Review: Problems aplenty on couch trip revival 'In Treatment'

HBO's revival of the series last seen a decade ago stars Uzo Aduba as a therapist with a trio of clients hashing out their issues.

Tom Long
Special to The Detroit News
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Climate change, racism, poverty, homelessness, war, terrorism. Oh, and a pandemic that still kills thousands a day.

You would think we have enough problems. But HBO says no, we could use a few more.

Uzo Aduba in "In Treatment."

With that in mind it’s offering a revival of “In Treatment,” a show last seen a decade ago. Three times a week a therapist sits down with a patient and they talk about problems. Then a fourth episode is built around the therapist’s problems. It’s problems aplenty.

In the original “In Treatment” the therapist was played by Gabriel Byrne. This time around we have Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”) as Brooke, hosting patients in her somewhat lavish home in the hills above Los Angeles.

For this season each week’s opening episode has Brooke counseling Eladio (Anthony Ramos), a home health aide who works for a rich family and suffers from insomnia. Next she talks with Colin (John Benjamin Hickey), a white collar criminal who’s just gotten out of prison thanks to COVID-19.

On day three Brooke has poor little rich girl Laila (Quintessa Swindell), whose grandmother wants the gay chased out of her. And then on the fourth day the show focuses on Brooke’s own messy life.

The episodes run under a half hour and are presented two at a time. The set is limited to Brooke’s house and — by Zoom — Eladio’s bedroom. Mostly it’s just two people hashing out woes.

It’s intimate stuff and a clear showcase for the actors, who are uniformly fine. The weak spot is Brooke’s weekly episode — she's struggling, and it's a struggle that's overly familiar.

Still, the show does provide viewers with plenty of messy situations to distract from the real world’s messy situations. And since an entire season of “In Treatment” likely costs less than the catering for one episode of “Game of Thrones,” this parade of problems may march on for a while. 

Great — more misery.'In Treatment'

GRADE: B-

10 p.m. Sunday

HBO

Tom Long is a longtime contributor to The Detroit News.

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