HBO has me back on the couch for a second season of its series In Treatment. Gabriel Byrne returns as psychotherapist Dr. Paul West and, as before, the show focuses on a different patient's session (including West's own with his therapist) for each of its half-hour installments.
Viewers who were psyched to see the good doctor hang out his shingle the first time will welcome the show's return with its formula – strengths, but also weaknesses – basically intact.
Aside from Byrne and returning cast member Dianne Wiest (as fellow shrink Dr. Gina Toll), season two offers a quartet of new patients: Mia (Hope Davis), a once-and-future patient who's also defending West in a malpractice suit; April (Alison Pill), a college student diagnosed with cancer; Oliver (Aaron Shaw), an 11-year-old coping with his parents' impending divorce; and Walter (John Mahoney), an insomniac CEO prone to anxiety attacks.
As we learn in the exposition-crammed opener, the recently divorced West has relocated from Maryland to New York. (The fact that he's new to the neighborhood is evident in the fact that West will open his front door in the middle of the night to anyone claiming to have a delivery.)
Gabriel Byrne is fabulous in this role. I watched the opening episodes both Sunday and Monday and I'm hooked for another season.