When I think of the word Alienist, I think of a person who has the cool job of being an expert in aliens. Unfortunately, the reality is that an alienist is someone who studies mental pathologies (whatever that means), decidedly less cool. However, that doesn’t mean that a TV show about an Alienist has to be dull and boring.
TNT’s upcoming series The Alienist is based on a psychological thriller by Caleb Carr and focuses on 1896 New York City, a time of vast wealth, extreme poverty and technological innovation. When several haunting, gruesome murders of boy prostitutes grips the city, newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt calls upon criminal psychologist (aka alienist) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and newspaper reporter John Moore to conduct the investigation in secret. Using the emerging disciplines of psychology and early forensic investigation techniques, these social outsiders tracks down one of New York City’s first serial killers.
It certainly sounds like an interesting premise. One that has been done before in a couple of big crimes series, but not one set in this period of our history, where technological advancement is not as progressed and where the role of the alienist is more intricate and personal. What would also be required to make it work though is a good cast and The Hollywood Reporter has word that Daniel Bruhl (Kreizler) and Luke Evans (Moore) have signed on to play the leads. It’s certainly an interesting matchup, but one that points towards a potential serious and dark tone for the series, which could be quite interesting.
When TNT first looked at production for The Alienist, they had pegged True detective’s Cary Fukunaga to direct, but the series helmer has since been moved to Jakob Verbruggen (Black Mirror), though Fukunaga will remain as an executive producer on the show. It looks like a story with a lot of potential and an interesting cast, so keeping an eye out for more news on it.
The show is due to start filming next year, so we could maybe hope for a late 2017/early 2018 release.
Last Updated: November 30, 2016