In Treatment

In Treatment
On Mondays, Paul (Gabriel Byrne), a psychiatrist at a crossroads, treats Laura (Melissa George), a sexually damaged young doctor whose inability to interpret male interest outside of passive objectification leads to a romantic transference to Paul. She is clear about this; she asks Paul to fuck her. On Tuesdays, Paul sees Alex (Blair Underwood), an arrogant pilot whose life of adhering to expectations is crumbling around him. Alex thinks psychiatry and talking about emotions are for "faggots." Wednesdays bring Sophie (Mia Wasikowska), a suicidal teen gymnast with abandonment and body issues. And on Thursdays, Paul sees Jake and Amy (Josh Charles and Embeth Davidtz), a mismatched couple whose problems go far deeper than unwanted pregnancies and conception issues. While these half-hour episodes are little more than heightened therapy sessions, they are nothing short of hypnotic and addictive. Never do these talking heads become a bore, and never do these people fail to surprise, or show new complexities and depth. In fact, the show is so insightful and true that it's difficult not to internalize it and perform some form of self-analysis, finding personal insights and catharsis, leaving the craving for more a constant. While these therapy sessions alone make for compelling television, the decisive factor is that on Fridays, Paul sees Gina (Dianne Wiest), his psychiatrist, to discuss these patients, as well as his failing marriage to Kate (Michelle Forbes), which provides the audience with his internal perspective, which he obviously keeps hidden in session. No doubt, the performances are all top-notch, solidifying the notion that Mia Wasikowska is on her way to super-stardom and that Melissa George is only a small step away from Oscar-calibre projects, which only heighten the drama, and surprisingly, the comedy of this 43-episode first season. The only determinable weakness of the series is the handful of episodes that step outside of the office, be it for a discussion with Paul's kids or a funeral. These moments outside of treatment prove distracting and strangely, less sincere. This minor quibble aside, In Treatment is truly one of the greatest things to hit the boob tube, for fans of character pieces, in quite some time. The nine-disc DVD box set includes no commentaries or supplements, which is strangely appropriate for the show, as it's so candid about itself all the way through that further explanation is unnecessary. (Warner)