In Treatment (American TV series)

In Treatment is an American HBO drama, produced and developed by Rodrigo Garcia, about a psychotherapist,[1] 50-something Dr. Paul Weston, and his weekly sessions with patients, as well as those with his own therapist at the end of the week. The program, which stars Gabriel Byrne as Paul, debuted on January 28, 2008, as a five-night-a-week series. The series' executive producer and principal director was Paris Barclay, who directed 35 episodes, the most of any director on the series, and the only director who directed episodes in all three seasons. The program's format, script and opening theme are based on, and are often verbatim translations of the Israeli series BeTipul, created by Hagai Levi, Ori Sivan and Nir Bergman.

In Treatment
Based onBeTipul
by Hagai Levi
Ori Sivan
Nir Bergman
Developed byRodrigo Garcia
StarringGabriel Byrne
Dianne Wiest
Michelle Forbes
Melissa George
Blair Underwood
Mia Wasikowska
Embeth Davidtz
Josh Charles
Hope Davis
Alison Pill
Aaron Shaw
Sherri Saum
Russell Hornsby
John Mahoney
Irrfan Khan
Debra Winger
Dane DeHaan
Amy Ryan
Alex Wolff
Theme music composerAvi Belleli
Composer(s)Richard Marvin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes106 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Rodrigo García
Stephen Levinson
Hagai Levi
Mark Wahlberg
Warren Leight
Paris Barclay
Dan Futterman
Anya Epstein
Noa Tishby
Production location(s)Los Angeles (season 1)
New York City (seasons 2–3)
Running time22–30 minutes
Production company(s)Leverage Management
Closest to the Hole Productions
Original networkHBO
Original releaseJanuary 28, 2008 (2008-01-28) 
December 7, 2010 (2010-12-07)
External links

After winning critical acclaim and numerous honors, including Emmy, Golden Globe and Writers Guild awards, In Treatment returned for a second season, premiering on April 5, 2009.[2] The second season built on the success of the first, winning a 2009 Peabody Award. The third and final season premiered on October 26, 2010, for a seven-week run, with four episodes per week.

The series was renewed for a second season on June 20, 2008, with Byrne, Wiest and Glynn Turman returning. Michelle Forbes, who played Paul's wife in the first season, made two brief appearances in the second season. Production on Season 2 began in New York City in the fall and wrapped up in early 2009.[3] According to The New York Times, production relocated to New York from Los Angeles at the insistence of Byrne, who otherwise threatened to resign. The move and the addition of Sunday night to the schedule were considered votes of confidence in the series by HBO executives.[2]

HBO Canada, a multiplex channel that includes The Movie Network in Eastern Canada and Movie Central in Western Canada, aired the program simultaneously with HBO in the U.S.[4] During the first few weeks of Season 1, episodes were available on HBO's website in streaming video. The free service was discontinued, however, when Apple's iTunes and Amazon Unbox began offering the first 15 shows for download.


Set in Baltimore,[2], psychotherapist Dr. Paul Weston has a private practice where he carries out sessions with his patients in his own home. He begins to question his own abilities and motives, so he seeks help from his former mentor and therapist Dr. Gina Toll, whom he has not seen for ten years.


Paul Weston

Gabriel Byrne portrays Dr. Paul Weston, a charming, relentless psychologist, who is seeking his own peaceful existence, free of self-doubt and ambivalence. Paul is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he earned his undergraduate degree, Columbia University, where he earned a master's degree and The New School, where he received his PhD (however, there is a scene in season one in which two diplomas from the University of Pennsylvania are displayed near the door to Paul's office). In summer 1988, he moved to Maryland, where he worked at the Washington–Baltimore Psychoanalytic Institute and later established his private practice in Baltimore.

Gina Toll

Dianne Wiest portrays psychotherapist Dr. Gina Toll, Paul Weston's former mentor and clinical supervisor whom Paul avoided for nine years after an argument over reservations expressed by Gina in a letter of recommendation on Paul's behalf. She acts as a sounding board for Paul's doubts about his own motives and abilities.

