Dark True Story Streaming Series Makes You Question Who You Trust

By Charlene Badasie | Published

the shrink next door

The 2021 dark comedy-drama The Shrink Next Door is streaming on Apple TV+. Developed by Georgia Pritchett, the eight-episode series revolves around the bizarre real-life relationship between psychiatrist Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf (played by Paul Rudd) and his patient, Martin “Marty” Markowitz (portrayed by Will Ferrell).

The Shrink Next Door Streaming On Apple TV+

the shrink next door

Markowitz seeks therapy for common issues but becomes entangled in Ike’s unorthodox methods and gradually loses control over various aspects of his life. The tragedy of The Shrink Next Door spans several decades, beginning in the early 1980s when Markowitz visits Dr. Herschkopf at the insistence of his sister Phyllis Shapiro (Kathryn Hahn).  

Herschkopf initially appeared to be the ideal match for Markowitz, who was mourning the loss of his parents and facing internal conflicts regarding his family’s fabric business. The therapy sessions provided relief. However, Herschkopf expanded his influence beyond the bounds of a typical doctor-patient relationship over time.

The True Story

the shrink next door

Over the next three decades, as seen in The Shrink Next Door, Herschkopf assumed control of Markowitz’s finances, occupied and falsely claimed ownership of Markowitz’s Hamptons residence, and orchestrated Markowitz’s alienation from his family. Their association ended in 2010 when Markowitz began reclaiming control over his life and exposing Herschkopf’s actions.

The Critics Next Door

the shrink next door

The Shrink Next Door received mixed reviews from critics. While some praised the performances of Rudd and Ferrell and appreciated the dark humor, others found the story to be unsettling and disliked its pacing and tonal shifts. The series holds a 58 percent critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Its 72 percent audience rating indicates that the series fared better with viewers.

A Podcast Before It Hit The Screen

The unusual, somber true story initially became the focus of the 2019 Wondery and Bloomberg Media podcast called The Shrink Next Door, hosted by journalist Joe Nocera, before it was adapted into an Apple TV+ drama. Nocera stumbled upon the situation when he realized that his Hamptons neighbor, Ike Herschkopf, wasn’t the owner of the home next door, as he had assumed.

Instead, Marty Markowitz, who Nocera believed was the property’s caretaker, was the rightful owner. His subsequent investigation revealed a complex tale of manipulation and betrayal, detailed across six episodes of The Shrink Next Door podcast. Like the series, it delved into how Markowitz fell into a vulnerable position, allowing Herschkopf to wield control, and how he eventually broke free.


the shrink next door

Markowitz’s liberation from Herschkopf’s grip began in 2010 while he was recovering from surgery. With support from his employees, who never liked Herschkopf, Markowitz severed ties with the psychiatrist, reclaimed his autonomy, and reunited with his sister. Despite years of effort, Herschkopf only faced legal repercussions in April 2021 when his medical license was revoked due to misconduct.

Living A Lie

In a July 2021 interview, Markowitz described his time with Herschkopf as “living a lie.” He also recounted how Herschkopf manipulated him into believing that everyone posed a threat to him, thus alienating him from potential romantic relationships and exerting control over his life. The Shrink Next Door details some of the fallout but primarily focuses on the twisted relationship.