After premiering on January 22, The Alienist proves to be an up-and-coming historic thriller that has great writing and amazing cinematography. The show boasts a knock-out cast, including Daniel Brühl (Colonia, Face of an Angel) as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast, Dracula Untold) as John Moore, and Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, Very Good Girls) as Sara Howard.
The series follows the investigation of a murdered boy prostitute in Victorian era New York. Brühl plays an “alienist”, defined in the episode as “experts who studied” those who suffered from mental illnesses and who were, therefore, “alienated from their own true nature”. He, as well as Evans, a New York Times illustrator, and Fanning, a secretary for the New York Police Department, become involved in the grisly killing, desperately searching for the murderer before he strikes again.
While that sounds very melodramatic, the show- or at least the pilot episode- keeps its tone from becoming too exaggerated. And, luckily, the series provides its audience an extremely raw perspective on this subject. The plot of this show is not one to be sugarcoated or romanticized and through the dialogue and stark imagery, The Alienist realistically portrays the murder without glazing over gruesome details.
However, because the series is still in its infancy, it lacks a lot of depth and it is a little confusing. Murder mysteries should be a puzzle but there are a lot of questions I am asking after watching the premiere. The future will tell what is actually going on in Dr. Kreizler’s mind, if the sparks between Moore and Howard will lead to anything in further episodes, and- most importantly- who the killer actually is! I guess we will just have to wait and find out.