Season summaries

Each episode of In Treatment focuses on one patient, including Paul, who is seeing his clinical supervisor and psychotherapist, Gina.

Season 1

Therapy patient Laura, professes her love for Paul, which causes their relationship to grow more complex and difficult to control. Laura's personal issues include being seduced by a much older man when she was a teenager. She begins an unsatisfying sexual relationship with Alex, another of Paul’s patients. Paul reflects on his own feelings for her and believes that he is in love with her, however sessions with Gina fail to resolve his inner conflict over his desire and professional responsibility. Midway through the season, Laura ends her therapy with Paul after he continues to reject her advances. Paul and Laura encounter each other at Alex's funeral, and later Paul decides pursue Laura at the risk of destroying his marriage, but a panic attack prevents him from going through with it.

Alex, a fighter pilot who finds it impossible to express his internal struggles, meets Laura and has a brief affair with her. Paul tries to get Alex to break through to his reasons for running himself to exhaustion and examine his feelings about killing Iraqi schoolchildren during a sanctioned mission. Alex drifts into instability, eventually deciding to end his therapy, and returns to the military just as Paul begins to make progress with Alex's repressed insecurities. Alex is killed during a training exercise, and although his death is ruled an accident, some indications suggest that Alex's death may have been a suicidal reaction caused by the trauma of therapeutic reflection.

Sophie's ambivalence to life is elicited and broken down by Paul, who is able to successfully examine her underage sexual relationship with her much-older gymnastics coach Cy and its effects on her, in addition to her conflicted feelings about her divorced parents and her father's distance from her. Eventually, Sophie benefits greatly from her therapy with Paul and begins to repair her relationship with her parents. At the end of the season, Sophie leaves Baltimore to pursue further gymnastic training in Denver.

Jake and Amy's debate regarding whether or not she should have an abortion is just the prologue to an extremely volatile, dysfunctional relationship. During their second therapy session, Amy experiences a miscarriage, but the couple returns to therapy to work on their issues. Amy's inability to hold emotional connection leads her to have an affair with her boss, a man she finds "gross" but uses as a buffer against her husband. Jake and Amy each have an individual sessions, and finally and sadly decide to end their tumultuous marriage and share custody of their son. Jake believes that the therapy was helpful, but Amy thinks it hurt their marriage.

Throughout the season, Gina and Paul confront each other over issues regarding their shared history and opposing views, but by the finale Paul realizes he needs her input and agrees to continue therapy.

The first season consists of 43 episodes, with each episode airing on their allotted day of the week, Monday through Friday.[5] The episodes were spread over nine weeks for most of the characters, except in the final week, which did not have Monday or Tuesday night installments.

Main Characters
Actor Character Weekday Role
Gabriel ByrneDr. Paul WestonVariousPaul is a 50-something psychologist who has weekly sessions with patients and his former mentor Gina.
Melissa GeorgeLaura HillMondayLaura is an anesthesiologist who is erotically fixated on Paul.
Blair UnderwoodAlex PrinceTuesdayAlex is a fighter pilot traumatized by a bombing mission in Iraq that had unintended consequences.
Mia WasikowskaSophieWednesdaySophie is a suicidal, teen-aged gymnast.
Embeth Davidtz
Josh Charles
ThursdayAmy and Jake initially commence couples' therapy because of their conflict over whether or not to end her pregnancy.
Dianne WiestDr. Gina TollFridayGina is Paul's former therapist and mentor who plays devil's advocate to his ambivalence.
Michelle ForbesKate WestonVariousPaul's wife who later attends Paul's sessions with Gina
Supporting Characters
Actor Character Weekday Role
Jake RichardsonIanVariousPaul and Kate's 20-year-old son
Mae WhitmanRosieVariousPaul and Kate's 16-year-old daughter
Max BurkholderMaxVariousPaul and Kate's youngest son
Peter HortonZackVariousSophie's father
Julia CampbellOliviaVariousSophie's mother
Glynn TurmanAlex Prince, Sr.VariousAlex's father

Season 2

Paul, now divorced and quite lonely, has relocated to Brooklyn, and uses the living room of his small refurbished walk-up brownstone for patient visits. He has brought his books and his patient files with him to his new apartment. In Session 1 he states that he attended Columbia University, but this is in complete contradiction to the two University of Pennsylvania diplomas that hung in his Maryland (Season 1) office next to the patient exit door. He never mentions anything about Penn. He is served with a malpractice lawsuit from Alex's father in the first episode,[6][7] and becomes preoccupied with the consequences.

