Though it may have taken a decade, TNT is finally bringing Caleb Carr's best-selling novel The Alienist to the small screen with Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans headlining the 10-episode limited series which premieres on Jan. 22.
The Alienist centers on criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl) who teams up with a secretary (Fanning) and a newspaper illustrator (Evans) to solve the brutal murders of teen male prostitutes who may have been killed by the same person. Though set in 1986, the story enlists some modern themes which Fanning says might have you questioning how much society has changed over the last century.
"I think that the themes and the things that we're discussing are all very relevant and very accessible to people nowadays," Fanning tells TV Guide. As Dr. Kreizler, Evans' John Moore and Fanning's Sarah Howard work to solve those gruesome crimes, the show will take on major social issues as seen with the police's mistreatment of immigrants, the potential serial killer's LGBT victims, and Howard's conflict with a hostile work environment as the NYPD's first female employee.
"It's fascinating because you get to question whether things do actually change," she added. "The core of the issues, have they actually changed from 1896? I think the show might make people question that a little bit."
TNT's The Alienist Doesn't Have to Be a Limited Series
While her co-workers might not treat her as an equal, Howard does earn the mutual respect of Dr. Kreizler, who sees her as more than just someone's assistant. "I think that between Kreizler and Sarah, there's immediately this sort of underlying respect that the two of them have for one another. And then you see the growing pains of their relationship and that there's something about Sarah that unnerves Kreizler a little bit," Fanning explained.
But even he will fall into the trappings of the times and try to enforce some of those strict social boundaries. "He's so progressive but then sometimes wants to hold her back in this weird way. There's some struggles that happen."
Those struggles aside, Kreizler and Moore will work closely together with Sarah, who is set to play an important role in helping to solve the baffling murders. "[She] provides access to the police department that these other men can't get yet," said Fanning. "She also provides the female perspective that as much many women are equal, women have a different perspective on things because we have a different experience in life typically. So she's able to help these guys see things that they can't always see right away."
The Alienist premieres Monday, January 22 at 9/8c on TNT.Dakota Fanning, The Alienist" data-image-credit="Kata Vermes/TNT" data-image-alt-text="Dakota Fanning, The Alienist" data-image-credit-url="" data-image-target-url="" data-image-title="Dakota Fanning, The Alienist" data-image-filename="180116-thealienistdakotafanning-news.jpg" data-image-date-created="2018/01/16" data-image-crop="" data-image-crop-gravity="" data-image-aspect-ratio="" data-image-height="1380" data-image-width="2070" data-image-do-not-crop="" data-image-do-not-resize="" data-image-watermark="" data-lightbox="">
Other Links From TVGuide.com The AlienistDakota FanningDaniel BruhlLuke Evans