I’ve been looking forward to watching The Alienist ever since it was announced. After watching the first two episodes, ‘The Boy on The Bridge’ and ‘A Fruitful Partnership,’ I have to say that it exceeded all of my expectations. The limited series is gorgeous to look at and keeps you hooked with an intriguing mystery. I want to see all of the episodes right now!
I was provided access to the first two episodes of The Alienist. The opinions are my own. Also, this review contains minor spoilers.
It took years for Caleb Carr’s bestselling novel to get an onscreen adaptation. It was supposed to be made into a movie at one point; however, I’m glad that we got a limited series instead, with big-screen talent. The first two episodes, ‘The Boy on The Bridge’ and ‘A Fruitful Partnership’, introduce us to the Gilded Age of New York, the murder spree, as well as the lead characters. Everything is wrapped in a gorgeous setting that, while appearing beautiful on screen, doesn’t let you forget that there might be danger lurking in every dark corner.
The Alienist stars Daniel Brühl as Dr. Laszlo Kriezler, who’s the alienist, an old term for psychologists. His take on criminal psychology feels modern and thus out of place in the era he’s living in. His friend, a newspaper illustrator named John Moore, is played by Luke Evans, while Dakota Fanning plays Sara Howard, the first female police secretary. The three characters come together to unmask the killer who has been targeting boy prostitutes.
One of the best things I liked about the leads is how each of them has got their own issues to deal with. We got to see a few hints of each character’s background in both ‘The Boy on The Bridge’ and ‘A Fruitful Partnership,’ and I’m all for knowing more. I love TV shows that take the time to flesh out their characters in an interesting manner.
While Kriezler’s methods are unorthodox and he comes across as emotionally distant, there’s a tenderness inside him that displays itself when interacting with people he cares about. Also, though Luke Evans’ John can look like your traditional ‘John Watson’ type, after what happens to him in ‘A Fruitful Partnership,’ I think he’ll develop into his own distinct character.
Sarah Howard is definitely one of the leads I’m very interested in. She’s a clever and modern woman but is trapped in 1896 New York. We see her trying to make a place for herself in the police department while encountering sexism and sexual harassment. It’s disappointing to realize what Sarah had to go through back in 1896 is still something women have to deal with today. Sigh!
The rest of the main cast includes police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty), Jewish brothers Marcus and Lucius Isaacson played by Douglas Smith and Matthew Shear respectively (that help Kreizler with forensics), Q’orianka Kilcher as Mary Palme, Matt Lintz as Stevie Taggert, and Robert Ray Wisdom as Cyrus Montrose.
Also, I don’t know if the writers did it deliberately or if the chemistry is just so good, but I ended up shipping everyone. Seriously, at this point, I don’t care who ends up with whom. The cast is so good!
The basic premise of The Alienist is about a group coming together to stop a serial killer. The villain has already killed several young boys; however, the police don’t care because the boys are queer. The New York police department is full of corruption. There’s also a group of gangsters thrown in for good measure. The mystery is interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things unravel. Also, The Alienist doesn’t shy away from the gore, so, keep that in mind.
Due to The Geekiary focusing on queer representation and impressive female characters in its coverage, here are a few reasons why you should watch The Alienist:
- Sarah Howard: As mentioned above, I really like Sarah as a character. She’s strong yet vulnerable, trying to make her way through the sexist environment surrounding her.
- Queer Representation: You might be surprised to see numerous characters openly expressing their sexuality. Also, Kriezler’s views regarding sexuality are modern and compassionate, making him a likable lead.
- Diversity: The cast includes POC male and female characters. I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a role they play in the main plot.
Before I end my review, I have to talk about the set pieces and costumes. The Alienist really takes you back in time. You can see the production team gave it their all. They built an entire life-like set for the series. Also, the costumes are amazing!
— Luke Evans (@TheRealLukevans) December 18, 2017
The first two episodes, ‘The Boy on The Bridge’ and ‘A Fruitful Partnership,’ do a great job of introducing the characters as well as the danger posed by the serial killer. If you’re into cinematic murder mysteries, you should check out The Alienist when it premieres tonight at 9 pm EST on TNT.
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Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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