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'In Treatment' Returns To HBO With Uzo Aduba At The Helm

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

HBO's "In Treatment" is back. The series about a therapist and patients won awards when it aired more than a decade ago with Gabriel Byrne as Dr. Paul Weston. This time, the featured therapist is Dr. Brooke Taylor, who sees patients in person at her home overlooking Los Angeles and these days, of course, virtually. And she sometimes gets calls during off hours, including the middle of the night.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "IN TREATMENT")

ANTHONY RAMOS: (As Eladio) Jesus, mamita, I don't really want to tell you the rest. It's only going to make you worry.

UZO ADUBA: (As Dr. Brooke Taylor) If I worry, I worry. You don't need to protect me from my feelings.

RAMOS: (As Eladio) Am I allowed to worry about you?

ADUBA: (As Dr. Brooke Taylor) What do you mean?

RAMOS: (As Eladio) I didn't expect you to answer so late.

ADUBA: (As Dr. Brooke Taylor) I have no other explanation for being awake other than the agonies, the mad midnight moments.

RAMOS: (As Eladio) "A Grief Observed" - C.S. Lewis.

SIMON: Dr. Brooke Taylor as portrayed by Uzo Aduba, the Emmy Award-winning actress from "Orange Is The New Black" and "Mrs. America." Uzo Aduba joins us now from Los Angeles. Thank you so much for being with us.

ADUBA: Oh, thank you for having me.

SIMON: What drew you to playing Dr. Taylor?

ADUBA: I was drawn to playing it because I was so curious about why do people go to therapy. I was drawn to the woman that Brooke is and how she's trying to find her way through her own trials and challenges.

SIMON: Well, help us understand that. She's going through a period of grieving herself, isn't she?

ADUBA: Yes, she is. She's just lost her father, who she has a challenging relationship with. She's also experienced the loss of another parent, her mother, you know, and she's finding herself examining where she is now and where she - how she wants to proceed without really sort of addressing some of the pains and traumas she's tucked away over the years. And as she tries to mine her way through, we also get to see her be of service to her patients on a weekly basis. That's really interesting to watch, in my opinion. Reading the script, you know, we meet these three characters who are all on the other side of the decision of going to therapy. And we're watching Brooke on the other side of that decision. She hasn't decided to reach out yet for help.

SIMON: Yeah. Do you find yourself watching her and thinking, well, maybe it's easier to see somebody's - somebody else's problems and perspective than your own sometimes?

ADUBA: Oh, yeah. You realize that everybody goes through something at some point, even if you thought at one point the people did not - there were people who did not have problems. We can now say after a year and - is it three months plus? - that we've been through this pandemic that we've all at least have one thing on our list that we've been through, right?

SIMON: Yes. My gosh, yes. I have to ask you a Crazy Eyes question.

ADUBA: (Laughter) OK.

SIMON: You were so memorable as Suzanne Warren - Crazy Eyes from "Orange Is The New Black."

ADUBA: Thank you.

SIMON: I'm just going to guess a lot of people must stop you in the street and tell you how much that character meant to them. She was a breakthrough character for a lot of us in the audience, I think.

ADUBA: I mean, I absolutely loved that experience. It did so much for me artistically, personally, emotionally. She taught me so much, Suzanne. I have had people in the past when we were working on the show reach out in various ways, stop me on the street or reach out over social media and say, you know, I have a daughter battling mental illness or I'm a psychiatric nurse or I struggle myself and feeling seen because they felt they were seeing someone represent that community in a way. It means everything. And it really, really, really was a joy to be able to play her.

SIMON: And then in your storied career, what's it like to play with "Alvin And The Chipmunks"?

ADUBA: (Laughter) You know what? Let me tell you something. That required quite a good deal of imagination.

SIMON: I should imagine. But yes, go ahead.

ADUBA: So, yes, because, you know, they were animated.

SIMON: Yeah.

ADUBA: So there were these little - it almost looked like - what would you call it? - like miniature potato sacks, kind of.

(LAUGHTER)

ADUBA: It was like these little miniature potato sacks that would just be propped up in different places. And you had to talk to them as though (laughter) they were really, you know, doing...

SIMON: As they were real-life chipmunks.

ADUBA: Uh-huh, exactly. I had never done anything like that before, but it was - it really was a lot of fun. I have to say.

(LAUGHTER)

ADUBA: I was not expecting you to ask that.

SIMON: Well, we've got - I couldn't miss the opportunity.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Do you hope that when people see "In Treatment" - for those people who just might be on the line in a good way, but troubled, seeking help, do you hope that this will induce them to do something that will help themselves?

ADUBA: I hope so. I hope that more than anything, you know, certainly it's something I got out of this experience, is that you don't need to suffer in silence. You know, we watch Brooke do just that. And after a certain point, that wall becomes porous, you know, and those levees inevitably break in some way. And so I really hope that this show releases and relieves a lot of people of their apprehensions for reaching out and asking for help. I really, really hope that it gives folks the permission to be OK with not being OK and that there's no shame in that. I think shame can do so much harm...

SIMON: Yeah.

ADUBA: ...Scott, you know, and can stop a lot of good from happening. And if this show can do that for just one person, then I consider it a triumph.

SIMON: Uzo Aduba plays Dr. Brooke Taylor in the new season of HBO's "In Treatment." Thanks so much for being with us.

ADUBA: Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.