This context comes from the show "Mindhunter". It's an exchange between a serial killer Edmund Kemper and an FBI agent Holden Ford. Ford is asking Kemper if he felt pleasure while he committed his murders.

Ford: So there's no pleasure, Ed?

Kemper: Sure there is. I just wanted the exaltation over the party. In other words, winning over death. They were dead and I was alive. That was the pleasure. I was the hunter, they were my victims.

win (one) over:

To earn one's support, affection, or appreciation.(Farlex Dictionary Of Idioms)

Does it mean that Kemper wanted to gain approval of death in the form of it not being him who is dying and the death's choice "to consume" the other person (i.e his victim)?

1 Answer 1


It seems to just mean "Beating death".

To understand why that makes sense you should look at the psychology that the authors have created for the serial killer. He sees the murder as a way to score a victory over Death. By murdering someone, he has decided who lives and who dies. He has taken that choice from Death, and by doing so he has won the game of life-and-death.

(Or something like that... he is meant to be insane, so don't expect what he says to make sense logically)

It doesn't appear (from context) to be the idiom "to win over".

  • But there is this preceding line "I just wanted the exaltation over the party". After giving it some thought I came up with an interpretation that the way Kemper derived the pleasure was from "being exalted over his victim" (being raised in rank over them) because he "won over death" (he won the approval of death by killing those people). It's really just an extremely twisted and violent form of low self-esteem. What do you think of this interpretation? Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 12:22
  • I think the best interpretation is that this is all about his victory. He defeats his victims and he defeats "death".
    – James K
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 14:36
  • But, do you really use "win over" in a sense of "to win" with someone? When I asked that stupid Chat Gdp it said that it's incorrect and I should use "win against" instead. Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 17:24
  • no, the use is odd. "win over" is normally an idiom. But the idiom doesn't seem to fit the context. Also the odd use of exult (ie raise above) this seems to be a theme in his raving.
    – James K
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 17:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .