"The Alienist" is Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychiatrist whose theories on the relationship between mental illness and criminal behavior have led him to advocate modern forensic and psychological profiling techniques as the means of solving crimes in 19th century New York City. His ideas have been met with stiff resistance from within the city's hide-bound police department.
In 1896, the city is faced with something it's never seen before: a serial killer on the loose. Within a matter of weeks, six young boys – all of them recent immigrants to the United States – have been mercilessly slaughtered by a bloodthirsty monster on the loose in New York.
Enter Dr. Kreizler, who wants to employ the forensic and profiling techniques that he's so long advocated. With the grudging approval of Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, he assembles a team of what can only be described as misfits to assist him in his efforts.
What follows is a completely engrossing, lightning-paced, thrill-a-minute story as Kreizler and his team gather evidence from the crime scenes, analyze that evidence, and begin formulating a picture of the serial killer. It soon becomes evident that the person they're looking for is deeply disturbed; highly intelligent; and, as it turns out, watching them as they go about their work.
This report prepared by Mike Powers