The Patient

Carell and Gleeson both excel in this dark Hulu series.

The new made-for-Hulu miniseries “The Patient” features comedy star Steve Carell, in his darkest role since “Foxcatcher,” as a psychiatrist named Alan Strauss, who not only loses his wife, but also is held prisoner by one of his patients. Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson uses his American accent as that patient, who calls himself Gene in the office, but his real name is Sam. The reason he abducts Alan is because he can’t talk about his problems in the office, but rather inside his home. He’s a serial killer.

Alan tries to reason with him about how making him a prisoner is not ideal. In fact, he’s scared AF. But he agrees to help him if he talks to him about the crimes he’s about to commit. Gene-I mean-Sam responds: “I’ll do my best.”

2 episodes were provided so far, with each one appearing every Tuesday until October 25th. But I can already tell we’re in for a riveting and daring series that questions the psychiatrist and the killer, and their own aspects on their respective lives. Alan has an estranged son named Ezra (Andrew Leeds), while Sam is prone to take out his next victim.

Twice this year, I’ve seen abduction entertainments where they use the right actors playing killers and prisoners. The movie “The Black Phone” used Ethan Hawke as a masked killer and Mason Thames as his victim. And now, the show “The Patient” uses Gleeson as the killer and Carell as his victim. All performances are uniformly excellent in the ways they express their fears and convictions.

Carell is in his early 60s, and matches quite well with the age of his character, even if the actor isn’t Jewish like his character is. It’s another piece of evidence that we shouldn’t just appreciate him for “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Despicable Me,” or “The Office.” He is a versatile actor.

And Gleeson gives one of his most distinguished (non-commercial) performances as a man who tries to figure out why he’s a killer, and why he doesn’t feel crazy. He has the right dispositions and tones to make people outside his house think he’s a normal guy. He isn’t to Alan or the viewers.

Creators Joe Fields and Joe Weisberg (both behind “The Americans”) both could have made the episodes longer and more evolved, but as I’ve mentioned we were only given the first two episodes. Maybe the remaining 8 will make us look at them differently. For now, I was not only interested in how things are going to go down, but I was also marveled by the performances from the two leads.

This is a short review, but you know why.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Streaming on Hulu Every Tuesday

Categories: Drama, Mystery, Series, Thriller

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