I realized this weekend as I was happily setting the DVR to
record the start of the second season of the HBO drama “In Treatment” that I
was remiss in leaving this off my “2008 Favorites” list for TV.
If you haven’t seen it, “In Treatment” follows the story of psychotherapist
Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne*) and several of his patients. The format was somewhat different the show
was on for 30 minutes every day – and each day of the week followed the story
of one patient. Monday was Laura,
Tuesday was Alex and so on until Friday in which Paul would go to see his own
therapist and mentor Gina (Dianne Wiest).
This is not an action show.
Nearly the entire show takes place inside of Paul’s office. There is dialog – as one might expect but I have
to say that the emotional power of the show derives from the non-verbal communication
the actors are able to use to convey their anger, fear, hesitancy and
anxieties. The show is well written and
the short episodes kept the focus keen and the drama high.
I think my favorite storyline was Paul and the “Wednesday
patient”, Sophie (a suicidal teenage gymnast with familial disorders played fantastically
by Mia Wasikowska). Her buried hurt and
confusion were powerfully rendered and early on she becomes the one patient (not
all are nice people) that you really end up rooting for – and not all the
outcomes are happy ones.
So, if you’re looking for smartly written that satisfies a
bit of that voyeuristic need to know what’s inside someone else’s head, put
Season 1 of “In Treatment” on your netflix queue.
*The Beloved assures me that Gabriel Byrne is very dreamy
with his intelligent dialogue, Irish accent and ever-so-slightly weathered