Alex Sr. sues Paul for negligence, charging him with failing to prevent the death of his son Alex Jr., a former patient who voluntarily discontinued therapy and was killed in a plane crash that was either an accident or suicide. Alex, Sr. and his lawyers contend that Paul's professional responsibility was to contact the military and report Alex, Jr. unfit for duty. (from season 1). Alex Sr. later meets with Paul and makes a loaded offer: if Paul writes a letter taking blame for Alex Jr.'s death, he will drop the lawsuit against him, satisfied to have his belief that Paul is 100% at fault confirmed.

Paul's personal neurotic and self-aggrandizing behavior was a significant theme throughout the series.[8][9] He identified with all of his patients' issues and interpersonal conflicts on some level. Ironically, he was their composite personality, except he was intended to be the resolution expert. His self-doubt and feelings of personal inadequacy revealed over the seven weeks made him appear even more vulnerable than those he was treating. As the final episode drew to a close, Paul pulled the plug on his own desire for treatment, with the same ambivalence his patients had exhibited. Was it really making a difference? Alex's father has a meeting where he makes this offer: he will drop his lawsuit if Paul will write him a letter taking 100% of the blame for Alex's death. Paul considers this offer but later concurs with Gina's advice and tells Alex Sr. his offer is rejected. The lawsuit was dismissed as frivolous, and his angst involving his professional competency was alleviated, at least temporarily.[10][11]

The final symbolic message Paul delivered to his audience by that decision was, there are times in one's life when therapy is valuable for a person to become more grounded in reality. However, more often than not, therapy alone only serves as a road map to find a patient's way in the world. Paul realizes he "needs to stop analyzing his life and needs to start living it". Given enough time and patience, and by accepting that there are past events that cannot be controlled or changed, everything in life tends to work out by itself and not by recreation or reparation of former deeds.[10][11]

The season had seven episodes for each character. The "Monday" and "Tuesday" sessions aired back-to-back on Sundays, while the remaining three ran on Mondays. HBO repeated the episodes in sequence, several times each week. The season's executive producer was Warren Leight, who previously worked on Law and Order: Criminal Intent.[2]

Actor Character Weekday Role
Hope DavisMia NeskyMondayMia is successful malpractice attorney and former patient of Paul's from 20 years ago. She blames him for her present status: an unmarried, childless workaholic, who makes poor choices in men.
Alison PillAprilTuesdayApril is Pratt Institute architecture student diagnosed with lymphoma which she has been concealing from everyone but Paul. She is in denial about the severity of her illness.
Aaron Shaw
Sherri Saum
Russell Hornsby
Wednesday Oliver is the 12-year-old son of Bess and Luke, a divorcing couple who claim to love their son but are intent in pursuing their own goals. Oliver is caught in the middle and blames himself for his family's chaos.
John MahoneyWalter BarnettThursdayWalter is self-confident CEO with a history of panic attacks, who finds his life is becoming overwhelming.
Dianne WiestDr. Gina TollFridayGina is Paul's own therapist and mentor who diligently tries to guide Paul away from a mid-life crisis and down the road to personal satisfaction and validation.
Glynn TurmanAlex Prince Sr.VariousAlex Sr. sues Paul for negligence, over failing to prevent the death of his son Alex Jr., a former patient who died after discontinuing sessions with Paul.
Laila RobinsTammy KentVariousTammy is Paul's first girlfriend and, coincidentally, a patient of Gina's.

