I may have binge-watched the whole first season in a day… that’s how addictive this show is. Set in 1859, New York City becomes riddled by horrific murders. One serial killer with seemingly no pattern leave the police in despair with no leads and no suspects. Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty), naïve to the corruption in the Police Department, is forced to turn to one others would disagree: an Alienist, as they called it in the 19th century, someone who studies the mind of those with mental illnesses as a mind that is alienated. The show itself explains the terminology as set in the 1800s.
With well-known actors this is a show to be watched for the stars but continued to be watched for the plot. Daniel Brühl is the main character – his character of a psychologist, who is ahead of his time, is disregarded by many, his science is one not yet understood. Dr Laszlo Kreizler is determined to understand what controls men to be evil; he becomes so driven and obsessed to the point where he will do anything to uncover this new evil that has broken in New York City. His old friend, played by Luke Evans, seems one extremely loyal to Laszlo. His job, however unlike to the doctor, is an illustrator of the New York Times. His character doesn’t seem to be one likable at the beginning, but you learn a lot about John Moore as the show progresses. Finally, is Sara Howard played by the fantastic Dakota Fanning. Her character is probably most likable – easily, most likable. As a strong, powerful female in the show, Sara battles as the first woman working in the Police Department, she fights against grotesque sexism and corrupt detectives. All of the characters are ones riddled from an interesting troublesome past making them feel so real on screen, particularly with the phenomenal acting in all roles.
1859 is brought to life on screen. In setting, society and clothing, the entirety of the programme engulfs a time of so many years ago. Before forensics, which this show nods to; before women’s rights, which again the show nods to; before the understanding of the human mind, which the show is revolved around. There is a lot going on in the plot with a lot of deeper meanings – societal pleas and agonies, corruption and control from the rich. ‘The Alienist’ briefly encounters a lot of mishaps and plotlines, but one that solely remains in front of all is the psychopath murdering the little boys.
These crime scenes and horrifying murders do bring a natural crime mystery drama to the show. But they also bring in horror. There were times, towards the end of the series, where I was frozen in suspense of what was going to happen while fearing for the lives on screen. The audience easily become engulfed into this old setting and become easily revolved around these three characters and their desperation to catch an unknown creature. Meanwhile, other villains rear their ugly heads and only create more problems.
‘The Alienist’ is truly a magnificent show. The cinematography is outstanding in the camera shots and twisted views. Every segment of the programme was perfectly executed for the audience to feel all emotions and continue on this journey of agony and death. You may can tell that this show is definitely one for older ages with constant death and gory dead bodies. You find you have to just watch the next episode as the cliff-hangers linger in your mind. I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s a mixture of ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Mindhunter’ in which I would agree, just with an older age twist.