Just when you think that The Alienist couldn't possibly get any darker, it does.
The Alienist Season 1 was centered around mutilated boy prostitutes, which was gruesome enough.
But now, stolen babies are at the heart of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 1 Episode 1 and The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 1 Episode 2.
Yeah, things took a turn for the worse in turn-of-the-century New York City.
When the story opened with a woman unable to find her baby, then months later, that same woman got executed for murder (when there was no body), well, there's nowhere to go but up.
Martha Napp being convicted undoubtedly was in part due to her being a poor, single, immigrant female. Sadly, some things never change.
But biased journalism, in the form of William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, likely played a major role as well, feeding red meat to its lowbrow readers.
Think of it as the Fox News of its time.
It appears that slanted media will be one of the tent poles of this production, as Hearst fanned the flames that lead to the Spanish-American War in 1898.
The graphic scene of Martha's execution makes you wonder how the electric chair was ever a more humane form of capital punishment. That's if "humane capital punishment" isn't an oxymoron.
Equally telling was what was going on outside of Sing Sing. Martha's case had become a cause celebre with the women's suffragette movement, since a man, even a poor immigrant, likely wouldn't have been convicted with no dead body.
Well, the roughneck Irish cops had no trouble treating the women like they treated any "others" who dared stick their heads up proclaiming their rights, beating them down with billy clubs.
Sara tried to appeal to reason inside the prison but the men there weren't of any mind to listen to her either.
So things definitely started on a down note for Kreizler and company.
This promises to be a season of transition for all.
First, they lost the clout they had when Teddy Roosevelt was Police Commissioner. He now served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President McKinley.
Yet Thomas Byrnes was still around, stirring the pot and causing all kinds of trouble, whispering in an ear here and making a threat there. And since he's "retired," he can skulk around wherever he likes. Ted Levine is great fun as the conniving Byrnes.
Kreizler is still Kreizler, the abrasive smartest guy in the room.
He still lacks any social skills, speaking his mind and forgetting other people have feelings.
When Sara saw how distraught he was about attempting to find Martha's child, she offered her help. His response was essentially, "If I can't figure it out myself, maybe I'll get back to you."
Then he complimented John's vapid fiancee Violet on her hidden depths. He wasn't wrong, but grow a filter.
Still, he is his true self. He's scorned by most medical authorities in New York but yet he's ready to expound on his latest theories to anyone within earshot, whether they'll listen or not.
He and Sara are bound to clash this season. She's moved up but he's still remembering her as Teddy's secretary. He's not ready to treat her as an intellectual equal yet.
She may have opened a detective agency and have an office on Broadway, but she's still going to run into people underestimating her.
After the Linares baby was kidnapped, the great feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton contacted Sara not for her investigative skills but to put her in touch with Laszlo.
She shouldn't have had to make that stirring speech touting her abilities but she did.
Her office staff, Bitsie and Tilly, appear they'll provide such much-needed comic relief.
Finally, there's the new, improved John Moore, who is still the trio's weakest link.
He appears to have his drinking under control. And things are looking up professionally, as he's now a reporter on the Times' City Desk.
But he remains an out-of-touch dandy who was totally out of place on the wrong side of town.
His being engaged to Hearst's step-daughter is a winning device to compare operations between the Times and The Journal.
But how long can he stay with a woman who values her purse dog over him?
He and Sara belong together. But she's so laser-focused on her career that who knows if that will ever happen?
What's frightening is that it wasn't at all evident who's taking babies and still had Anna Linares.
Obviously, Dr. Markoe and some of his staff are stealing infants from the "fallen women" they warehouse at the Lying-In Hospital. For some reason, Byrnes is helping to cover this up.
But there is the psycho who Kreizler is profiling that had Martha's baby and now has Anna.
So is there some overlap between the two?
To make matters worse, the team has to save the daughter of the Spanish consular while the U.S. is about to go to war with Spain.
The clock's ticking.
To review the events of the new season, watch The Alienist: Angel of Darkness online.
How do you like the character changes?
Who has Anna?
What else isn't Senora Linares telling?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.