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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the plot of this unconventional drama is driven by a core cast of mainly adult characters who share sordid details about their lives with a therapist who has problems of his own. Self-destructive behaviors discussed in each episode range from simple lying to adultery, and one 16-year-old patient is suspected of having suicidal tendencies because she rode her bike into oncoming traffic. While the series is too intense for kids, older teens should be emotionally capable of processing the complex emotions embedded in the content. But the format is so cerebral that it's unlikely they'll really want to watch.
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What's the Story?
IN TREATMENT follows seemingly successful psychotherapist Paul Weston (Gabriel Bryne) as he meets with both old and new patients (including Blair Underwood and Embeth Davidtz) over the course of about two months. Burdened by fears that he's on the brink of yet another midlife crisis, Paul also begins weekly visits to his own therapist (Dianne Wiest), a woman who just so happens to be his somewhat estranged former supervisor.
Is It Any Good?
In a departure from typical TV fare, In Treatment airs five nights a week, structuring each episode as a real-time session between Paul and a patient. Over the course of the series' nine-week run, the patients return for another session on the same night every week.
In terms of format, In Treatment is certainly daring. But in this case different isn't necessarily better. While some viewers will undoubtedly appreciate the series' subtle approach to drama -- fueled by dialogue-driven tension and nuanced performances by a crop of fine actors -- others aren't likely to find it enticing enough to stick around and see what happens next. After all, In Treatment not only asks viewers to be patient, but also asks to draw their own conclusions -- and to really and truly think. For most people, that's an awful lot to ask.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how this series (which is based on the critically acclaimed Israeli show BeTipul) takes drama in a new direction by essentially moving the action along in real time over the course of several weeks. Do you think other real-time dramas like 24 might have inspired this show's creators? How else could the show have been structured? Do you think the unusual format makes it more interesting to watch, or does it make the action seem too real -- and therefore boring?
- Premiere date: January 28, 2008
- Cast: Blair Underwood, Dianne Wiest, Gabriel Byrne
- Network: HBO
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: March 30, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate