The Alienist: Season 1 (2018)

Season 1
The Alienist

Critics Consensus

The Alienist boats an impressive cast and superb production design, but a sluggish pace and too many tropes keep it from truly standing out in an overcrowded genre.



Critic Ratings: 74


Audience Score

User Ratings: 894
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Air date: Jan 22, 2018
Air date: Jan 29, 2018
Air date: Feb 5, 2018
Air date: Feb 12, 2018
Air date: Feb 19, 2018
Air date: Feb 26, 2018
Air date: Mar 5, 2018
Air date: Mar 12, 2018
Air date: Mar 19, 2018
Air date: Mar 26, 2018

The Alienist: Season 1 Videos

The Alienist: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

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.


Daniel Brühl
as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler
Luke Evans
as John Moore
Dakota Fanning
as Sara Howard
Brian Geraghty
as Theodore Roosevelt
Douglas Smith
as Marcus Isaacson
Matthew Lintz
as Stevie Taggert
Matthew Shear
as Lucius Isaacson
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Alienist: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Alienist Season 1

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (25)

Squalor and sleuthing are blended with sadistic verve.

Apr 20, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Fanning is strikingly good as Sara, her face radiating an innocent glow as it lifts like a sunflower towards the Doctor.

Apr 18, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

I found it hugely enjoyable, a quite unexpected treat, a beguiling amalgam of truthfully felt family drama and an exciting sci-fi survival adventure series.

Apr 13, 2018 | Full Review…

The Alienist spends more time telling you what's going on beneath the surface than allowing for any real depth to emerge.

Jan 18, 2018 | Full Review…

The result is a series that has all of the brooding intensity of Fukunaga's HBO show, but little of the necessary narrative energy to pull it off.

Jan 23, 2018 | Full Review…

What must have come to life in the pages of the book struggles to find so much as a spark on the screen -- difficult, admittedly, through the pall of smoke and shadows that tend to choke it.

Jan 22, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

What will entice viewers is how The Alienist does not shield the audience from the nitty-gritty details of the crime.

Sep 18, 2019 | Full Review…

If it's not something that appeals to you or you're looking for a quality series, there are many better ones out there. [Full Review in Spanish]

Jul 19, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

An atmospheric and deliciously morbid period crime piece that the fans of the genre should not miss. [Full review in Spanish]

Jun 16, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

I was hoping that, because it was a period piece, it would do something different... But I felt like they basically took a recycled procedural drama format and threw it in 1896.

Sep 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Alienist: Season 1

  • Nov 16, 2018
    From TNT comes the period crime drama The Alienist, a limited series based on a best-selling novel. The story follows a psychologist who puts together a team to investigate a serial killer who's targeting boy prostitutes; meanwhile Commissioner Roosevelt attempts to weed out corruption in the police force, which is trying to cover-up the murders. Starring Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning, and Ted Levine, the show has a pretty impressive cast. And the production values are incredibly well-done; the costumes, sets, score, etc. However, the tone is a little too gritty and dark in depicting child prostitution and violence. Also, the murder investigations get rather convoluted and are hard to follow at times. One of TNT's most disturbing series, The Alienist seems more interested in pushing the envelope than telling a good story.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2019
    The Alienist tries to go for that sweet spot created in us by the Sherlock Holmes movies starring RDJ. It's dark, it talks about society recluses and mixes sex with danger. On appearance. In general the plot is all over the place and lacks clear direction. The relationships between the characters are poorly defined. Sarah's character is not very credible, and this is not helped by how flat Dakota Fanning's acting is (there's a scene in episode 4 I think where she's supposed to be crying but all I have in mind is the fake tears they must have had to keep adding to her face between each sequence). The anachronisms are also hard to forgive (the characters basically invent forensics and psychological criminal profiling), but I suppose that is attributable to the book's author, not the screenplay. The "boy whores" are rubbed into the spectator's faces with little justification outside a desire to elicit scandal and remind us how scandalous it would have been back in those days. It is filled with clichés and badly executed ideas. I'm not saying the book was also bad, I haven't read it. But this show certainly didn't make me want to the way The Handmaid's Tale did.
  • Jun 16, 2019
    The Alienist has the look and feel of an HBO show with its superb costumes and set design, but it lacks the same quality of writing. The pace is painstakingly slow and the events unfold in a dull way for a murder mystery.
  • Jun 03, 2019
    A dark and involving series, very well done indeed.
  • May 01, 2019
    Catchy phrasing, great acting and good dialogue. The sets are amazing and seem authentic (I wasn't alive then so who knows?) and the story is compelling. Is it just a basic procedural? Mostly, although it does have the added enchantment of being set in a time when DNA testing and technology were not around to save the day....but ultimately I like it because I am simply looking for mildly entertaining yet somewhat intelligent TV fodder - not an Oscar winning drama that teaches me about yeah, I love it.
  • Apr 02, 2019
    Love this, completely. I love this genre, the characters, the drama, on point!!!
  • Mar 17, 2019
    I usually find these period pieces rather irrelevant. This one though is well made. The story is dark and compelling and though not always interesting it has enough to keep you engaged. As expected, the production design is top notch. I am a fan of Daniel Bruhl and again he didn't disappoint me with his performance - I also found Dakota Fanning very good.
  • Jan 31, 2019
    Great show, highly recommend! Enthralling story, very gritty.
  • Dec 28, 2018
    Alienist is purely remarkable, from the production, to script, the story line and characters. It's is easily a favourite and I hope they make a season 2!!
  • Dec 09, 2018
    A classical storytelling, but it keeps every actions or plot really clear for the audience to follow as well as thrilling. Was very impressed by the Design and the storyboarding, Could have forgot some little plot even though it brings informations about some of the secondary characters. Too me simply brilliant and refreshing.

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