TNT announced on Wednesday that Robert Wisdom (The Wire) and Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World) will join the cast of The Alienist as Cyrus Montrose and Mary Palmer, respectively.
Robert Wisdom has appeared in a number of TV series over the years, including Prison Break (2007-2008), The Wire (2003-2008), Supernatural (2008-2009), and Nashville (2012-2013). In addition, he has also appeared in Live Cargo (2016), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Face Off (1997), and Ray (2004). TNT’s press release has not provided much detail about how Cyrus will be portrayed in the upcoming adaptation, but their brief description of Cyrus as “a man with a dark past who Kreizler has helped reform” is certainly loyal to the source material.
Although Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World) could be considered a surprising choice as Mary Palmer on the surface, her performance opposite Colin Farrell and Christian Bale in The New World (2006) earned her a National Board of Review’s Breakthrough Performance by an Actress Award and an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. Q’orianka has also starred in other period pieces such as Princess Kaiulani (2009) and Te Ata (2016). In addition to her acting, Q’orianka is noted for her activism and has spoken for organisations such as Amnesty International. It will take a remarkable actress to sensitively portray Mary who, though frustrated by disability, is a strong and complex character; however, the casting of Q’orianka has given me some hope that this may be accomplished.
At this stage, we lack casting information for Theodore Roosevelt, the Isaacson brothers, Stevie Taggert, and John Beecham. Given some of the choices made so far, it will certainly be interesting to see how the remainder of the cast will come together. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2017 in Budapest.
She was “the only woman he ever loved” and she now has a character profile on 17th Street. Following from Japheth Dury’s character profile being added to the supporting characters page of the full character list earlier this month, Mary Palmer’s character profile has now been completed and can also be found on the supporting characters page. In addition, the spoiler warning feature has been added to the profiles that appear on the main characters page of the full character list.
Appears in The Alienist
Mary Palmer, an attractive young woman afflicted with classic motor aphasia (characterised by the extreme difficulty speaking even though comprehension abilities are preserved) and agraphia (an inability to express thoughts in writing), is employed as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler’s housekeeper for the duration of The Alienist. We learn early in the novel that Dr. Kreizler had first discovered Mary at the Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island where she had been involuntarily committed following the murder of her father in which she had chained him to his bed and set the house alight. Although Mary had been considered idiotic from early childhood due to her communication deficits, she appeared to have been cared for adequately by her family and had been taught to perform menial household duties as she was growing up. The murder of her father, a respectable schoolteacher, when she was only seventeen years old had therefore been considered an act of insanity, and she had been committed to the asylum as a result.
During his early consultations with Mary, Dr. Kreizler was struck by the lack of the symptoms she displayed for the only psychological disorder he felt constituted true insanity (dementia praecox, now known as schizophrenia), and he quickly determined her true diagnosis of motor aphasia and agraphia. After spending a number of weeks gaining Mary’s trust and developing a means of rudimentary communication with her, he went on to discover the shocking truth that her father had been sexually assaulting her for years prior to his murder. When the subsequent legal review of her case resulted in Mary walking free from the asylum, she managed to communicate to Dr. Kreizler that she would make a good employee for his household staff, and as her communication deficits would make it difficult for her to find employment elsewhere, the doctor agreed to take her on.