“The Alienist” Star Brian Geraghty on Going from Toms River to Teddy Roosevelt

Brian Geraghty portrays New York City police commissioner and future president Teddy Roosevelt in the TNT series "The Alienist."

Toms River native Brian Geraghty displays his acting chops as Teddy Roosevelt (in his pre-presidential years) in the new TNT series The Alienist.
Toms River native Brian Geraghty displays his acting chops as Teddy Roosevelt (in his pre-presidential years) in the new TNT series The Alienist.
Photo courtesy of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. A Time Warner Company

Growing up in toms river, Brian Geraghty cared more about surfing than school.

“I was a surf bum…and I was kind of directionless,” says the 42-year-old actor, who portrays Theodore Roosevelt as the New York City police commissioner in TNT’s new history-mystery series, The Alienist.

It was Geraghty’s father who encouraged his creative side. After graduating from Toms River East High School, he attended acting school in New York. Geraghty’s first audition was for a fledgling Jersey Mob drama.

“It was The Sopranos,” he recalls. “I told them, I’d done some singing in high school, but I do not sing!”

Geraghty landed a tiny role in The Sopranos (his character, Counter Boy, is shot in the foot by Anthony Imperioli’s Christopher Moltisanti). Next came supporting roles in movies such as Jarhead and The Hurt Locker. By the time another Jersey TV drama beckoned—Boardwalk Empire—Geraghty was ready for his close-up, stealing scenes as a crusading federal agent. He brought a similar intensity to more recent TV cop roles in Ray Donovan and Chicago P.D.

The Alienist, about a gruesome series of murders in 1890s Manhattan, presents a new challenge for Geraghty—playing a real-life icon before he became famous.

“This was before the Rough Riders,” says Geraghty. The future president “couldn’t sit still,” he adds. “He’d be the guy standing on tables, yelling… These were characteristics I could turn into actions.”

Next up for Geraghty is the romantic drama My Days of Mercy, with Kate Mara, and a Ted Bundy biopic, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, alongside Zac Efron.

Though based on the West Coast, Geraghty visits his family in Jersey several times a year. Naturally, he says, “I always try and surf with my buddies.”

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