The third season of In Treatment on HBO, an intimate look at what goes on in the office of psychotherapist, Paul Weston gets off to a strong start with Sunil, a grief-stricken Bengali man who has recently lost his wife. So far, Sunil is my favorite patient and that’s probably due in no small part to Irrfan Khan who embodies Sunil so realistically and completely, it feels I’m completely eavesdropping on the life of a real person.

I can’t say the same for Jesse, the story of an adopted, homosexual teen who has to deal with his birth mother contacting him for the first time. This is my least favorite character this season and I can see Dane DeHaan acting the entire time. It could be Jesse is supposed to be this showy and over the top because he’s a teenager but I find him plain annoying and tiresome. I would send this kid to a third world country to do some volunteer work so he can get over himself.

Debra Winger’s Frances, a famous, aging actress rounds out the third patient we get to spy on in Paul’s Brooklyn office. Frances seeks therapy because she’s forgetting lines during rehearsals for her latest play. But, as with anyone who walks into a therapist’s office, there’s a lot more going on underneath. I’m a big Debra Winger fan but I’m not taken by this character either. She comes off as whiny and self-centered in the first episode but I’m still interested in seeing where this character is going.

Paul’s still imploding personal life in the aftermath of a divorce from his wife of 21 years and the impact that has on him and his children is the most fascinating aspect of the show besides Sunil. I’m looking forward to seeing Paul on the other side of the couch with his new therapist, Adele who is played by the always flawless, Amy Ryan. As a fellow therapist, Adele is sympathetic to Paul but firm about keeping within her professional boundaries, which Paul tries to push from the minute he walks in to her office.

Despite the fact that at this point I’m not crazy about the Jesse and Frances storylines, I have to give this show credit for managing to take two people in a room simply talking to each other and making it so involving. There is nowhere to hide with this format. It is all about the writing, directing and acting and even when I don’t fully connect with one of the characters, I would rather watch this show anytime over a boring, predictable, wrap it up in an hour procedural. In real life nothing ever gets wrapped up in an hour and that’s the beauty of this show.

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