‘The Patient’: Laura Niemi Got in Touch With Local Cantors to Prepare for Her Role

In the Hulu series The Patient, Laura Niemi plays Alan’s wife, Beth Strauss. Niemi’s role in the series is an interesting one. Beth is dead, but she is seen through flashbacks of Alan’s memories with his wife. Beth was a cantor with her church’s temple, and Neimi prepared for the role by getting in touch with cantors in her area.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for the Hulu series The Patient.]

The Patient actor Laura Niemi wears a red dress and poses in front of a wall of flowers.
Laura Niemi | Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for GBK Brand Bar

Laura Niemi’s character Beth Strauss was a cantor in ‘The Patient’

In The Patient, the story of Laura Niemi’s character Beth is told through flashbacks. Beth and Alan practiced Reform Judaism, and Beth was a cantor at their temple, devoting her life to their religion. In one flashback, she leads a worship service in song, and her young son Ezra runs forward to sit with her.

Later in life, things took a turn. An adult Ezra converted to Orthodox Judaism, which follows much stricter rules, including not allowing women to be cantors.

A rift forms between Ezra and his parents. Things only get worse when Beth insists on singing at Ezra’s wedding to an Orthodox Jewish woman, causing several guests to walk out in disgust. According to Alan, this rift was never repaired, even when Beth was dying of cancer.

In The Patient, Ezra converts to Orthodox Judaism. Beth and Alan sit at the dinner table with plates of food and glasses of wine in front of them.
Laura Niemi as Beth Strauss and Steve Carell as Alan Strauss in ‘The Patient’ | Suzanne Tenner/FX

Niemi got in touch with local cantors to prepare for the role

For Lauren Niemi, the character Beth in The Patient struck a chord with her for several reasons. “I fought for this role because this was, for me, a full circle moment,” the actor told TVInsider.

“I’m Jewish, so I knew that was an important aspect of this character, but, also, I was a musician in my twenties, I toured in different bands as a bass player. And so, during the pandemic, I picked up my guitar again and was writing songs. When this [role] came, I had to do this.”

According to the outlet, Niemi got in touch with local cantors in her area in order to prepare for the role. “I was working with this cantor who’s just an amazing musician,” Niemi recalled. At the time, most services were held virtually due to Covid.

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Eventually, a rabbi allowed her to sing at a service. “It was emotional. My whole family was watching on zoom. It was just really, a really beautiful moment,” she told TV Insider.

There may be more secrets to uncover about Alan’s past

As The Patient progresses, Alan continues to revisit his past and ponder the rift that changed his entire family. Each episode peels back a little more information about Alan’s life before he was kidnapped.

According to Laura Niemi, her character helps Alan reflect on “regrets, things that were unsaid, and the things that have happened throughout our lives,” TV Insider says.

Though the series has revealed a lot about Alan’s life so far, it seems to be implying that there may be more that Alan isn’t facing. In episode 7, he imagines a conversation with his dead therapist Charlie, who tells him, “Look into yourself, Alan. Go ahead. Don’t you want to take your veils off?”

New episodes of The Patient every Tuesday exclusively on Hulu.