The TCA panel for The Alienist: Angel of Darkness came right before the two-part season finale on Sunday and even though showrunner Stuart Carolan and stars Daniel Brühl and Dakota Fanning remained tight-lipped on what we could expect for the ending of season 2, they did give us insight in how it was like revisiting these characters in a new story. In particular, Fanning talked about her character Sara and how it reflects the movement of female empowerment.
In the new season, Sara has opened her own detective agency and has employed women who she is mentoring. “In The Alienist, we saw her as the first female to hold a position at the New York Police Department and we saw her wanting more,” said Fanning. “Right away in this new season, we see that… she has opened her own business and is struggling to be taken seriously as a female detective and constantly discovering and rediscovering what it means to be a modern woman 1897, the choices that women were and still are forced to make and the pressures of having a career, family and what that all means. We see her all season grappling with that.”
She added, “We get more female energy this time around and that was important to me and I was really happy to see that.”
Later in the panel, Brühl talked about how the themes of the show reflect the current landscape. “Nowadays it is important to have a political and social conscience and to stand up and do the right thing,” he said.
Fanning talked about how Sara is a disruptor and is unafraid to speak up. “I think we see even more of that power that she has discovered within herself in this new season,” she said. “It’s not always easy to do the right thing and to speak up for those who can’t use their voice. Sara uses her privilege to do that. That’s such a core value of who Sara is. I am very proud to play a character like that and learn to continue to implement that in my real life.”
Carolan speaks to the fact that it was the book that speaks to the current feminist movement and the series is just following its lead. Fanning addresses the themes that are resonating with audiences, pointing out that the books were written in the ’90s. “While the feminist movement is not only something that’s been happening currently, it’s clearly been happening for a long time,” she said. “Shows like this, that are set so long ago, really do help put the current movement we see on the news into a perspective to show the origins of them and that they existed for a long time and that 1897 is not so long ago when you really examine the socio-political aspects of the age. When you examine them today, there’s a lot of similarities.”
As Fanning said, the second season finds Sara starting her own detective agency as she reunites with Dr. Kreizler (Brühl) and New York Times reporter John Moore (Luke Evans, who was unable to make the panel due to filming in Australia) as they attempt to find Ana Linares, the kidnapped infant daughter of the Spanish Consular. As we come closer to the end of season two, audiences will be clamoring for the story to continue with a third. Carolan had a quick answer for that.
“We need to wait for Caleb Carr to write a third book,” said Carolan. “My understanding is that he is writing a third book so you just have to wait and see.”