THE ALIENIST: ANGEL OF DARKNESS – A Blu-ray/DVD Review by John Strange

THE ALIENIST: ANGEL OF DARKNESS – A Blu-ray/DVD Review by John Strange

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post.  The opinions I share are my own.

The Alienist was a TNT limited series starring Daniel Brühl as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (the alienist / criminal psychiatrist), Luke Evans as John Schuyler Moore (a New York Times cartoonist and illustrator), and Dakota Fanning as Sara Howard (secretary to police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt).  The ten-episode season revolved around the search for a perpetrator of a series of gruesome murders of boy prostitutes.

The series is based on a series of novels by Caleb Carr.  The second season, based on the follow-up novel, Angel of Darkness, finds Sara Howard (Fanning) as the owner of a private detective agency in 1897.  Her agency appears to be almost entirely staffed by women.  As a side note, Teddy Roosevelt, the police commissioner in the first season, is now the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

The season revolves around a case of a missing baby brought to the agency on behalf of the Spanish consul.  The family hopes to keep the police out of the case due to the political tensions between Spain and the United States.  Sadly, this doesn’t happen.

This season showcases a lot of the political atmosphere in the America of 1897, including women’s rights, institutional corruption, income inequality, and yellow journalism.  We see names like Hearst, Vanderbilt, and Pulitzer as characters in the show which give us a view of the times in which their fame and notoriety were firmly set in the American mythos.

This a dark “whodunnit” that highlights the best and the worst of the era.  The erstwhile detective and her agency do a great job while dealing with police officers who look down upon them, all the while doing their best to take credit for her successes.

This is a well-made series filled with excellent acting talent working from a set of excellent scripts.  The cinematography by Cathal Watters (6 episodes) and Alejandro Martínez (2 episodes) is really well done, giving us a look at both the down-and-dirty side of New York City and well as high society’s lifestyle.

The extras for the DVD set I was given to review did not match up with the list presented with the disks.  And for once, that was a very good thing.  I didn’t want to watch the bunch of recaps listed.

What I got were four very good “behind the scenes” looks at the show.  On the first DVD, we were given “Inside the Alienist: Angel of Darkness, The Hunt for a Killer”.  This one lays out the world of 1897 New York City that Sara Howard and her crew live and work in and the task that they take on.

On the last DVD, we get the final three featurettes.  While these are titled a bit differently, they reside on the Blu-rays as well.  All are good.  The featurette about the costuming, “Inside the Alienist: Dressing a Modern Woman” is a wonderful look at the costume designer’s task to help set the right look and feel for the characters in a historically accurate series. 

“Inside the Alienist: Walking the Set 2.0 with Luke Evans” brings us Luke’s personal tour of the city of Budapest, Hungary, one of his favorite cities in the world.

My favorite featurette has to be “Inside the Alienist: Building the World” where we watch the 1897 New York City built by the art directors, set builders, and set decorators (and their crews).  The effect is stunning and right on the mark.

Overall, this as good as any period detective series I have ever seen.  And it has the benefit of giving us an insight into the minds of historical giants such as Hearst and Pulitzer. 


Executive Producers:

  • Hossein Amini, E. Max Frye, Steve Golin, Rosalie Swedlin, Chris Symes, Jakob Verbruggen, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Eric Roth


  • Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans, Brian Geraghty, Robert Ray Wisdom, Douglas Smith, Matthew Shear, Q’orianka Kilcher, Matt Lintz, Rosy McEwen, Melanie Field


  1. Ex Ore Infantium
  2. Something Wicked
  3. Labyrinth
  4. Gilded Cage
  5. Belly of the Beast
  6. Memento Mori
  7. Last Exit to Brooklyn
  8. Better Angels



  • Inside the Alienist: Angel of Darkness, The Hunt for a Killer
  • Inside the Alienist: Building the World
  • Inside the Alienist: Dressing a Modern Woman
  • Inside the Alienist: Walking the Set 2.0 with Luke Evans


  • Inside the Alienist: Building the World
  • Walking the Set 2.0 with Luke Evans
  • Kreizler Season 1 Recap
  • Dressing a Modern Woman
  • Series Overview




  • 391 Minutes

Enhanced Content:

  • 14 Minutes


  • Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.

Release Date:

  • 05/18/2021


  • A/1 (U.S. and Canada only)



MPAA Rating:

  • TV-MA

Selig Rating:

Film Rating:

  • 5 Stars

Bonus Features Rating:

  • 5 Stars

Picture Quality Rating:

  • 8 Stars (occasionally TOO dark)

Audio Quality Rating:

  • 5 Stars


Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars: Should add to your DVD collection at any cost

4 Stars: Worth owning, but try to catch it a sale

3 Stars: Plan to get it, but wait to buy it used

2 Stars: Worth taking a look at, but not owning

1 Star: Pick it up at a garage sale and use it for drinks

0 Stars: Makes a great Trap Shooting target

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