Finding a therapist you like can be an arduous process. Opening up to someone, being vulnerable, even in a professional setting where it's warranted, is a difficult task. When you do finally find "the one," you are inclined to hold on to them for as long as possible, no matter what. That is what happened to Martin Markowitz, a man who ended up losing himself entirely to a therapist who did shocking things to him for nearly 30 years.
Where is Martin Markowitz now?
Martin Markowitz's Southampton, N.Y. house is stunning. Surrounded by trees and contemporary sculptures, it boasts a guest house, tennis court, mini-golf course, basketball court, koi ponds, and a swimming pool. One day, in late 2020, Michael Showalter, Will Ferrell, and Paul Rudd stopped by to hear more of Martin's story.
It was a serious visit from three normally not very serious guys. Martin told The Jewish Forward that they "came by themselves, no entourage, there wasn’t any joking around. It was just them asking me question after question." He went on to say, "After filming, Will Ferrell sent me an email saying, ‘I don’t know if you’ll like the series, but hopefully you’ll like the arc.'"
The series is The Shrink Next Door, based on the Wondery and Bloomberg podcast of the same name. Martin is not the shrink, but rather the patient if you can call him that. It details an almost three-decade hold Martin's therapist had on his life. Martin is now 79 and longs for a quiet life with his girlfriend, whom he met in Thailand. “I am going to retire and travel the world with my girlfriend," he told The Jewish Forward. First, Martin has to get through the show.
What do we know about 'The Shrink Next Door'?
The Michael Showalter-director series center around Marty (Will Ferrell) and the increasingly upsetting relationship he has with his therapist, Dr. Isaac Herschkopf, or Ike (Paul Rudd). It's a departure for the two comedy juggernauts, who both previously starred in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
The series is directed by The State alum Michael Showalter, who, along with Paul Rudd, developed the show. They both wanted Will almost immediately. In a NY Times interview with both Will and Paul, Will said, "I got a call from my agency going, 'Have you ever heard of this podcast? They’re thinking about making it.'" So, he listened to the podcast.
Like most people listening to this tragic tale, Will thought he would be immune to such trickery. "And then you start to hear about how, piece by piece, it happens. And before he knew it, he was up to his neck," he told the NY Times. Paul felt that Marty and Ike had a somewhat symbiotic relationship. He told the NY Times, "You can’t just say this is straight-up manipulation and there are no emotions there. I think they cared about each other."
The good news is, in April 2021, the New York State Department of Health finally stripped Ike of his license to practice medicine after a two-year-long investigation. They found 16 instances of professional misconduct, ranging from gross incompetence to exercising undue influence and moral unfitness. Regarding this decision, Marty told The Jewish Forward, “I got justice. That’s what I wanted.” It's a fitting end to a harrowing story.
The first three episodes of The Shrink Next Door premiere Nov. 12 on Apple TV Plus.