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What is The Alienist about?

The Alienist on TNT
Daniel Brühl and Dakota Fanning star in The Alienist. Pic credit: TNT

The Alienist is a psychological thriller based on Caleb Carr’s 1994 novel of the same name. The story is set in the late 1890s, during the Victorian era.

The first ten-episode season, which premiered on TNT in January 2018, starred Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning.

The Alienist Season 1 ended on TNT in March 2018. Following the success of the first ten-episode season, the show was renewed for a second eight-episode season in August 2018.

The second season, titled The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, is based on Carr’s sequel to his first novel published in 1997. It premiered on TNT on July 19, 2020, and it is expected to run on the network until August 9.

Season 2 sees Daniel Brühl reprising his role as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, Luke Evans as John Moore, and Dakota Fanning as Sara Howard.

What is an Alienist?

Before each episode of the series, a description that appears on the screen reveals that “alienist” was a term used during the Victorian era referencing psychiatrists or psychologists who studied people with mental ailments.

The term was derived from the belief prevalent in the 19th century that people suffering from mental illness were “alienated from their own true natures.”

So people who studied and treated people with mental illness were termed “alienists.”

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the term was used in the 19th century to refer to doctors who treated and studied insane people. It was first used in print in English in 1864.

“Alienist is much rarer than psychiatrists these days, but at one time it was the preferred term.”

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary adds that the term was also used to refer to specialists in “the legal aspects of psychiatry.”

“A psychiatrist who specializes in the legal aspects of psychiatry (as determining sanity or capacity to stand trial).”

What is The Alienist about?

The Alienist Season 1, set in 1896, follows Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, an expert in criminal psychology.

Police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt calls him to investigate a series of ritualistic murders by a serial killer who targets boy prostitutes in New York City.

Kreizler teams up with Sara Howard (police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt’s secretary) and the New York Times cartoonist John Moore to investigate the case.

Others in his investigative team include New York City Police Departement (NYPD) detective sergeants Marcus and Lucius Isaacson. Marcus and Lucius are twins.

In Season 2, Sara is now a detective who runs a private detective agency. She teams up with Kreizler and Moore to find Ana Linares, the kidnapped daughter of a Spanish diplomat.

Is the Alienist available on Netflix?

Although The Alienist Season 1 is available on Netflix in Canada, the U.K., and Australia, it is not available on Netflix for U.S. viewers.

However, it is available for streaming on HBO Max in the U.S.

It is expected that The Alienist: The Angel of Darkness (Season 2) will also arrive on HBO Max after it ends on TNT.

Meanwhile, U.S. fans can watch episodes of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, on TNT, or purchase episodes on Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play.

The Alienist: Angel of Darkness airs on Sundays at 9/8c on TNT.


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