Season 3

The third season is the first series not based on the original Israeli series "Be Tipul", which ran for only two seasons. The format is similar, each week, a series of patients visit psychotherapist Paul Weston in half-hour episodes, while in the last, Paul visits his own therapist which is Adele Brouse rather than Gina Toll who appeared in the first two seasons.

Also, there are only three patients this time around, and their stories offer a similar depth to the previous seasons. Paul still lives in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn though he does now have a young girlfriend, Wendy.

On Mondays, he meets with Sunil, a widower transported to New York from Calcutta following the death of his wife, to live with his son, his son’s wife and their two young children.

Tuesday’s patient is Frances, a self-described successful actress who has returned to the stage, but has difficulty remembering her lines. She’s also coping with a dying sister, a broken marriage and a scornful teenage daughter.

On Wednesdays Paul sees Jesse, a high school student who believes his adopted parents hate him because he is gay though he is also bitter, abusive and manipulative.

Paul eventually re-enters therapy with the young psychoanalyst Adele Brouse, initially seeking a prescription for sleep medication, but she accurately perceives that lack of sleep is not his real problem.

The show remained set in Paul's apartment in Brooklyn, New York, the same location of his office in season 2. Unlike its first two seasons, the third season contained only four episodes per week. The show aired on Mondays and Tuesdays and, like season 2, had seven weeks of sessions.

Following the final episode of the second season, Leight said in an interview that a third season remained a possibility, but pointed out that the show had been exhausting for everyone involved and also somewhat less than a "breakout hit" for HBO.[12] However, on October 23, 2009, HBO announced that it had picked up In Treatment for a third season. Production began in early 2010 for a premiere in late October.[13]

Main Characters
Actor Character Weekday Role
Irrfan KhanSunilMondayAfter his wife's death, 52-year-old Sunil emigrated to the United States from Calcutta, to live with his son and daughter-in-law. He is deeply depressed over his wife's death and angry at what he sees as his daughter-in-law's insensitivity. Sunil talks to Paul even though psychotherapy is stigmatized in his culture.
Debra WingerFrancesTuesdayA successful actress, Frances comes to see Paul because she is having trouble remembering her lines Meanwhile, she is troubled that her sister has breast cancer like her mother, and fears that she is next.
Dane DeHaanJesseWednesdayA homosexual teenager living with his adoptive parents, Jesse harbors significant anger toward them and himself. Jesse is by turns aggressive, capriciously manipulative, fearful, abrasive and vulnerable, and has been peddling prescription drugs and sleeping with older men. Jesse's world turns upside down when he receives a call from his birth mother, with whom he has not had any contact since infancy.
Amy RyanAdele BrouseFridayA young psychoanalyst recommended by a neurologist friend of Paul's to prescribe him more sleep medication. Adele raises questions about Paul view of his life, particularly his relationship with Gina Toll. Despite initial reluctance, Paul finds himself respecting Adele as a therapist.
Supporting Characters
Actor Character Weekday Role
Alex WolffMaxVariousPaul's youngest son who leaves his mother's house in Baltimore to move in with Paul.
James Lloyd ReynoldsSteveVariousKate's new fiancé and Max's future stepfather, of whom Paul is initially jealous.
Susan MisnerWendyVariousPaul's girlfriend.
Samrat ChakrabartiArunMondaySunil's son who is housing his father and enrolls him in therapy to help him through his grief.
Sonya WalgerJuliaMondayArun's wife and Sunil's daughter-in-law who disapproves of Sunil's behavior at home
Dendrie TaylorMarisaWednesdayJesse's adoptive mother.
Joseph SiravoRobertoWednesdayJesse's adopted father.

On March 30, 2011, HBO said In Treatment would not continue in its existing form but the network was talking with the show's producers about possibly continuing in a different format.[14][15] The final result was the ending of the series, with the third season being the last.

