Watching… ‘In Treatment’ on Foxtel Showcase

10 Feb

Lord knows why televsion stations choose to bury some of their best programs. But – they do. Often. And they’ve done it again with ‘In Treatment’. I’ve never seen a therapist. But this TV series provides an insight into what it might be like.
Challenging. Confronting. Emotional. And no guarantees of happy endings. The performances are fantastic – the characters are credible, authentic and certainly not always likeable. Irish actor, Gabriel Byrne, plays 53 year old therapist ‘Paul’. Each half hour episode takes us into a therapy session with his patients. We get to know five of Paul’s patients, who we see on a repeat basis as they return for a weekly session. There’s the couple whose marriage is falling apart, an outstanding young gymnast in a sexual relationship with her coach, a promiscuous young Doctor who’s in love with Paul, and a soldier dealing with the atrocities he inflicted during the Iraq war. We also get to see Paul’s sessions with his own therapist, Gina. These episodes are perhaps the most interesting. As a therapist, Paul is empathetic, calm, controlled, rational and probing. As a patient, he is the opposite – emotional, challenging and aggressive. At times, it’s hard to watch this capable man falling apart. Now – this is an American series. But it has the kind of subtletly that’s rarely found in some US dramas. That’s probably because it’s based faithfully on a terribly successful Israeli series ‘Be Tipul’. It might also be explained by the presence of two Australian actors in starring roles – Melissa George (Angel from ‘Home and Away’) and Mia Wasikowska (a rising super star). The other factors that set this series apart is the fact that each episode takes place in one room, and it features 2 -3 actors per episode. It’s kind of like watching theatre. Anyway, while ‘In Treatment’ seems to be screened at very odd hours, it’s worth tracking down. Put it in your IQ if you’ve got it. It’s a winner.

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