Thoughts While Watching: The Alienist Season 1

The Alienist has been lurking around on my Netflix watchlist for months. As a lover of all things true crime, it seemed like a show right up my alley, albeit I’ll admit I was hesitant about the whole ‘period drama’ aspect of it.

Going into this, all I knew was that it would somewhat cover the beginnings of studies into the psychology of crimes and serial killers. But who wouldn’t want to watch a show with Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning, and Luke Evans?

So here are my thoughts while watching TNT’s The Alienist season 1:

  • Hmm, that’s interesting. An alienist, okay.
  • Like…THAT Theodore Roosevelt?
  • Where is this show set? They all have different accents and I’m so confused.
  • Oof I am cringing so hard at that officer’s anti-trans vocabulary. Oooof.
  • Oh JESUS his eyes! Y’all really gotta zoom into that??
  • I hope we find out more about the relationship between Moore and Sara. That seemed…vague.
  • Oh, these poor, poor boys. Are they dressing as women just to earn a living or because they want to?
  • He exhumed the twins’ bodies without the mother knowing???
  • Is Dr.Kreizler some sort of doctor/Sherlock Holmes type man?
  • IS THAT A TONGUE!?
  • Doctor/Sherlock Holmes/Agent Will Graham, more like.
  • Um no, no person – much less a child – “had it coming” to be brutally murdered and have their tongue ripped out. Ugh.
  • Ahh. They’re comparing knife marks to determine the weapon used. Is that really how they used to do it?
  • Oh, New York. Still, what’s with the mix of so many accents?
  • For a show so graphic, I love that there’s a little bit of humor injected here and there.
  • Oooh, fingerprint forensics! A bloody fingerprint is great, but how are you even going to figure out who it belongs to?
  • Is that a brothel? Cabaret? Oh. So another brothel for young trans boys to be sold.
  • That is a MESSED UP joke about male rape. Ugh. God, I really don’t like this Captain Connor.
  • Are…are they flirting? Is that what flirting looked like in the 19th century?
  • Smart girl! Now they have a pattern for dumpsites.
  • Wow, his methods are unorthodox. So straightforward and intrusive. But effective? I guess?
  • Hmm okay, so Kreizler has some sort of weird past.
  • He’s really gonna try and pin it on Moore, huh. Or just to say that he knows Moore was there?
  • So he’s climbing up the buildings?? Who IS this guy?
  • Did I miss something about Kreizler’s arm? It was bleeding earlier yeah but what happened with it?
  • Jeeeesus, go easy on the intrusive questions, will ya!
  • Oh jeez, so he’s a racist, murderous, cannibal. I have no words.
  • Oh, that silver smile is creepy.
  • Woooah how did he even get a blade?
  • Yikes, even the church is involved?
  • Ooh okay, so they’re getting close on his tail!
  • He’s clearly a troubled kid. That freak out was intense.
  • Yessss, Roosevelt!! Hate Connor so much.
  • Oh of course you exclude the woman and the guy with a limp arm from the operation. Weaker sex and cripple my butt. Eye roll.
  • “Go bugger yourself” lmao

watching season 1 of TNT's The Alienist

  • Ooh, Kreizler’s past is slowly unraveling! Exciting.
  • These cops are not discreet at all!
  • Ohhhhh my god. Headshot.
  • Is Kreizler right and it wasn’t Willem?
  • Nooooo, protect Stevie!! Why is no one paying attention to what’s happening with Stevie??
  • Wow, Kreizler was actually right about Willem. There’s another man who has the same proclivities and a silver smile as well. Coincidence?
  • Woah, he hit her!
  • Okaaaay, that is brutal. And on the steps of the Statue of Liberty too.
  • Aw, poor Stevie. The stress on his face is stressing me out.
  • Oof this autopsy is giving me full chills.
  • What is he doing — that’s so weird!!
  • Can’t wait for Connor to get what’s coming to him. The chief is pissed.
  • Oh no now what’s going to happen to Moore? AND Kreizler? Both kidnapped?
  • Ugh. Connor. Of course.
  • Wow, Kreizler really is kind of an a-hole.
  • Why is it always Moore that gets caught up in the mess?
  • Yikes. So Beecham got off on the stabbing and murder?
  • I love that Sara went off on her own investigating too! Bad. Ass.
  • Ooh, they’re both getting close!
  • George Beecham? Japheth Dury?
  • Oh, woah, they’re being ambushed.
  • Oh my god does Moore think Kreizler’s in love with Sara? He does! Lmao
  • Please don’t let anything happen to Mary or Cyrus!!
  • No no no no no no, dammit!! Just when Kreizler gets a heart!
  • These cops are despicable!! Disgusting.
  • Oh man, all these census records they have to manually pore through.
  • John Beecham is the guy doing the census??
  • Wow, there was just discrimination of every single kind back then huh. Anti-immigrants, Semitism, sexism, homophobia.
  • It always starts with animal cruelty.
  • Holy crap. He has zero feeling in his right arm at all? He just stabbed himself!
  • Oh. My. God. He’s keeping the trophies. So many eyeballs. Omg.
  • Yay John and Sara.

  • Oh. My heart. Poor Laszlo. This show really highlights the importance of the “nurture” aspect in the nature vs. nurture argument. So many violent and abusive parents.
  • OH. Poor Sara! That’s tragic.
  • WOAH!! And he made Joseph watch him kill the cat!
  • This feels so ominous. Something big is about to go down!
  • What’s Kreizler got up his sleeve this time?
  • Why does it seem like he just prefers to work alone? Lying to everyone and just not sharing information.
  • Oof there he is climbing the pipes behind you.
  • Aaaand now he’s got Laszlo. And Moore. Jeez.
  • Please tell me someone kills Connor and Sara comes in to save everyone.
  • YES SARA!
  • Aw man he died before Laszlo could find out anything behind the psychology of the murders.
  • I totally understand why he’s disappointed Japheth died. Would’ve been good to get answers.
  • HATE that Connor is getting awarded for “adherence to a moral code” and “good police work”. Politics. Hate it.
  • Good on you Kreizler. Finally got over it.
  • Can’t wait for the next season!!! July 2020 supposedly if this COVID hasn’t delayed it.

So after two days and ten episodes, I’ve wrapped up my binge of season 1 of The Alienist, and here’s the thing: I. LOVED. EVERY. MINUTE!

While the late 19th-century setting threw me off at first, it turned out to be the very best thing about it, in my opinion, and it makes for such a strong character for Dakota Fanning.

Thankfully, there’s more featuring this ad hoc investigative team! Season 2, titled The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, premiered on July 26, 2020, and features the return of Fanning, Brühl, and Evans (as well as Matthew Shear and Robert Ray Wisdom as the Isaacson brothers). A few years will have passed but the team comes back together to solve yet another series of child murders.

I’d definitely recommend giving The Alienist a watch if dark, psychological crime thrillers are your thing. Heads up, though: it does get a bit graphic, so be prepared to flinch and look away if you’ve got a weak stomach!

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