Critical response

The series was generally well-received, attaining positive reviews. On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season scored 70/100,[16] the second season scored 85/100,[17] and the third season scored 83/100.[18]

The Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara called it "cleverly conceived," well-written and -acted, though "stagey" and "strain[ing]... believability".[19] Variety's Brian Lowry deemed it "more interesting structurally than in its execution".[20] On Slate, Troy Patterson found it tiresome for its "nattering" and "ambitious hogwash".[21] In Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker gave it a "B+", with "lots of great soapy intrigue".[22] The New York Times praised the show: "In Treatment [...] is hypnotic, mostly because it withholds information as intelligently as it reveals it. [...] The half-hour episodes are addictive, and few viewers are likely to be satisfied with just one session at a time. [...] In Treatment provides an irresistible peek at the psychopathology of everyday life—on someone else's tab."[23]

Differences from BeTipul

The script of the first season of In Treatment was heavily based on BeTipul's Hebrew script, and the Israeli writers are credited in the episodes' final credits. The following are the main differences between the shows:

  • In Treatment skips the first 2 episodes of the last week, unlike BeTipul, making its first season two episodes shorter.
  • In Treatment's episode 36, which takes place outside of the therapist's office, is completely absent in BeTipul.
  • Paul's interactions with his son Ian have no equivalent in BeTipul, as the therapist's oldest son is away in the army for the entire first season. Instead, that entire episode is dedicated to the therapist's talk with his daughter, which is interrupted in the American episode.
  • The treated pilot's military association.
  • The treated pilot's father's life and cultural background and his difficult experiences with his father. (In the Israeli version, the pilot's father is a Holocaust survivor.)
  • Avi Belleli's opening theme was considerably shortened for the American series.
  • In season 2 of BeTipul, Oliver is the son of the characters who receive couple's therapy in season 1.
  • In season 2 of BeTipul, April's brother has bipolar disorder, not autism as in the American version.
  • Season 3 stories of In Treatment are completely new and have no affiliation with the original show as BeTipul only ran for two seasons.

Awards and nominations


  1. Schwartz, Dana (October 2008). "'In Treatment' gets the treatment". American Psychological Association. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  2. Orange, Michelle (April 2, 2009). "Sessions and the Single Man". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2009.
  3. Weprin, Alex (June 20, 2008). "HBO Goes Back 'In Treatment'". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  4. "The doctor is in...a new season of In Treatment begins April 5 on HBO Canada". CNW Group. March 10, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2009.
  5. Karpel, Ari. "Winter TV Preview: Inside 18 New Shows". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 16, 2008.
  6. "In Treatment: Complaint Document, Roland Prince v. Paul Weston, Ph.D." (pdf). HBO. 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  7. "In Treatment: Laura Hill's Deposition" (pdf). HBO. 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  8. Hawkins, Kristal (April 7, 2009). "In Treatment Gina: What's the Meta, Paul?". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  9. Hawkins, Kristal (April 28, 2009). "In Treatment: Eating Themselves Up Inside". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  10. Hawkins, Kristal (May 19, 2009). "In Treatment: The Fighting Cure". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  11. Hawkins, Kristal (May 26, 2009). "In Treatment Season Finale: Analyze This". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  12. Sepinwall, Alan (May 25, 2009). "In Treatment: Warren Leight Breaks Down Season Two". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  13. Andreeva, Nellie (October 23, 2009). "'In Treatment' picked up for third season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  14. Andreeva, Nellie (March 30, 2011). "UPDATE: HBO's 'In Treatment' May Continue In Different Format". Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  15. Levine, Stuart (March 30, 2011). "EXCLU: HBO no longer 'In Treatment'". Variety. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  16. "In Treatment: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  17. "In Treatment: Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  18. "In Treatment: Season 3". Metacritic. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  19. McNamara, Mary (January 28, 2008). "'Treatment' cures the rerun blues". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  20. Lowry, Brian (January 18, 2008). "In Treatment". Variety. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  21. Patterson, Troy (January 28, 2008). "Crazy Talk". Slate. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  22. Tucker, Ken (January 18, 2008). "In Treatment (2008)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  23. Stanley, Alessandra (January 28, 2008). "Television Review 'In Treatment' Four Days, a Therapist; Fifth Day, a Patient". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  24. "In Treatment (HBO)". The Peabody Awards. May 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
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