Recently, I began watching “In Treatment” OnDemand. Wasn’t really interested when it premiered. I mean, who really wants to watch a show about therapy sessions? Well I’ll tell you…..I do! It’s the most intense 25 minutes of these complex characters’ week. You’d think that this was a very American show given our view on therapy compared to the rest of the world, but it’s actually based on an Israeli television show. Gabriel Byrne plays Paul Weston, a well renowned psychotherapist. Each episode is the session of one patient. We see four patients (Mon-Thurs) and Paul’s own therapy with former supervisor Gina (the magnificent Dianne Wiest) on Fridays. Mondays at 9am is Laura. She’s a 30 year old doctor that is in love with Paul. As you can imagine, that’s not such a good thing. At first this story line was interesting to me, but it quickly became annoying. The first episode however, with Melissa George as Laura, blew me away. She was incredible. I was instantly hooked. Tuesdays at 10am is Alex, a Navy fighter pilot. He’s struggling with the fact that he bombed a school killing sixteen innocent people in Afghanistan. There’s a whole lot more drama where that came from and it’s greatly related by Blair Underwood. Wednesdays at 4pm is Sophie, a 16 year old girl that needs Paul to write a report stating that she did not attempt to kill herself by riding her bicycle into traffic. When she first starts therapy, she has two broken arms from the accident. Sophie is my favorite. She’s a tough cookie to crack. The BRA-riliant Mia Wasikowska (you might know her as Alice from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland) embodies this insecure, strong, damaged young girl. Thursdays at 5pm is Jake and Amy (Josh Charles & Embeth Davidtz), a couple that seeks Paul’s advice on whether or not to have an abortion. They have been married for several years with a young son and have been trying to conceive a second child through IVF for the past five years. Therapy definitely gets heated when these two are in the room. Fridays at 7pm is Paul with former supervisor/friend/therapist Gina Toll. Paul discusses his patients, marital problems and most interestingly, his tortured childhood. Papa Weston left the family when Paul was just a child to run away with a patient of his own. Seems like our fine doctor is repeating the sins of his father, donchya think? His mother then went into a deep depression for years, later killing herself when Paul was 17. Gina draws lines between the problems of Paul’s patients with his history and current difficulties. It’s gooooooood.
In season two, Paul has moved his practice from Maryland to Brooklyn. We see a new set of patients. Mondays at 7am is Mia. She was a patient twenty years earlier and was reunited with Paul when he visited her law firm. He’s being sued for mal practice. Comes out of season one, but you gotta watch to find out what happens. I don’t like her at all and I find Hope Davis a little irritating. Tuesdays at noon is April. Alison Pill plays a college student diagnosed with lymphoma. She refuses to tell anyone and confides only in Paul. She’s my favorite this season. Wednesdays at 4pm is a family session, Bess and Luke, divorcing parents and their twelve year old son Oliver. Sherri Saum and Russell Hornsby are mom and pop and youngster Aaron Shaw is the angry, overweight tween. At first, I didn’t like this session. The parents argued the whole time and the kid was stuck in the middle. Dad didn’t pay close enough attention and mom was smothering. As the weeks went on, I realized what a great little actor Aaron Shaw is and how easy it is to sympathize with his character. Thursdays at 6pm is Walter. This high powered CEO is played by veteran John Mahoney. Pretty much the antithesis of Frasier’s dad. It was interesting to see a session where they delve so far back into someone’s past. He’s a 68 year old man remembering events of his early childhood that shaped his life. Very impressive performances on Thursdays. Friday’s we’re back to Gina’s. Paul commutes back to Maryland to see his kids on the weekends (after the divorce) and stops by Gina’s for a session before.
This week began season three. For some reason, we seem to only be following 4 sessions. Paul’s new patients include a retired Indian immigrant, an aging actress that can’t remember her lines and a gay, adopted, 16 year old boy. Paul has a new therapist played by the terrific Amy Ryan. I can’t wait to see what this season has in store. High hopes for Sunil, the retired math teacher and Jesse, the promiscuous gay teen. I’m sure there will be fabulously dramatic scenes between Ryan and Byrne.
I’ve never really thought anything of Gabriel Byrne, just that he was ok. This program has completely made me a fan. If you’re not a watcher, I highly recommend checking out the first episode. If that doesn’t hook you, then you won’t like this show. When it does, you’ll be cramming in all the discs to catch up for season three on HBO. You can find seasons one and two on DVD from Netflix. Season three will be OnDemand (limited time).
HBO on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 & 9:30pm