frank Black, we've written up a letter that will ensure your voice is heard!

There are three approaches to writing your letter to FX: 1) A pre-prepared letter you can print and sign. 2) An letter download which can be edited and customized. 3) A simple letterhead for you to print and write your own personal letter on. (These options are also available on the Back to Frank Black letters page.)

And if you've not heard Lance's plea on this, take a listen to his message on Facebook! As Lance says, "We can take the power in our own hands with Millennium... Start mailing!"

Here are the links. Download the letter template of your choice and get writing! Express how you feel about Millennium and its future. This is our chance to let FX know that there is an audience eagerly awaiting the return of Frank Black!

1) PDF letter. You just need to print this out and sign it!

2) DOC download. This provides a starting template you can then personalise, print out and sign!

3) PDF letterhead. Print this letterhead and write your own letter!

Where do you send it?

Senior Vice President for
Original Programming at FX
Danielle Woodrow
Twentieth Century Fox
10201 W. Pico Blvd.
Bldg. 88, Room 132
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Michael R Perry speaks to Back to Frank Black!

We've been waiting ages to release this interview. Finally, here we are! This is it! This is our exclusive interview with Michael R Perry, writer of some of Millennium's top stories and a key player in season three! Don't miss this!

PLUS: We talk about the next phase in the campaign as we follow the implications of the "Make or Break" podcast to their logical conclusions! This includes a new address for sending your letters. We are now focusing the campaign on trying to get the FX channel to consider the potential in Frank Black's return! Write to FX, let them know just how passionate you are about seeing Millennium back on television...

Senior Vice President for
Original Programming at FX
Danielle Woodrow
Twentieth Century Fox
10201 W. Pico Blvd.
Bldg. 88, Room 132
Los Angeles, CA 90035

More information on the podcast!

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