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At a New York psychiatric facility, a young intern, Martin Obler, is assigned his first patient, Moira, a beautiful, sensitive policewoman. Three weeks before, during a bank robbery, Moira froze. The robber escaped as she stood staring down at his revolver lying on the pavement. When she finally was able to bend down to retrieve the gun, excruciating pain shot through her back. The pain continued unabated. An examination disclosed no physical cause. Doctors and her superiors called her condition psychosomatic. If Moira wanted to keep her job, she would have to enter therapy. It soon became apparent to Obler that Moira's immediate distress is only part of much darker forces that plague her. In therapy sessions, several personalities violently emerge revealing the demons of her past. Obler, who fights demons of his own, feels compassion for her plight. But he is reprimanded for his sympathetic approach by his supervisor, the famed, charismatic Dr. Mardoff. Mardoff insists Moira be handled by harsh methods. Denying that Moira has multiple personalities, he belittles her illness, brands her a "hysteric, " and characterizes her as a malingering, sexually manipulative woman. Intern, patient, and doctor form a complex triangle of innocence, madness, and evil. As the power-driven psychiatrist begins to manipulate Moira's treatment to his own deadly ends, Obler is faced with making traumatic decisions. They will not only affect his immediate career, but also the rest of his life - and the fragile existence of his patient, Moira.
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