* * * B
The Alienist is a crime drama set in 1890’s New York. An abnormal psychologist (who were, at the time, known as alienists), Dr. Lazlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl), enlists the help of newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans) to help him investigate the murder of a young male prostitute. It soon becomes apparent that the murderer is a serial killer. Kreizler and Moore win the confidence of police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) and, with the help of his assistant Sara Howard (Dakota “Jane” Fanning), set out to bring the killer to justice.
The period forms an interesting, dark backdrop to the series. The three leads are solid. The villains, Captain Conner (David Wilmot), his master, former commissioner Thomas Byrnes (Ted Levine), and J. P. Morgan (Michael “Richter” Ironside) are similar well portrayed. A pair of Jewish detectives who round out Kreizler’s team seem to unnecessarily pad the cast. The case itself is probably the least interesting part of the series, and the weakness of the core plot line prevents it from challenging similar detective series such as Sherlock Holmes. Still, I hope that a second season will be made.