The old cliché “it’s not a place, it’s a state of mind” certainly applies to the ABC’s new eight-part drama series Wakefield. A quiet, reflective ensemble piece, the series explores the inner landscapes of the staff and patients at the titular psychological hospital.
Our focal character is Nik (Rudi Dharmalingnam), a compassionate and resourceful nurse who does his best to care for the patients under his charge, while occasionally butting heads with more protocol-straitened powers that be, mainly in the person of Nursing Unit Manager Linda (Mandy McElhinney). What terrible irony, then, when Nik’s own mental health begins to slip. At first it’s just an earworm he can’t get rid of (Come on Eileen by Dexys’ Midnight Runners), but it soon becomes apparent that some childhood trauma is haunting him, coupled with anxiety about his sister’s impending wedding.