Dakota Fanning drew me into The Alienist in the first season by demanding respect and stating she was the first woman to work at the New York City Police Department. She hooked me by the powerful woman her character Sarah was and is.
The writers did the same thing this time. Sarah’s entrance was even more exciting by the fact that she was racing through the city on a horse and cart. Then, we find out that she has her own detective agency and she’s hired all women! The one flaw I saw in season one was that there weren’t enough women on the show, the writers have fixed that this season.
This time around, Sarah is getting to do more of the investigation than just helping, and I love it. She more than proved herself as a great detective, and now she gets to lead cases.
The writers are leaning into the more female-centric storyline not just by Sarah hiring women, but also by making the mystery more female-focused. The team is now looking into missing babies. This storyline brings women right to the forefront.
It won’t be easy for these women, though, as the opening shows. The mother of the first baby that goes missing is executed for hurting her baby, even though it’s clear she was the victim. 1897 is not a place for women, but Sarah is fighting for respect and breaking boundaries while also solving murders.
Sarah being a feminist, is what I love about this show. I also like a great crime story, and The Alienist brings these together very well.
Sarah isn’t the only one fighting for her place, Marcus (Douglas Smith) and Lucius (Matthew Shear) are embarking on forensics, and the men in power are not entirely on board with this new method. And, they have no time for Dr. Laszlo Kreizler’s (Daniel Brühl) technique of looking at people’s brains to solve cases. There’s a lot of men that try to interfere with their investigation because they don’t want these new methods to prove better than the old ones.
John Moore (Luke Evans) brings another element of disruption into the mix. He writes for The New York Times and goes after the story instead of writing what men in power want to see.
When Sarah, Marcus, Lucius, Laszlo, and John come together with their different skill sets, they make a great team.
It reminds me of Bones. That show brought all these elements together to solve the case as well.
If you haven’t checked out The Alienist yet, now is a perfect time. The first season is on HBO Max. Binge the first ten episodes and then catch new episodes on TNT Sundays at 9 pm ET.