Thanks to my friend m.poulet, I learned about In Treatment only about 2 years after it was cancelled by HBO. It is a fascinating look at psychotherapy as it focuses on three individual sessions and one couple therapy as well as the consultations of the psychotherapist himself. Gabriel Byrne’s portrayal of Paul Weston is captivating and incredibly realistic. I went back and watched Usual Suspects and appreciated his part in that movie but find that the acting in this series easily eclipses that more famous role for Gabriel. The patients here are all engaging and we want to watch all 7 weeks of therapy even if it amounts of an enormous volume of television (22.5h roughly!). I couldn’t stop watching it once I was started. One sad thing in common in each story was the danger (and realisation in nearly every case) of a rupture in relationships. With perhaps the exception of Laura, each of the characters is poignant and there are actually many heart-rending scenes. The problems in Paul’s own life – strains with his wife Kate, perceived problems with his kids, his own psychic crisis) only serve to raise the tension up another notch. Perhaps most interesting was the face-off between Paul (from the more transactional-based theory) and Gina (with a more strictly analytical approach) in light of the unspoken (and cleverly revealed) history between them. What was amazing in this show is the use of silence. The pauses are heavy with meaning and play a huge role in fleshing out the various issues that the characters are working through. I found the show gave me a whole new appreciation for the complexity of psychotherapy. I am not sure that I’d be able to separate each of the patient’s lives session-to-session and my own life as well as Paul (usually) does. It was really monumental in many ways. Now it has me curious to know how the original “Be Tipul” show was. Perhaps some Israelis reading this blog will comment and let me know. In any case, the next time I have loads of time on my hands and I am not deep in a book (as I am right now with Moby Dick), I’ll probably pick up Season 2 and eventually the last one, Season 3.
UPDATE: I have it on good authority (a friend of mine who is Israeli) that Be Tipul was perhaps the best show ever produced in Israel and was extremely popular. It seemd to also have a shelf-life of three seasons.