THE PATIENT – Review by Susan Granger

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At the start of this claustrophobic, bizarrely unpredictable series, recently widowed psychotherapist Alan Strauss (Steve Carell) is kidnapped by Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson), a victim of traumatic childhood-abuse who has become a serial killer. Alan is kept prisoner in the dingy basement of an isolated house in the woods.

“You have to fix me,” psychotic Sam insists, as therapist and patient try to curb Sam’s homicidal compulsion.

Chained to the floor, Alan lies on a bed with a plastic urinal and bedpan nearby, along with Dunkin Donuts coffee and repeated interludes of Kenny Chesney music. Sam tells Alan about No Shoes Nation, Chesney’s community of fans, and reveals that he’s been to 27 of the musician’s concerts.

Each night, Sam supplies ethnic take-out meals that he buys while driving home from work as a restaurant health inspector.

The lengthy ordeal allows Alan to reflect on his secular Jewish faith and regret his estrangement from his son, Ezra (Andrew Leeds), who converted to Orthodox Judaism, which Alan and his late wife Beth (Laura Neimi) considered rigid and restrictive, particularly when Ezra had children of his own. Beth, who died of cancer, was a cantor in a Reform synagogue,

Emanating from Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, the same production/writing team that created FX’s Russian-spy drama The Americans, there are many, often revealing flashbacks, plus David Alan Grier as Dr. Charlie Addison, Alan’s long-deceased therapist – with whom Alan has imaginary conversations – and Linda Emond as Candace Fortner, Sam’s mother who – while she fears for Sam – is also afraid of him.

What distinguishes this dark, grim psychological thriller about forgiveness and atonement is the consummately subdued acting displayed by Steve Carell (The Office) and Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina). And throughout the series, I kept thinking it would make an effective stage play.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, The Patient is an intense, suspense-spiraling, often surprising 6 – all 10 episodes running only 20-25 minutes in length except the finale – and all are now streaming on Hulu.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.