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The Alienist Character Descriptions

Character Descriptions

DR. LASZLO KREIZLER (Daniel Brühl) is known as an Alienist – one who studies mental pathologies and the deviant behaviors of those who are alienated from themselves and society. In addition to providing expert testimony in court that determines whether a person goes to prison, a mental hospital, or back on the streets, he operates the Kreizler Institute, providing a haven for “damaged” children. His alienist profession, along with his obsessive intensity and controversial views, makes him a social pariah in some circles. Kreizler is passionate and tireless in his efforts to seek out the depraved killer whose vicious, barbaric and ritualistic deeds have terrorized the children of the city's immigrant poor. In doing so, he hopes to also unravel the mysteries of the human psyche and answer the question: what motivates someone to become a serial killer?

JOHN MOORE (Luke Evans) is “handsome and indolent,” according to his friend Sara Howard, and prone to melancholy as a result of a broken engagement and the loss of his younger brother. He is a society illustrator for the New York Times and a longtime friend and former Harvard classmate of the Alienist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. To distract Moore from salving his emotional wounds with alcohol and prostitutes, Kreizler involves him in his investigation of the brutal murders of child prostitutes. While seeming to lack drive and a meaning to his professional pursuits, Moore’s social skills and charm make him an ideal accomplice to the more cerebral doctor’s methods and style.

SARA HOWARD (Dakota Fanning) is the first woman hired by the New York Police Department as a secretary to Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. She sees this job as a steppingstone to becoming the first female police detective in New York City. Self-possessed and intelligent, Sara grew up as an only child who was doted on by her father. She not only "shakes hands like a man," but considers herself just as competent – if not more so – than any of the men on the force. Well-bred and well-spoken, Sara becomes the liaison between Roosevelt and Kreizler’s team and is immediately intrigued by the case being investigated by Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and John Moore.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT (Brian Geraghty) is the recently appointed Police Commissioner for New York City.  Brilliant, driven, ambitious but principled, he’s a crusading reformer, determined to clear up entrenched corruption in the police force he now leads. Having suffered profound tragedy with the loss of his first wife and mother on the same day, he is deeply appreciative of the many blessings in his life, including a lovely second wife and six beautiful children. Roosevelt is a tough taskmaster, a clever politician, a vibrant man, always in perpetual motion. He is outraged that the city’s immigrant children are being murdered and is determined to find the perpetrator.

DETECTIVE SGT. MARCUS ISAACSON (Douglas Smith) is an expert in the criminal sciences and forensic medicine. Both he and his twin brother Lucius are outcasts within the New York police department, partly because they are Jewish and partly because of their progressive and scientific approaches to crime solving. Marcus fancies himself a ladies’ man and is the more outgoing of the fraternal twins. The pair are called upon to help with the investigation.

DETECTIVE SGT. LUCIUS ISAACSON (Matthew Shear) is an extremely intelligent, focused man whose medical studies have helped hone his expertise in criminal science. More serious and religious than his fraternal twin brother Marcus, he is nevertheless pleasantly likable with a passion for his work. He believes that bones provide the most accurate information when it comes to forensics. He joins Marcus in helping unravel a disturbing mystery.

STEVIE TAGGART (Matt Lintz) is a tough, young boy employed by Dr. Kreizler as a driver and houseboy. Rescued from the streets by Dr. Kreizler, he, like Mary and Cyrus, has been given a second chance at a better life, and provides companionship as well as service to the doctor.

CYRUS MONTROSE (Robert Ray Wisdom) is African-American and a towering man who is part of Dr. Kreizler's domestic staff and an extended member of the investigative team that Kreizler puts together. He is Kreizler's carriage driver, but often serves as a de facto bodyguard. Having formerly worked in a bordello as a piano player, he shares a love of music with the doctor and continues to enjoy playing the piano in the doctor's home. Cyrus, like all of Kreizler's domestic staff, was saved by the doctor from incarceration or a mental institution as a result of stabbing a drunken policeman who had threatened a young black woman. He has been the doctor's longest serving employee.

MARY PALMER (Q’orianka Kilcher) is Dr. Kreizler’s housekeeper. She is an exotic beauty with a bewitching face. After years of abuse and sexual violation, she chained her father to his bed while he slept and set the house on fire. She has never spoken again as a result of those acts. Kreizler discovered her at the Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island and determined that she was not insane. He found ways to communicate with her and to teach her to communicate back. He ultimately brought her into his home as one of his staff. Unlike Cyrus and Stevie, who become part of the investigation, Kreizler wants to keep Mary as far away as possible from the sordid and grisly details of the case, not only for her own security, but also because of his evolving feelings for her.