It’s hard enough to keep up with current TV, but keeping track of all of the upcoming projects (especially during this manic week of network upfronts) can be impossible. That’s the pass I’m giving myself, anyway, for not realizing that The Alienist was a thing, and rather a gem at that. The TNT series comes from Cary Fukunaga (True Detective), based on the novel by Caleb Carr. Taking place in 1896 New York, the series focuses on two men tasked (by Teddy Roosevelt!) with solving grisly serial murders, who are aided by a police secretary along the way.
The title comes from the name of those who, in that Gilded Era, studied the mentally ill, who are considered “alienated” from their own nature. Daniel Brühl stars as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a criminal psychologist (and alienist), who works with Luke Evans‘ newspaper illustrator John Moore. Dakota Fanning is that intrepid secretary who assists them in their quest to find this killer of young boy prostitutes, and who seems to form a romantic attachment with Moore (or rather, he becomes attached to her per the trailer).
Check out the trailer below:
There are definitely some Sherlock Holmes vibes here, which I love, but more than anything, Fukunaga’s involvement the series is what seals the deal. His visual leadership is what made the first season of True Detective so outstanding, though it is worth noting he is just serving as an EP now and no longer directing all of the episode (would that he were!), but Jakob Verbruggen (The Fall) is a worthy replacement. The cast here is also fantastic, and the crime series aspect is always a tantalizing one. So my apologues, Alienist, for not knowing about you until now. I have been put on notice!
TNT has really been stepping up its game on the drama front recently, including series like the underrated Animal Kingdom. But The Alienist feels like their most ambitious series yet, and at a reported $5 million an episode, their most expensive as well.
The series doesn’t have a premiere date yet, but is currently shooting in Hungary.