The Alienist premieres January 22, 9pm on TNT.
By Ariba Bhuvad
From True Detective director and producer, Cary Fukunaga comes TNT’s psychological crime thriller, The Alienist. With a star-studded cast inclusive of Luke Evans (Beauty and The Beast), Dakota Fanning (I Am Sam), and Daniel Bruhl (Captain America: Civil War), it would be no surprise if this show made its way to critical acclaim.
Based in 1896 New York City, the show exudes a dark, mysterious vibe that transports us back in time to the scene of a gruesome murder. A murder that has taken place in the most heinous, disturbing way—of a young child prostitute. This murder unfolds the premise behind the plot of The Alienist. As the intro of the show informs us, an alienist is an “individual that studies those suffering from mental illness, thought to be alienated from their true natures.” A term quite specific to that era helps to set the tone, atmosphere, and social climate of the late 1800s.
As the story continues to unfold, an investigative team is formed to explore the mystery of this horrendous crime. This team, assembled by police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) involved criminal psychologist, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl), newspaper illustrator, John Moore (Luke Evans), and police secretary Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning). Together they dive into the darkest aspects of this crime, discovering this particular murder is not a first time offense—and thus their investigation must remain a secret.
The vibe and feel of The Alienist is perhaps one of its most redeeming qualities (apart from the stellar cast, acting, and story). The suspenseful music, the elaborate costumes, and the production design all produce a phenomenal platform that make up the essence of this intriguing show. Based on Caleb Carr’s 1994 crime novel, The Alienist promises to deliver one hell of a mystery, sucking us all in for the drama, suspense, and horror of it all.
I give The Alienist an A-.