‘The Patient’s Serial Killer Is Influenced by Creator Joseph Weisberg’s Country Music Past

The Patient Episode 4 “Company” reveals a big secret about serial killer Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson) — he is a member of Kenny Chesney’s fan club No Shoes Nation. Sam’s love of Chesney’s music may seem like a moot point, but this admission makes sense when you consider who created the show. Here’s the most likely reason country music was included in Hulu‘s The Patient

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for episode 4 of The Patient, “Company.”]

Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson) in FX's 'The Patient' episode 4 'Company'
Domhnall Gleeson as Sam Fortner | Suzanne Tenner/FX

‘The Patient’s serial killer uses Kenny Chesney’s music to cope 

In FX’s Hulu series, Sam kidnaps his therapist, Alan Strauss, after stalking him for some time. Sam hopes that by keeping his doctor captive, Alan can fully heal him of his homicidal urges. 

“Company” showcases one of Sam’s sessions with Alan, where he talks about the “good parts” of his previous marriage. Sam cites how his ex-wife used to go to Chesney’s concerts with him. “How was that?” Alan inquires. 

“That’s not a question that you ever need to ask,” Sam replies. “Because they are always awesome.” 

Then, he proceeds to explain what No Shoes Nation is. “Kenny Chesney’s community of fans,” Sam says. “I’ve been to 27 concerts and that’s not even a lot. My friend Shane — he’s gone to 78.” He describes the fan club as a community that’s “peaceful.” 

“The central idea of No Shoes Nation is love,” Sam concludes. This is ironic considering Sam is a homicidal man.

‘The Patient’s showrunner used to write and perform country music

Creator Joseph Weisberg (The Americans) has a history with country music, so it’s no wonder he chose to incorporate it into the The Patient. According to the New York Times, Weisberg used to write country songs “that he implored friends to watch him perform in local bars.”

Country music makes the serial killer in ‘The Patient’ less threatening

All in all, we find Sam’s love of Chesney’s country music too humanizing. The connection with No Shoes Nation makes the serial killer much less intimidating, taking away from the otherwise menacing qualities of the character.

We can say The Patient isn’t necessarily about serial killers. Instead, the focus seems to be on Alan working through the trauma of losing his wife while being held captive by Sam. There are still six more episodes of The Patient left to find out what the point of all of this is.

Steve Carell’s character also references country music in ‘The Patient’ episode ‘Company’ 

Struggling to make progress with Sam, Alan encourages him to go to work in “Company.” Sam complies but grows increasingly frustrated throughout the day. At one point, he calls home to speak with Alan over the phone. By the end of the episode, he returns home from work, angered and ready to hurt his second prisoner, Elias (Alex Rich). Instead of doing so, Sam gets into his truck and drives off, giving Elias and Alan more time to connect. 

“I’m not doing so good here,” Elias admits. Then Alan begins to whisper-sing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” another country music nod. Eventually, the two sing the song together as they wish to break free of the literal chains Sam has them in.   

Watch new episodes of The Patient every Tuesday exclusively on Hulu. 

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