The Alienist season 2 release date, renewal, cast, plot and everything you need to know
Netflix and TNT’s The Alienist tells the story of Daniel Brühl’s Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist who’s investigating a never-before-seen ritualistic killer murdering children in New York.
Kreizler is aided by Dakota Fanning’s ambitious police secretary/aspiring detective Sarah Howard and Luke Evans’ newspaper illustrator John Moore. Together, the gang seek out the murderer via a combined investigation of his mental pathologies and the physical evidence.
If it all sounds a bit Victorian True Detective, that’s because it is. But will it return for another series? We’ve examined the evidence…
The Alienist season 2 release date: When will it be on?
If season two goes ahead, it’s likely to follow the same pattern as season one – broadcasting weekly on telly on TNT from January, before landing all-in-one-go on Netflix a few months later. The cast was certainly pleased with this release structure when the Netflix deal was revealed.
“To play one of the most compelling characters I’ve ever read on the page has been a huge honour,” said Daniel Brühl. “Caleb Carr devised a fascinating world of intrigue and complexity, and I look forward to international audiences seeing how our brilliant cast and creatives have brought his words to life.”
“I am very proud of this show,” added Dakota Fanning, “and really excited that people will be able to watch it all at once.”
The Alienist season 2 renewal: Will it come back?
That said, there’s no guarantee the show will be renewed. The reviews were pretty mixed, leaning towards average. In terms of audience response, it doesn’t appear to have hit the zeitgeist in the same way similar shows – True Detective, Sherlock – have.
The showrunners will surely be hoping that the Netflix deal will give it a bump, but there’s no real sign of that yet. Still, another book in the series does exist, so there’s a chance we’ll get more from TNT / Netflix.
The Alienist season 2 cast: Who’ll be in it?
In terms of the central cast, Daniel Brühl would come back as the eponymous Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, Luke Evans would return as John Moore and Dakota would be back back as Sara Howard. Douglas Smith should also return, as long as his turn on Big Little Lies season two doesn’t keep him too busy.
While we’re sure Fanning will come back if the show’s renewed, if the showrunners want to guarantee her participation they could consider giving her easier costumes to wear.
“I actually fainted during my first fitting which gives you some indication [of what it was like to wear a corset],” Fanning said. “It was a completely easy way in to the character Sara and the time period. I’ve worn a corset for other roles and but I’m always so shocked about how it changes everything – about the way you sit, walk, move, breathe. How much you can eat, how much you can’t. It’s tight.”
“As a female, it was another thing you couldn’t do for yourself,” the actress continued. “You had to wear these elaborate costumes to keep up this facade of what women were supposed to be – you couldn’t even take them off on your own at the end of the day.”
TNT could also consider casting Dakota’s sister Elle Fanning, as the pair are keen to work together. With one key caveat: “We really don’t want to play sisters,” Fanning said.
“People try to get us to play sisters all the time. That seems, like, expected. We want to do something kind of different.”
The Alienist season 2 plot: What will it be about?
A second book in the series does exist, ‘The Angel Of Darkness’ by Caleb Carr, but considering it changes the set-up of the show pretty radically (including a fairly major time-jump) we wouldn’t expect it to form the basis from season two – especially as season one seemed to set up a very different direction.
We’d also expect the show’s relevance to the real world continue, and potentially even increase.
“There are issues that have relevance now and that are incredibly current and it was only halfway through the show we realised, unfortunately, how incredibly current and relevant the show feels,” Bruhl said. “So, 1896 in New York isn’t that far away from what we’re living through and experiencing nowadays.
“There’s a huge division gap between the very rich and the poor, and sexual harassment, gender issues and the immigrations crisis, and corruption in the police and corruption in politics – it’s all still happening, which is sad.”
Fanning’s Sara Howard’s journey from secretary to investigator explored a lot of very relevant concepts – abuse of power, sexual harassment, suppression of women’s voices – and in a post #TimesUp #MeToo world, those are themes we’d expect season two to explore in more depth.
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