The Patient Trailer: Steve Carell Tries To Therapize The Serial Killer Holding Him Captive

Therapy sessions have been the site of huge TV predicaments, dramatic character revelations, and occasionally, genuine growth. After all, where would Tony Soprano be without Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) to confide in? How would any of the "Sex Education" teens survive high school without an adult (or fellow teen moonlighting as a therapist) to guide them through the rough patches? And, alright, no one's arguing that seeing Dr. Hannibal Lecter has ever improved anyone's life, but it's certainly made for entertaining TV.

Whatever the circumstances — mob boss, horny teen, criminal profiler, or even just your average woman trapped in a traumatic time loop — it's always a pleasure to see fictional characters build towards that change. The emotions! The tension! The dramatic outbursts! All of this and more will be on full display in the upcoming FX series, "The Patient," starring Steve Carell as a therapist to an obsessive young man (Domhnall Gleeson) with dangerously dark thoughts. 

Fair warning: This is not to be confused with "The Shrink Next Door," another recent series where a comedian took a dramatic turn as a therapist. Nor should it be confused with Apple TV+'s upcoming series "Shrinking," where Harrison Ford stars alongside Jason Segel as an aging therapist who goes rogue. But I totally see how it might be hard to keep up with all these therapy-centered prestige dramas, so here's how you can tell this one apart from the others: in "The Patient," a therapist is being held hostage by his serial killer patient.

The Patient trailer

It's hard to say which of these casting decisions is more thrilling — the charismatic Domhnall Gleeson as a serial killer, or Steve Carell as a therapist fighting to keep his cool. Making "The Patient" even more enticing is the fact that it comes from "The Americans" showrunners Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg. In its official synopsis, FX describes the series as a "psychological thriller ... about a therapist, Alan Strauss (Steve Carell), who's held prisoner by a patient, Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson), who reveals himself to be a serial killer." 

While holding Dr. Strauss in captivity, Sam will make an unusual therapeutic demand, asking the doctor to "curb his homicidal urges." But his resistance to addressing crucial topics — like his mother (played by Linda Emond) — will make this a challenge for Alan. Well, that and the chain around his ankle. The synopsis goes on to say:

Alone in captivity, Alan excavates his own past through memories of his old therapist, Charlie (David Alan Grier), and grapples with waves of his own repressed troubles – the recent death of his wife, Beth (Laura Niemi), and the painful estrangement from his religious son, Ezra (Andrew Leeds). Over the course of his imprisonment, Alan uncovers not only how deep Sam's compulsion runs, but also how much work he has to do to repair the rift in his own family. With time running out, Alan fights desperately to stop Sam before Alan becomes complicit in Sam's murders or worse – becomes a target himself.

"The Patient," which was produced by FX, will stream exclusively on Hulu starting August 30, 2022.