Adapted from a hit Israeli series, In Treatment centers on psychotherapist Paul (Gabriel Byrne), a soothing, smart caregiver whose private life is a constant squabble with his wife (Prison Break‘s Michelle Forbes). The series unfolds in nine weeks of Monday-through-Friday half-hour episodes, with a different recurring patient each weekday (thus straining the concept of ”appointment television”). But just because it’s on HBO with a therapist and a sofa, In Treatment is not Tell Me You Love Me Lite. What Treatment lacks in Tell Me-style graphic sex, it makes up for in hot-tempered neuroses.
On Mondays, Paul practically has to don a chastity belt to fend off Laura (Alias‘ Melissa George), a patient who’s fallen in love with him…and practically every man she meets. My professional diagnosis: She’s a loony nympho. On Tuesdays, Blair Underwood is a cocky Navy pilot grappling with his harrowing battle experiences and his own crumbling marriage. Wednesdays, it’s a defensive teenage gymnast (newcomer Mia Wasikowska) who is too invested in her adult male coach. Thursdays, the sofa is weighed down by married couple Amy (Schindler’s List‘s Embeth Davidtz) and Jake (Sports Night‘s Josh Charles), who, well, just hate each other’s guts. And on Fridays, our hero goes to see his therapist, played by Dianne Wiest with Buddha calm, where he peevishly, so-satisfyingly unloads on everybody above.
It all makes for lots of great soapy intrigue, and Byrne makes you believe he can solve everyone’s problems. Except his own. B+