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Domhnall Gleeson Was Relieved By The Patient's Grim Ending

Warning: Major spoilers for "The Patient" Season 1 Episode 10.

Television viewers were stunned by Domhnall Gleeson's portrayal of the psychotic serial killer Sam in Hulu's "The Patient" with Steve Carell. While known for his villainous performance as General Hux in the later "Star Wars" installments, this stark depiction is a far cry from the roles we're accustomed to seeing Gleeson in. He's also featured in far gentler roles like Mr. Thomas McGregor in the cutesy "Peter Rabbit" films and the comforting older sibling Bill Weasley in "Harry Potter." These previous roles tier up his captivating and chilling turn in "The Patient" while he holds Carell's Dr. Alan Strauss as his therapeutic prisoner.

The tense series continually surprises its audience as Sam executes victim after victim and explicitly relays his mental process to Dr. Strauss. It even subverts expectations as the psychotherapist plans his escape through clever but risky measures. His process involves thinking through his idea in a daydream sequence resulting in jaw-dropping scenarios.

However, none of these come close to the tragic ending that actually takes place. After repeatedly sharpening his empty aluminum bottle of foot cream, he threatens to kill Sam's mother (Linda Emond) by cutting her throat. This enrages Sam, who tackles Dr. Strauss and strangles him to death, horrifying his mother in the process. Surprisingly, Gleeson was alleviated by this unexpected ending, citing the letter the loving father left behind for his children should he meet his untimely demise.

Gleeson relishes in Sam's finale character development

After the murder, Sam sends the letter to Strauss' devastated children with instructions leading to his body. This awareness and empathy creates a multi-layered depiction that Domhnall Gleeson was thankful for. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he notes at length: "I was relieved, strangely. Well, the first thing that happened when I read the script was I was really moved. The letter that Dr. Strauss writes to his children—the way that was done, I found it incredibly moving." The Irish actor was also quick to praise Steve Carell's performance in the finale.

Gleeson elaborated further on why he was grateful for the show's ending, citing that he wanted to ensure Sam was portrayed as authentically as possible while not shoving his horrific actions under the rug. "It really mattered to me that he was held to account at the same time, that he didn't just become a good person through therapy and we forget his past ills. I was happy that that element of his nature, which is almost impossible to understand, was not sorted out after 10 therapy sessions, because that's not the way it works."

Gleeson acknowledged that Sam changed dramatically from the first episode and that the therapy sessions aided him in making some positive adjustments. However, the actor believes Sam is most likely not capable of the selflessness that he so craved, nor will he ever be.