The story of The Alienist has progressed nicely in episodes three, four, and five. The hunt is still on for the serial killer with an affinity for male children in girl’s clothing. Our group of amateur detectives, all with their own strengths, are still together trying to find the killer while adding evidence and background information to what has already been discovered. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) appears to lead the team that also includes John Moore (Luke Evans), Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), Marcus Isaacson (Douglas Smith), and Lucius Isaacson (Matthew Shear). In the wings, being as supportive as he can be is Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) fighting back at the good ole’ boys in the police department, namely Captain Connor (David Wilmot) and former chief Thomas Byrnes (Ted Levine).
A second murder takes place on the roof of an aquarium being built; the body is in the same condition as the last. It is with this murder that the group of amateur detectives come up with the characteristic that the man likes high places. Further investigations and interviews also determine that he has a “silver smile.” And once you see that depicted on screen, it is as creepy as you think it could be.
Referring to my last review on this show, I questioned what the point of the character John Moore was. Not that Luke Evans is not great for this role, but Moore does not seem to play an important role in the investigation other than the drawings of the victims. He continues to be dragged along on Kreizler’s theories and does not seem to enjoy very much of the chase. He is an entertaining character, and his motivations for continuing to help are placed well.
I also mentioned how little we know about Mary Palmer (Q’orianka Kilcher), the housekeeper or maid to Dr. Kreizler. There are layers added to this character, like how her father died at her hands, her stay at Dr. Kreizler’s institution from a young age and her fondness (love?) for him. She is indeed a mute, and can be seen using hand gestures, but is capable of understanding and hearing others speak.
There have been some exciting casting choices, even for seemingly small roles. This show is already well-cast, and these are just the cherry on top. Each first appearance of these actors made me a tad giddy. I mistakenly thought perhaps Ezra Miller was a part of the cast when the show revealed part of his face and may have said, “Oh my God.” However, he is not part of the show, and the true actor is Josef Altin. Grace Zabriskie (Big Love) plays a well-intentioned, pushy grandmother to John Moore. Sean Young (Blade Runner) plays a wealthy wife and mother to the suspected killer, nicknamed Silver Smile. Katie Dickie (Game of Thrones) makes a brief appearance as a prostitution house “madam,” and her strong Scottish accent is immediately recognizable. It is such a small role I wonder if it was at one point a role with more screen time. And finally (at least in these three episodes), Peter McRobbie (Law & Order) makes for a formidable mayor, someone the Commissioner has to answer to for his investigation choices.
A love triangle, or perhaps a love quadrangle has developed during these new episodes. Sara is fond of Dr. Kreizler, Dr. Kreizler is fond of Mary, John is fond of Sara, and Mary is fond of Dr. Kreizler. No one speaks of their true feeling except for John who took a risk and kissed Sara on the cheek. This move was not reciprocated. John appears to also be in tune with Mary’s liking of Dr. Kreizler, and her jealousy of Sara. He takes the opportunity to show Mary around town and to a show. Upon their return, Dr. Kreizler is visibly upset about this excursion. Apparently, both Mary and Dr. Kreizler are not in sync with their respective love for each other.
The Alienist is developing into a nice murder mystery and the character development revealed in these three episodes has added to the story. The search for the Silver Smile seems close to ending, but with five episodes to go, I have a feeling that the story will diverge from the course it is setting and surprise us all. There has to be something enthralling about this story apart from the setting and the search for a serial killer to have the many well-known actors attached to it.