There’s something about the new French-language series Way Over Me (Sortez-Moi De Moi). Far more ER than Grey’s Anatomy, it offers a zoomed-in look at what happens when a patient is brought in from an emergency in the field.
The action, however, doesn’t live in the emergency room, but in the hands of a group of dedicated mental health workers, the many dramas surrounding them, their patients, and what happens when those two worlds collide.
The series centres around a few particular (yes, very attractive, as the genre demands) doctors, including Justine Mathieu (Pascale Bussières), who coordinates the patients brought to her by emergency care front-line responders Clara St-Amand (an always endearing Sophie Lorain), Myriam Melançon (Sandra Dumaresq), and Gabriel Beauregard (Bruno Marcil).
Way Over Me premiered earlier this year on Crave with all six episodes of the series’ first season at once, Sortez-Moi De Moi has the unique privilege of being the first series on the network to be available in both French and English (dubbing, in this case, and if you can handle it).
It’s also part of a brand new breed of television exploring mental health through an intimate lens, along with In Treatment and Couples’ Therapy, both available on the same network. But while those two series offer focused examinations of their casts character-by-character and session-by-session, Sortez-Moi De Moi revisits a specific few over time and briefly touches on others, painting the chaotic life of a doctor in a way that feels authentic and helps the viewer understand just why those health-care workers who take care of might experience an impact on their own health day-in and day-out.
And which sometimes that adds up, as we see in the very first episode, when Myriam experiences a breakdown of her own during a difficult moment with patients after being called in for support by police. To put it simply – and spoiler-free – she doesn’t make it out of this moment in one piece, and it’s soon revealed that, although she had needed help, she did not get the treatment she may have needed – from Justine. The why takes its time to unravel.
Clara carries on with her new partner Gabriel, each episode touching on everything from addiction to depression to anxiety to agonizing grief. Both struggle not to bring their work home with them, to not let it eat at them and, eventually, their families, but this, we soon learn, is damn near impossible when you work in mental health.
While this might all seem too heavy to be presented fairly and sensitively, Sortez-Moi De Moi makes good work of avoiding any sensationalism. And that’s because, although the series has been billed as a psychological thriller and while it does jump from story to story and can feel frantic as if we’ve been planted right inside a patient’s head, its pacing is even, its characters well explored, and all are granted a humanity they might not be in a bigger melodrama.
The closest it comes to crossing that line is with David Ducharme (Vincent Leclerc, moving as ever), who the police find one day gesticulating on the roof of a car in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Living with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, his salvation seems to come in the form of Justine, who is captivated by her latest patient and his well-weaved tales of grandiosity and way with words.
When he arrives in her office, bright yellow hospital gown and all, it seems as if a light has entered her world. But then he puts her in the hot seat. He tells her she is just as lost as he is, accuses her of wearing a mask, and says he can be the one to help her.
Seduced by this examination (one might say too easily), she then confesses a secret that’s been swelling in the pit of her stomach, one that doesn’t paint her as the flawless figure a therapist can often seem to come off as, omniscient interlocutor that they are.
She then admits that, yes, it’s true, “we don’t know which of us is sick… we don’t know who can heal whom.”
They’re damning words, foreshadowing the secret and problematic affair the pair find themselves embroiled in soon after, but there’s a truth to them. A truth that defines the series and has likely had most viewers ask more than a few existential questions, one in particular: Do I need help? The answer, Sortez-Moi De Moi tells us, is absolutely, we all do, and there is no shame in asking for it.
Just, you know, maybe don’t sleep with your doctor.
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