City guide

Tour the set of ”The Alienist” with Luke Evans in Budapest

Photo : IMDb

From April 19th onwards, everyone will be binge watching “The Alienist” on Netflix. Based on the best-selling book by American author Caleb Carr, this psychological thriller series is set amid the vast wealth, extreme poverty and technological innovation of New York in 1896. The Big Apple seen onscreen was carefully recreated down to the last eye-catching historical detail – in Budapest. An enormous set of ten city blocks were built from scratch with eagled-eyed accuracy, with the stunning Szabó Ervin Library used for interior scenes. In the video below, one of the main characters, Luke Evans (John Moore), takes you behind the camera, showing his favorite places on the set of the show you’ll soon be crazy about.

In The Alienist, a never-before-seen gruesome killer is responsible for grisly murders of boy prostitutes. Criminal psychologist Dr. László Kreizler (Daniel Brühl), known as an alienist – one who studies mental pathologies and the deviant behaviors of those who are alienated from themselves and society – and New York Times illustrator John Moore are entrusted with conducting the investigation in secret, finding out what makes a man a murderer. As a crucial part in the character development of the personas in the series, the island of Manhattan was carefully recreated in Budapest, accurate down to the last detail.


After four months of planning out production in New York, the crew found a serious lack of period-appropriate settings. They crossed the Atlantic and traveled to Budapest, with its abundance of decadent interiors from the Golden Age. An enormous set was built from scratch, – in about four months before the cast even arrived – including the streets where Kreizler and John Moore live, the façade of the French brothel and Luke Evans’ favorite candy shop. Some scenes were also shot inside and outside the stunning Szabó Ervin Library. Although the set would constantly change considering whether it portrayed the Lower East Side or Chinatown in a certain scene, in the video Evans highlights that working on a set like this where you can’t see the end allows you to completely immerse yourself in that particular moment. Take a tour with him in the video below.

Another star of the series, Dakota Fanning, apparently took a shine to Budapest while shooting in the Hungarian capital, and returned for a pleasure trip with friends later in the year. Afterwards, she shared love for the city in an Instagram post saying: “A few weeks ago in Budapest. This city has brought so much love and light into my life. Two things that there could always be more of”.