Entering the Mind of a Killer: Hulu’s ‘The Patient’  


On August 30th, Hulu released the first two episodes of its new series “The Patient.” The story follows mild-mannered therapist Alan Strauss and his eerie patient Gene.  

Strauss, played by Steve Carrell, begins seeing Gene while wrestling with grief, mourning the loss of his late wife. As the show progresses, Alan and Gene reach a standstill in the therapeutic process. Gene then kidnaps Alan, locking him to the confines of his basement. With Alan in chains, Gene believes that he could make more progress in therapy if he had sessions in his home rather than at an office. Revealing his true name to be Sam, his demeanor is creepy and cold. In a shocking twist, Sam reveals a dark truth about himself. He is a serial killer.  

This psycho-thriller is perfectly paced. The show is edited in a way that keeps you at the edge of your seat, wondering what exactly Gene will do next or if Alan will make it out of the situation alive.  

Carrell portrays Strauss excellently, somehow being full of fear and compassion for his patient all at once. While many know Carrell for his comedic portrayal of Michael Scott in the hit comedy “The Office,” in recent years he has taken on more serious roles. These portrayals are refreshing to see and showcase his duality as an actor.  

On the other hand, Domhnall Gleeson portrays the killer Sam disturbingly well. Known most prominently for his role as Bill Weasley in the “Harry Potter” franchise, Gleeson’s work as Sam is a fresh face on screen. His portrayal of this troubled individual reminded me of characters such as Norman Bates or Patrick Bateman. Gleeson has an air of mystery and charm about him. With each line of dialogue, Sam comes off as chilling and calculated, always thinking of his next words or moves carefully.   

As a viewer, I was intrigued by the dynamic between the two stars. Even in captivity, Alan shows a kindness to his patient that is somewhat confusing. Naturally, at first, Alan is scared for his life. We watch him try to devise an escape plan, but soon he realizes that the only way he may make it out alive is to try and understand the deeply disturbed mind of a killer. By helping his client through his many issues, he thinks that eventually Sam might show him mercy.  

While the second episode lands on a brutal cliffhanger, I am excited to continue watching. This drama releases new episodes every Tuesday, and hopefully Alan will make it out soon. Alternatively, I was left wondering if Alan can perhaps enter the dark mind of a killer and see if there can be any resolution as to why Sam is drawn to kill.  

If you enjoy watching genres such as true crime or thrillers, “The Patient” will leave you at the edge of your seat, waiting in anticipation to see what comes next.  

Rating: ⅘  

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