Since Steven Moffat re-imagined Sherlock Holmes as a self-described “high-functioning sociopath,” prestige mysteries have been having a love affair with psychology. So it’s only natural that the father of psychoanalysis would find his way into the genre.
Netflix has announced it’s taking on the Austrian thriller “Freud” which will follow a young Siggy through his salad (or sauerkraut) days in Vienna. Joined by a medium, Fleur Salomé, and a police inspector named Kiss, he’ll be hunting a killer and, if the promotional photo is any indication, the murderer-on-the make seems to have some psychosexual hang-ups.
One wonders what, with the breadth of Freud scholarship and the current glut of gritty, fetishistic murder shows this offering can add to either school. Hopefully this odd tribute will be more of the caliber of “Shakespeare in Love” and less of 2012’s “The Raven,” where Edgar Allan Poe (a scenery-munching John Cusack) confronts his own macabre creations in his pursuit of a psycho-slasher.
Expect bookended narration (maybe in the form of read-aloud diary entries), on-the-ground experiences that inform later theories and episode titles like “The Case of the Anal Retentive Psychotic” or ones snatched from actual case studies like the “Rat Man” and “Anna O.”
Whether or not they will cast someone less goyische than Viggo Mortensen remains to be seen.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern