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The Patient's Showrunners Felt Alan's Tragic Ending Was The Most Authentic Route To Take

The following contains spoilers for "The Patient" finale.

The climactic finale to the Hulu limited series "The Patient" saw the imprisoned psychotherapist Alan Strauss (Steve Carall) making a last-ditch effort to escape the clutches of his eponymous patient — the serial killer Sam Fortner (Domnhall Gleeson).

Following a breakthrough in which Alan successfully convinces Sam not to murder his father, the therapist asks to finally be released from captivity, only for Sam to reveal that he has no intention of ever freeing Alan; planning instead to keep him hostage indefinitely, or until he is finally "better." In an act of desperation, Alan takes Sam's mother, Candace Fortner (Linda Edmond) hostage, holding a shiv to her neck and demanding to be released.

In a shocking and utterly gut-wrenching twist, we watch Alan's life flash before his eyes as Sam maniacally chokes him to death, ultimately killing him and ending "The Patient" on a tragic and bitter note. Although Alan's brutal death is certainly quite shocking, according to the showrunners for "The Patient," his tragic demise seemed like the most realistic ending for the series itself.

The showrunners say that killing off Alan always felt like the most realistic way to end the show

In a recent interview with Deadline, "The Patient" showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg discussed their process for writing the series' heartbreaking ending, and Weisberg, in particular, asserted that killing off Alan Strauss felt like the most authentic conclusion. When asked whether or not he knew that Alan had to die in the end, Weisberg responded: "There should be a simple answer to that, but there really isn't. I think that was our initial instinct. Then there were many iterations of the ending that we talked about ... This was the one that just felt the most true, the most authentic and meaningful to us."

On top of their assertions that killing off Alan felt like the most realistic way to end "The Patient," both Weisberg and Fields went on to praise the incredible performance given by Steve Carell — which undoubtedly helped to make Alan's shocking death that much more impactful. Fields recalled the countless shoot days where Carell had to wear heavy chains and remained locked to a bed frame the entire time, and Weisberg told a story about how one particularly rough day of shooting left Carell unable to sleep.

This tour-de-force performance from Carell helps the audience to connect with Alan's torment and fight for survival, which is yet another reason why his death is so utterly heartbreaking. Indeed, although the showrunners ultimately decided that this ending would be the most authentic way to end their story, one has to wonder if some of the other possible endings left Alan with a kinder fate.