The Alienist cast opens up about Season 2’s relevancy in the modern age
Ahead of its’ second season premiere this coming Sunday, the leading stars of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness made an appearance on Paley Front Row’s latest virtual discussion of A Conversation with Stars which you can now check out below, featuring Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans and Daniel Brühl as they reveal new details on what fans can expect to see from their characters in the upcoming season.
When asked about the show’s parallel issues to today’s society, Fanning revealed that it’s very surprising and sad to her how a 1890s period piece like The Alienist can still become timely in this modern age because it, unfortunately, proves the reality that society wasn’t able to fully evolve from past mistakes. She hopes that through Season 2, viewers will be able to learn from the show’s similarities to the present and see them in a different way.
“It’s difficult because everybody wants their show to be relevant and to speak to the current audience and to be timely. Those people love those words, you know, and while I think it’s important obviously to be relevant and to connect with a modern audience, it’s for reasons that I wish [they] weren’t,” Fanning explained.“I wish that this was just an entertaining story, a glimpse in history of what things used to be like. While it is that in some regards, it should be another because I think we’ve proved that we need to continue to be slapped in the face by parallels to the past and it’s another reminder especially for younger people…of course  is so different but there are so many similarities to learn from and to examine. I think that we have to use art as another way to examine those and to hold up that magnifying glass to truly understand how we can change things for the present and for the future.”
Brühl added, “As we also discussed today, [The Alienist] is a history lesson but again an entertaining one [where] you learn a lot about New York at the time, you learn about society back then, [and] you learn about political social issues that as Dakota said are a shocking reminder that we did not advance in in some in some ways.”
He also teased how the show had evolved: “The important thing is that the show also changed significantly. There’s a different punch different pulse, a different rhythm to it…so it doesn’t feel like a repetition of season one which is great.”
A turn-of-the-century murder mystery that traverses both New York’s wealthy elite and the struggling underbelly of the city’s “Gilded Age,” Season 1 of The Alienist followed “alienist” Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (played by Daniel Brühl) in his pursuit of a never-before-seen ritualistic killer murdering young boys. In that campaign he was joined by newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans) and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), an ambitious secretary determined to become the city’s first female police detective.
In The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, Sara has opened her own private detective agency and is leading the charge on a brand-new case. She reunites with Dr. Kreizler and John Moore, now a New York Times reporter, to find Ana Linares, the kidnapped infant daughter of the Spanish Consular. Their investigation leads them down a sinister path of murder and deceit, heading towards a dangerous and elusive killer. Season 2 will “shine a light on the provocative issues of the era – the corruption of institutions, income inequality, yellow press sensationalism, and the role of women in society – themes that still resonate today.”
The second season also features returning stars Douglas Smith and Matthew Shear as twin brothers Marcus and Lucius Isaacson, Robert Way Wisdom as Cyris, and Ted Levine as former NYPD Police Commissioner Thomas Byrnes. New cast includes Melanie Field (You, Heathers), and newcomer Rosy McEwen.
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is produced by Paramount Television Studios, with Anonymous Content’s Rosalie Swedlin, showrunner Stuart Carolan, director David Caffrey, writer Alyson Feltes, Pavlina Hatoupis, Ben Rosenblatt, Eric Roth, and Cary Joji Fukunaga serving as executive producers.
A huge critical and ratings success, The Alienist launched as 2018’s #1 new cable series, having reached more than 50 million people across multiple platforms. It also earned six Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series, and two Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Television Limited Series.
Season 1 is now available for streaming on HBO Max.