Dakota Fanning is coming to television.
The 23-year-old actress stars as Sara Howard in TNT’s The Alienist, a dark thriller set in 1896 New York City. Howard works at the police station and helps investigate the case of a serial killer targeting young boys alongside Daniel Bruhl’s Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and Luke Evans’s John Moore, a cartoonist.
Even though it’s a dark story, Fanning was excited to join the show thanks to her feminist character.
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“I think what drew me to it is the character that I play, she’s the first female to work for the police department that has more of a role than someone who cleans,” Fanning tells PEOPLE. “And it’s funny because the time that it takes place, it’s kind of coming up on a new age for America and things are changing , so it’s like getting to do the 1896 version of that.”
Another big draw was nabbing her first TV role. Although Fanning has been working in movies the majority of her life, the actress was looking forward to appearing in a project that was much more accessible to a larger group of people.
“I’m such a fan of what’s happening on TV right now and was excited to do something people could come back to each week,” she says. “When you make films these days, it can be such a crapshoot whether people see them. This is more accessible.”
The Alienist premieres Monday 9 p.m. ET on TNT.