On Jan. 22 TNT premiered the first episode of their new 10-episode series “The Alienist” based on the novel of the same name by Caleb Carr. This new series is a psychological thriller drama set in 1896.
Ghastly murders of boy prostitutes have started to occur in New York City. Newly appointed police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) calls upon Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl), a criminal psychologist also known as “The Alienist” and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evens) to conduct the investigation in secret. Helping them catch the killer is headstrong Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), the only woman working at police headquarters.
The show starts off with a brief synopsis of what an alienist is and what they do before it moves into the first scene of the program, which shows a lone police officer walking through the cold New York snow and finding a hand before he looks up and blood falls onto him. Alarmed, the officer sends a warning to all the other policemen across New York.
Dr. Laszlo Kreizler talks to a boy who tells him the police are saying that the victim is a boy dressed up as a girl who is a prostitute. The show then introduces John Moore as the New York Times illustrator who is ordered to come to the scene of the crime by Kreizler to illustrate a picture of the boy. Later on, the viewers meet Sara Howard, the first woman to be employed by the police who seems to know Moore through their families.
“The Alienist” shows how people view boy prostitutes during the late 1800s, with the police captain calling the victim an “it” and their focus on the fact that the boy was found wearing a dress versus the horrifying crime. The show gives viewers a perspective on early modern forensic anthropology and a view of what early criminal psychology was like, how criminal psychologists were viewed as the devil and why people found it hard to believe them because of their unethical methods.
“The Alienist” is a dark, grisly, chilling show that leaves viewers wondering why this serial killer is targeting boy prostitutes and how the police will catch them.