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“We set out to find a monster, but all we found was a wounded child.”

 

***** Spoilers for The Alienist Seasons One and Two follow *****

 

Those were Dr. Laszlo Kreizler’s (Daniel Bruhl) words during the final minutes of “The Alienist‘s” season one finale. The finale concluded a season-long arc in which our central trio relentlessly searched for a serial killer murdering young boys in New York City. They found their killer, but just as fast as they found him, they “lost” him, so to speak, when Captain Connor shot John Beecham in cold blood, leaving the trio with more questions than answers. 

Kreizler walked into the case hoping to better understand the inner workings of a monster, but upon examining Beecham’s brain in death, he found a totally healthy brain. No damage, no signs of mental illness. In his own words, the killer had a “perfectly normal and healthy” brain. So what could possibly lure a perfectly normal, healthy man to murdering little boys? We will never know Beecham’s true motivations, but judging by the recurring themes of season one, it all boils down to what lies at the root of humanity and what every human craves the most: connection.