If you’ve switched on Netflix recently, chances are you’ve heard of The Alienist, the latest much-hyped series from the streaming service. The period crime thriller, set in 19th century New York, stars Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans and the brilliant Dakota Fanning (in true, blistering adult-heroine form).
The trailer’s title card explains what, exactly, an alienist is: “In the 19th century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be alienated from their own true natures. Experts who studied them were therefore known as alienists.” Brühl plays Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, the eponymous alienist and a criminal psychologist known around the traps for his unorthodox investigative procedures. Together with newspaper cartoonist John Moore (Evans) and police secretary Sarah Howard (Fanning), the trio are tasked with investigating a series of grisly murders of young male sex workers in the city’s seedy underbelly.
Of course, it’s the light, frothy sort of viewing that’s perfect to wrap up the school holidays. If the trailer’s anything to go by, we’re in for a lot of gruesome body discoveries, brooding tension, and an overhanging sense of dread that’s as a grey as the series’ colour palette. In fact, after accidentally watching the trailer on Netflix (you know when it does that weird autoplay thing on the home screen), I hadn’t felt that same sense of bleakness since finishing the last chapter of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life.
There’s some reputable talent behind the scenes. Producer credits include Cary Joji Fukunaga (director of True Detective Season 1 aka not the crap one) and the dude who wrote Forrest Gump, and Caleb Carr (the writer of the book on which the series is based) is on board as a consultative producer. You can expect some pretty high-end costumes and sets too, seeing as they’ve thrown serious money towards the production budget. Rumour has it that each of the season’s ten episodes cost $5 million to make. That’s a lot of Sydney one-bedroom apartments.
And in the best news yet—supporting actor Q'orianka Kilcher is related to singer Jewel. Remember Jewel?!
You can catch The Alienist on Netflix now.
Or maybe you’re more into podcasts?
Image credit: Netflix