Shrink Next Door: What Is Real?

The Shrink Next Door finds a tragic real-life relationship in mines about wealth and the depth of greed. Here’s how much of the story of the series is true.

Warning: spoiler for The shrink next door.

The limited series of Apple + TV The shrink next door tells the true story of the relationship between wealthy New York fabric maker Martin “Marty” Markowitz (Will Ferrell), and his therapist, Dr. Issac “Ike” Herschkopf (Paul Rudd), but how real is that? The show explores the therapeutic exchange between Marty and Ike over the course of over 30 years as it becomes more convoluted. Much of the drama between them takes place when Ike discovers Marty’s incredible wealth and offers his professional help as he ultimately aspires to exploit Marty’s wealth for himself.


The show creates a contentious triangle by diving deep into the relationships Marty has with Ike and contrasting them with Marty’s relationship with his sister, Phyllis Shapiro (Kathryn Hahn). As the antagonist of The shrink next doorIke’s stellar cast manages to tear the brothers apart slowly, using unorthodox therapeutic methods to take advantage of the wealth that Marty has inherited and created. This causes a big rift between him and his sister as Phyllis sees Ike’s intentions well but is unable to persuade Marty as she recognizes her own personal growth and strength only through her engagement with the manipulative doctor.

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The shrink next door is well rooted in the reality of the story and in the relationships between the real counterparts of the main characters, taken from the eponymous podcast by investigative journalist Joe Nocera. Beyond the search for the creator of the series, Succession writer Georgia Pritchett, the podcast and series are given credibility by the direct link from Mr. Nocera, whose vacation home was directly adjacent to Marty’s, putting him at the forefront of this decades-long ordeal. While freedoms were taken in terms of accelerating the story, with the series starting in 1981 and spanning over two years in the first two episodes alone culminating in Marty’s second bar mitzvah at age 40 in 1983, the central moments of the show are fully founded in reality. For example, just like in the series, at the behest of Paul Rudd’s charismatic Ike, the real Marty didn’t invite his sister to the bar mitzvah, which accelerated his brother’s estrangement and led to controversies over their family’s huge fortune. . This culminated in Marty, who was in charge of the estate, disinheriting his sister while siding with Hershkoph.

Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell in The Shrink Next Door

Along with Mr. Nocera’s personal experiences with Marty and Ike, the limited series also includes several aspects of the couple’s interactions that come to light after Marty was hospitalized in 2010 and Ike failed to control him, leading Marty to put questioning their relationship. After this event, Marty sought help from the New York State Department and the Legal Council using evidence such as Ike’s listing as a co-owner on a bank account worth over $ 2.5 million and a private foundation in which the funds they went straight to the doctor and his family. The writers used these real-life sources as vital storytelling moments for the interactions between the usual funny man Will Farrell and Rudd throughout the series.

Overall, the limited series stems from real life events filled with genuinely fun and complex relationships. As with any film or show based on a true story, there are elements that are accelerated or reduced; however, it is made for entertainment and time purposes while maintaining the greatest possible authenticity. The creator and writers of The shrink next door seriously made the overall true story and entertaining series that does justice to the real life story.

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The shrink next door releases new episodes on Apple + on Friday.

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