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The Alienist follows Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl), a quirky and curt early psychologist who forces himself into an investigation of the brutal murder of a young male prostitute, which may be related to other killings. He dragoons his friend and illustrator John Moore (Evans, trading his Beauty and the Beast smarm for more of a sweet and bumbling ineptitude) into his investigation, and eventually Sara Howard (an all-grown-up Fanning), the police chief's secretary and the NYPD's first female employee. The team is filled out by investigative brothers Lucious and Marcus Isaacson (Matthew Shear and Douglas Smith). The series weaves in some real-world figures from the era, including J.P. Morgan and Teddy Roosevelt.