“The Patient”: clumsy face

Despite the magnetic presence of Steve Carell, this series on Disney + is bogged down in psychoanalytical clichés.

The unlikely cross between In therapy and Dahmer : this is how we are tempted to present The Patient, in which the eponymous patient of a psychologist turns out to be a serial killer trying to curb his criminal impulses. So, to secure the exclusivity of his services, and to be able to reveal his true nature to him, Sam Fortner kidnaps his therapist and chains him to the foot of a bed, giving him an ultimatum to “cure” him of his impulses, otherwise he would relieve them on a new victim.

The shrink is Steve Carell, who proves, once again, that he is more than a comedy genius trying his hand at counter-employment, a great dramatic actor. The killer is Domhnall Gleeson, also out of character since he is used to the roles of good guysless convincing as a psychopath with the monstrosity returned, and who struggles to instill the feeling of unease and dread that exhaled, for example, Evan Peters in Jeffrey Dahmer.

A tense face-to-face that lasts 10 episodes

If the confrontations between psychiatrist and patient are commonplace in the series, and a widely proven narrative spring – from Homecoming at In therapywithout forgetting The Sopranos and his memorable sessions on the couch between Tony Soprano and Doctor Melfi – that of The Patient takes on a necessarily programmatic dimension, and is coupled with a high concept as contemporary series love it: the tense face-to-face between a shrink taken hostage and his patient serial killer, stretched over 10 episodes of 25 minutes. Lie down here.

So, to transmute a psychoanalysis session spread over four hours, moreover behind closed doors, into a confrontation under high tension, the series gradually incorporates elements likely to aggravate an already tense situation a little more: the killer’s mother, who is discovered to be an accomplice in the kidnapping, appears, while Sam kidnaps a new victim, whom he will coldly threaten to execute if his imposed therapy does not bear fruit.

Psychoanalytical clichés

This is where the weakness of a series that is otherwise not devoid of qualities lies: rather than fully investing its conceptual fiber, and making the face-to-face that occupies it a worried study of monstrosity and its psychological components, The Patient is more attached to its vaguely police intrigue which summons others; and expounding on the truly unfathomable nature of an evil that even escapes his executioner ultimately interests him less than disentangling his captive shrink from a borderline situation. Psychoanalytic discourse is thus reduced to a few eternal clichés (a violent father, a resigning mother) and Domhnall Gleeson never really manages to make us believe in his character, a young man condemned to violence by obscure forces that will remain impenetrable.

Created by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (showrunners of the awesome The Americans), The Patient has undeniable qualities, such as the score of Steve Carell, perfect as a shrink bereaved by the death of his wife, overwhelmed by a complicated family history, which we discover in small touches in rather well brought flashbacks. Alas, the series fails to carry out the intention which nevertheless seemed to animate it: the methodical dissection (by psychotherapy) of an abysmal evil, which fascinates as much by its monstrosity as by its opacity. is not mindhunter wants.

The Patienton Disney+, available.

“The Patient”: clumsy face-to-face between a shrink and a serial killer – Les Inrocks