Douglas Smith is back in the second season of The Alienist on TNT. The Alienist: Angel of Darkness follows the second book in Caleb Carr's series that follows detectives and forensics teams in Victorian New York. Smith plays Marcus Isaacson, a forensic photographer who, along with his brother, help Dakota Fanning's character investigate cases that come by way of her new detective agency. Smith joined Stefani Bishop on the Rocker Morning Show to talk about what to expect in the second season of The Alienist and staying true to the time period.
As far as where we are picking up the second season, Smith says it takes place a year after the end of the first season, following Carr's book series. "The big shift is that the first book really centers around Daniel Bruhl's character. He's plays the Alienist. The second book really shifts over to Dakota Fanning's character. She plays Sarah Howard, and in the time between seasons she's just left the New York Police Department and she's started her own detective agency. So she's a Private Detective and she takes this case and that case leads her to get help from people she worked with in the first season. My character and my brother we're still at the New York Police Department and we become involved in her case, and then Daniel Bruhl's character becomes involved, and Luke Evans character who works for the New York Times becomes involved, so it's kind of like the same team had some time apart and then comes back together for this new case one year later."
Set in Victorian Era New York, it has a mood all it's own. "We are trying to be as truthful to everything that we've researched and I think that's the same for every department," Smith shared. "The camera my character is always using whenever they come to a crime scene and whenever they're trying to photograph something, it's this big wooden antique piece of furniture. I got really good at opening it up and setting it up as quick as possible and when we came back for the second season I had to go back and they tested my camera skills again because we had taken a little time off. It takes some getting used to. But I think I can speak for all departments; it was more about trying to be really accurate to the period and that period has a really interesting style."
This was an especially interesting time for technological developments within the field of forensics. New specialties were taking shape and applied to better catch criminals. Smith, who enthusiastically researched this era and his role, talked about his character being ahead of the pack. "The way technology sort of became accepted, it didn't happen all over the world at once. For example, finger printing was written about as early as the 1890s in Europe. The United States didn't start really accepting it in a nationwide way until 1903. The first season takes place in 1896, the second season in 1897. What came of Carr's idea was that the Isaacsons were on the cutting edge of reading International Science Journals and they were using finger printing before the whole department viewed it as an accepted way to identify criminals.
"It's kind of fun to go down that path."
Check out The Alienist on TNT every Sunday, and listen to the full Rocker Morning Show interview with Douglas Smith below.