‘The Alienist’ Trailer Looks Like ‘Mindhunter’ Merged With ‘The Knick’

The story of a serial killer hunt set in NY’s gilded age.
By  · Published on October 16th, 2017

The story of a serial killer hunt set in NY’s gilded age.

TNT just dropped the latest trailer for The Alienist, their upcoming psychological period drama starring Martin McCreadie, Matt Lintz, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning, and Daniel Brühl. The series is based on Caleb Carr’s bestselling novel of the same name which tells the story of a detective, a psychologist, and a police secretary who investigate a series of gruesome murders in New York near the turn of the twentieth century.

The Alienist looks like what would happen if Fincher’s Mindhunter and Soderbergh’s The Knick had a baby. And if that concept isn’t intriguing enough for you, Cary Fukunaga is attached to the production as an executive producer, so let’s just add a dash of True Detective seasons one into the mix. Fukunaga was originally set to direct but budgetary restrictions and scheduling conflicts forced him to take a less hands-on role. The Alienist’s list of directors offers even more reason to be optimistic about the show. Paco Cabezas (Penny Dreadful), James Hawes (Black Mirror), and David Petrarca (Game of Thrones) are no strangers to genre television and I look forward to watching how they tackle Caleb Carr’s Anthony Award-winning source material.

The Alienist’s trailer hooked me from the beginning; it’s creepy, atmospheric, and gives off an unnerving gothic horror vibe. I don’t think the show spills over into supernatural territory but the series’ gruesome visuals are no less macabre. The Alienist’s brief two-minute trailer doesn’t hold back the nightmare fuel; flashes of pale cadavers, bloodied corpses, and yellowing human skeletons all show up just to mess with your sleep tonight.

The program is shot in Budapest, Hungary, which helps create the production’s lavish visuals. The trailer reveals several stylish shots which show off the series’ rich cinematic look, detailed costumes, and elaborate production design. If you enjoy sumptuously grotesque TV series like Hannibal and Penny Dreadful then The Alienist should pique your interest.

There are not enough hours in the day to catch up on all the TV programs I feel like I should be watching. TNT isn’t a station with shows that usually make it onto my must-watch list but based on the talent involved with The Alienist, in front of and behind the camera, I’m guaranteed to watch at least the first two episodes.

One thing that gives me pause though is The Alienist’s IMDb page. Despite prominently displaying certain actors in the trailer, their IMDb profiles only list them for a couple of episodes. I’m down for any show that features great writing and solid performances, whether it features A-list or C-list talent. But if The Alienist’s IMDb page is correct, then the trailer and press release seems like a bait and switch.

You can catch The Alienist early next year when it debuts on January 22, 2018.

Here’s TNT’s official synopsis:

The Alienist opens when a series of haunting, gruesome murders of boy prostitutes grips New York City. Newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Geraghty) calls upon criminal psychologist (aka alienist) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl) and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Evans) to conduct the investigation in secret. They are joined by Sara Howard (Fanning), a headstrong secretary determined to become the city’s first female police detective. Using the emerging disciplines of psychology and early forensic investigation techniques, this band of social outsiders set out to find and apprehend one of New York City’s first serial killers.

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