Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning are 19th century investigators on the trail of a serial killer in the new trailer for the period drama The Alienist from TNT. True Detective creator Cary Fukunaga wrote all eight episodes of the first season, and also executive produced.
Based on the best-selling novel by Caleb Carr, The Alienist follows a trio of scientists as they work the filthy and dangerous streets of late-19th-century New York City to try and stop a Jack the Ripper-like serial killer who is targeting child prostitutes. Carr's novel goes into tremendous detail as it explores the early origins of psychological profiling and forensic science, while also offering an eye-opening portrait of urban life under 19th century capitalism, in a time of tremendous wealth inequality and social injustice.
TNT has released a polished new trailer for The Alienist that teases the show's intriguing psychological-murder-mystery story while also giving us a glimpse of its impressive production values and strong cast. The story sounds like something right out of CSI with more than a small dose of Silence of the Lambs, but with its period setting, the show has a similar look and feel to Steven Soderbergh's acclaimed Cinemax series The Knick.
Like The Knick, Carr's novel goes deep into the specific details of its world and the practices of its various highly-driven characters. In The Alienist, Brühl plays criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, who is called upon by police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) to undertake a secret investigation of the child murders plaguing the city's disease-ridden slums. Kriezler is joined in his undertaking, which uniquely joins science with police work, by newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans) and aspiring detective Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning).
Fukunaga was originally set to direct on The Alienist as well as write, but schedule delays and his commitment to Netflix's Maniac forced him to be replaced by Black Mirror director Jakob Verbruggen. Fukunaga's direction on season 1 of True Detective was largely credited with giving that show its memorable combination of dramatic intensity and perverse weirdness, so it's a little bit disappointing that he was unable to lend his directorial hand to The Alienist. The trailer does make the show look very stylish and filled with intriguing detail about the workings of 19th Century law enforcement, psychology and forensics, while also offering a look at the more sordid aspects of life in that particular time. Soderbergh mined a similar milieu for amazing drama in The Knick, and The Alienist looks like it should appeal to fans of that show.
The Alienist also stars Douglas Smith, Matthew Shear, Matt Lintz, Robert Ray Wisdom and Q'orianka Kilcher. The series is set to premiere on TNT on Monday, January 22, 2018.