Previews

The Alienist Series Premiere Preview: “The Boy on the Bridge”

Photo Credit: TNT

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Since its original publication 24 years ago, Caleb Carr’s The Alienist has bounced around Hollywood as a potential film adaptation. TNT took the leap on it and brings Carr’s novel to life with a sprawling 10-episode first season that begins this week.

Photo Credit: TNT

Set in New York at the turn of the last century, the series does a deep dive into the world of a serial killer through the eyes of Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl of Captain America: Civil War and The Zookeeper’s Wife), a psychologist (aka alienist) and his assembled team of criminal and forensic specialists. The premiere begins with the brutal murder of a young boy who was a known prostitute, and the episode pulls no punches in exploring exactly how he was killed.

Photo Credit: TNT

Kreizler turns to society and newspaper artist John Moore (Luke Evans of the Fast & Furious franchise and Beauty and the Beast) to capture the details for him, which sets in motion the realization that this young victim was not the first. They soon enlist an expanded team to help them navigate the sordid, commingling worlds of the criminals and police.

Photo Credit: TNT

That includes Sara Howard (Twilight saga’s Dakota Fanning), the NYPD’s first female employee, police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Chicago P.D.’s Brian Geraghty), a a pair of brother detectives, Lucius (Matthew Shear of The Boy Downstairs) and Marcus (Big Love‘s Douglas Smith) Isaacson, and Kreizler’s personal staff–stable hand and houseboy Stevie Taggart (Sleepy Hollow‘s Matt Lintz), head of household Cyrus Montrose (BallersRobert Ray Wisdom), and housekeeper, Mary Palmer (The New World‘s Q’orianka Kilcher).

Photo Credit: TNT

Photo Credit: TNT

The premiere establishes the crime and the core trio of characters. It positions Moore as a man with his own predilections, which he has to take a closer look at when the case rattles him. He’s also Kreizler’s gateway to Sara since their families were friendly and he’s known her since her childhood. Who she was then and who she is now challenges Moore’s notions of propriety as he worries about including her, which she assures him he needn’t do.

Photo Credit: TNT

Kreizler is a more complicated tale. Extremely confident in his abilities, he readily accepts that he’s treading into dangerous territory by extending his reach into criminal behavior. That’s a switch from his everyday practice, which primarily focuses on children and frequently draws ire from well-to-do families and the church. And he’s an old schoolmate of Roosevelt, who doesn’t appreciate being tied to Kreizler’s theories but also can’t disavow that they’re helpful.

Photo Credit: TNT

We get a better sense of Sara in the second episode, but the premiere does the groundwork to communicate that although her family has money, she’s not a token woman hire wandering the halls of the police department. She takes her job as Roosevelt’s secretary very seriously, and when Kreizler and Moore approach her, she’s reticent to jeopardize that, but she relishes the idea of being seen as more, too.

My initial interest in the show stemmed from still trying fill that Penny Dreadful void, and instead the show treads closer to the tone of another of my favorites, Hell on Wheels, even down to the score by Rupert Gregson-Williams, which feels more Western than gothic. It also feels a bit like BBC America’s Copper. The series filmed in Budapest, Hungary, standing in for a long gone version of New York, with a mix of opulence and grit.

Photo Credit: TNT

If you gravitate toward procedurals, The Alienist has that. If you’re into psychological dramas, it has that, too. The show traffics in the trappings of sex, violence, murder, and death in stark detail, as an FYI if those things make you a little squeamish. Think of it as a really early pre-cursor to CSI if that helps.

The Alienist premieres Monday night at 9/8c on TNT and TBS and will air thereafter Mondays on TNT. Here are a few sneak peeks, and a full playlist of clips and interviews is on You Tube.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.