The shrink is all shook up when "State of Mind" opens for storytelling business.
Psychotherapist Dr. Ann Bellowes isn't just having a bad day. It's a suddenly preposterous, awful day when she walks through an office door to discover her husband - also a psychiatrist - having mad, passionate sex with their couple's counselor. Oh, brother.
The cheatin' hubby's hussy is a buxom blonde, of course. And much more than her Freudian slip is showing.
No wonder Ann Bellowes flips out. She's entitled.
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Of course, Dr. Bellowes flips out with witty panache, unleashing a funny verbal blast of righteous spousal indignation. And so "State of Mind," blessed with the starring presence of Lili Taylor ("Six Feet Under") as the temporarily discombobulated shrink, slips into darkly comic view for what could be an enjoyable summertime run at 9 p.m. EDT Sundays on Lifetime.
The series _ created by best-selling author and practicing psychotherapist Amy Bloom - is the latest building block in Lifetime's new Sunday night lineup. It's an improved, female-friendly lineup that raised its profile with the breakout success of "Army Wives," a glossy, engrossing military soap opera that became the network's biggest hit ever after an early June debut.
Besides "State of Mind," Lifetime introduces the romantic dramedy "Side Order of Life" at 8 p.m. Sunday, featuring the comic, faintly supernatural stories of magazine photographer Jenny McIntyre (Marisa Coughlan of "Boston Legal") who re-evaluates her life after receiving "a wake-up call from the universe."
But thanks mostly to the acting intelligence and talent of Lili Taylor, "State of Mind" is the more interesting, entertaining newcomer.
Beset with colorful dreams at night, Dr. Bellowes is also given to occasional flights of hallucinatory imagination during the day, including oddball scenarios involving her patients as she counsels them.
And now, after her husband's cruel betrayal, Dr. Bellowes faces an emotional life on tilt. What to do? Why, rely on the support of her colleagues at New Haven Psychiatric Associates, in a sprawling Victorian house that serves as the offices for a small group of therapists and their eccentric office manager Fred (Kevin Chamberlain).
Dr. James LeCroix (Derek Riddell), an unconventional, thrice-married child psychologist who's treating an adopted Russian boy with severe Attachment Disorder, is quick to offer Ann advice and understanding .
And by the end of the series opener, the folks at New Haven Psychiatric Associates will have found a new tenant to take over the office of Ann's instantly estranged husband, Phil (guest star Chris Diamantopoulos, "The Starter Wife").
That new tenant turns out to be a young attorney named Barry White (Devon Gummersall, "My So-Called Life"), an idealistic soul who's determined to pursue a life of good works to make up for the criminal misdeeds of his father. With that ` 70s soul name, he'll be subjected to assorted wisecracks.
Now that Dr. Melfi is no longer practicing gangster psychotherapy on "The Sopranos," prime time can use a cool, brainy new shrink.
But first, Dr. Bellowes, you may want to heal thyself. You really have some issues. And with sly, wise Lili Taylor on board, "State of Mind" should treat them in very entertaining fashion.