Patrick Melrose has all the vices of Sherlock, but with even more daddy issues.
Set in 1982, Patrick Melrose stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character. He plays a drug-addicted playboy who, at the start of the series, is informed his father has passed away. He’s forced to fly to New York to pick up his father’s remains and is in no shape to deal with the emotional or logistical fallout.
The show is based on the book series by Edward St Aubyn. The events are inspired by St Aubyn’s own life and childhood, which sound even darker than the show portrays.
It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to get that Patrick had a complicated relationship with his father, David. While we only get brief glimpses of David Melrose, played by Hugo Weaving, it’s apparent that Weaving is going to be in fine form.
Patrick is cold, condescending, and a total addict. His struggle with substances (of all sorts) makes for a somewhat painful experience to watch. For those of us who are squeamish, particularly around needles, this is going to be quite the challenge to watch.
Patrick’s inner monologue is often presented through voiceover, which even though I love Cumberbatch, I found a little taxing. The show isn’t necessarily an easy one to watch, particularly if you have experience with addiction or people with addiction in your life. Cumberbatch tries to bring a cavalier attitude to the role, which makes perfect sense for the character but is sometimes a little off putting.
I’ll certainly be tuning in for the the next episode, where based on the preview it looks like we’ll be exploring mommy issues, with Jennifer Jason Leigh as Melrose’s mother, Eleanor. The question for the season is: will this purely be Patrick Melrose’s road to self destruction, or salvation?