Meet Shrinking’s Cast & Their Characters

Starring Harrison Ford. Brought to you by the makers of Ted Lasso and HIMYM star Jason Segel.

What’s the secret to a successful comedy-drama series? If you ask fans of Ted Lasso, they’ll tell you it’s a winning combination of heartwarming humor, lovable characters, and unexpected depth. And if you’re looking for more of that magic, you’re in luck, because Shrinking delivers all of that and more.

This new Apple TV+ series is created by lead cast Jason Segel, and Bill Lawrence & Brett Goldstein, the same team behind Ted Lasso. With its blend of witty dialogue, relatable characters, and poignant themes, Shrinking is sure to capture the hearts of audiences just like Ted Lasso did.

Shrinking follows the life of Jimmy Laird, a grieving therapist, and father who’s dealing with the loss of his wife. The show explores the irony that, despite it being his profession to help others deal with their thoughts and emotions, Jimmy is struggling to manage his own grief and reconnect with his daughter.

Over time, his own emotional turmoil starts to affect his ability to help his patients effectively, leading to a breakdown in his role as a therapist. As a result, he impulsively decides to abandon his conventional counseling approach and adopts an unorthodox and unethical approach – one where he’s unafraid to be blatantly (or brutally) honest.

To bring this uniquely poised story to life, the cast of Shrinking has done an exceptional job. So let’s meet them and their characters.

Shrinking Cast and Their Characters:

Jason Segel as Jimmy Laird

Jason Segel embodies himself as Jimmy Laird, a therapist struggling to come to terms with his wife’s death but failing to confront his grief.  Add to that a broken relationship with his teenage daughter he so badly wants to fix. Jimmy is unable to provide the proper support and guidance his patients need. So he goes about it the improper way.

Jason Segel is widely recognized for his portrayal of Marshall Eriksen, Ted’s best friend on the beloved sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Along with his memorable role on the show, Segel has also made a name for himself as a talented writer and actor, most notably for his work in the popular comedy film Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

In addition to his success in film and television, Segel has also starred in a number of other well-received movies including The Muppets, The Five-Year Engagement and This Is 40. Beyond his on-screen accomplishments, Segel has also demonstrated his skill as an author, having written a collection of books including Nightmares!, Other Stories, and Otherworlds: The Complete Series.

Harrison Ford as Dr. Paul Rhodes

Harrison Ford plays Dr. Paul Rhodes, a grumpy aging loner therapist and Jimmy’s boss/mentor, struggling with Parkinson’s disease. Oftentimes, Paul and Jimmy share father-son-like moments; more times granddad-like with Jimmy’s daughter, Alice. But most of his time is spent hoping to reconcile with his own daughter.

Getting Harrison Ford to star in the show was much easier than expected. The reason? He “liked” everything about the script.

“I liked the writing. I liked the character. I liked the intention. I liked the combination of pathos and comedy. I didn’t see anything unattractive about the whole thing.”

Harrison Ford tells Variety.

With over 50 years as an actor, Harrison Ford needs no introduction. Ford is the star of two famous long-running franchises to date, Star Wars as Hans Solo, and Indiana Jones as, well, Indiana Jones. The 80-year-old actor has appeared in numerous films and is one of the most recognizable and respected actors in the industry.

Luke Tennie as Sean

Luke Tennie’s portrayal of Sean on Shrinking is one of the most multi-faceted characters on the show. Sean is a 22-year-old military veteran grappling with severe PTSD and a strained relationship with his family. While Jimmy initially violates his professional ethics by crossing boundaries with another patient, Grace (played by Heidi Garden), it is with Sean that he develops a particularly unique and unconventional relationship as both therapist and friend.

Famous for his role as Willie Lewis in the action-drama series Deadly Class, Tennie had his big break in the movie, Shock and Awe. He also starred in series such as Players, CSI: Vegas, and Safety. However, his role as Sean has highlighted his massive range as an actor.

Christa Miller as Liz

Christa Miller is Liz, Jimmy’s next-door neighbor, and Alice’s sort of godmother but not really (as Gabby, played by Jessica Williams, is.) While Jimmy’s coping with his own grief and failing to pay attention to his daughter, Liz picks up the slack of the parent role for Alice after his wife’s demise. She has children of her own too; they’re just not around anymore these days.

Miller shares the set with her husband, none other than, Bill Lawrence. But she is a successful actress on her own, especially in comedy. Her famous roles include Jordan Sullivan on Scrubs and Kate O’Brien on The Drew Carey Show. She has also appeared in CSI: Miami, Seinfeld, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Jessica Renee Williams as Gabby

Jessica Renee Williams plays Gabby, Jimmy’s colleague/therapist, and friend. Gabby is Jimmy’s long-term friend from college. She’s also his late wife’s best friend and Alice’s godmother. Like all characters in Shrinking, she has her own personal struggles to deal with.

Gabby’s character development, Williams says that it was “a cool and collaborative process.”

“They’d write Gaby in response to me. Their great writing meant there were different ways for me to play Gaby and do the line readings.

I was on a set where between Bill Lawrence, Brett Goldstein, and Jason Segel, I was able to improvise a lot. Jason’s really good at improv. We all had a clear sense of who Gaby was by then. I had to take the first few steps blind, and I figured her out around episodes four and five.”

Jessica Williams tells AVC.

As an American actress and comedian, Jessica Renee Williams has appeared as a senior correspondent on The Daily Show, as cohost of the podcast 2 Dope Queens, and as Lally Hicks in the Fantastic Beasts film series. Her other films and shows include  The Incredible Jessica James, Love Life, and Booksmart Entergalactic.

Lukita Maxwell as Alice

Lukita Maxwell does extremely well as Alice, Jimmy’s 17-year-old daughter who lost her mother and somewhat her father during the most traumatic moment of her life. Jimmy’s own fight with guilt leaves him distant from Alice, and their relationship suffers for it. Thankfully, Liz is there for her to support her at home as well as with her high school stuff.

Maxwell’s rise is recent with her roles as Delilah in HBO Max’s Generation and the movie, An Autumn Summer. The 21-year-old also works on design projects for the Gen Z print magazine and arts collective, Sunstroke

Michael Urie as Brian

Michael Urie stars as Brian, Jimmy’s gay best friend, and an attorney. With his annoying optimistic slogan, ‘everything goes my way,’ which is Bill Lawrence’s real-life mantra, Brian’s journey is about taking his relationship to the next level with his boyfriend, Charlie. Like Alice, Brian wants his old Jimmy back.

If you’re into soap drama podcasts, you might have listened to Urie as Bobby Kerns in As the Curtain Rises, a Broadway Audio Network original podcast. He has also starred in Single All the Way, and Younger. He’s also famous for his role as Marc St. James on ABC‘s Ugly Betty.

Heidi Gardner as Grace

Heidi Gardner plays Grace, who’s the patient with whom Jimmy loses her cool and begins his unconventional therapist journey. With blunt honesty, Jimmy advises her to move out and go live with her sister in Colorado to leave her emotionally abusive husband.

Heidi Gardner is famously a Saturday Night Live cast member from Season 43 in 2017.

Lilan Bowden as Tia

Lilan Bowden stars as Tia, the late wife of Jimmy. Her appearances come in the form of flashbacks.

Best known for her roles as Rebecca “Bex” Mack in Mack in Andi Mack, Lilan Bowden is an American actress, filmmaker, and comedian. She is also popular as Amber Kang in the Netflix series, Murderville.

Ted McGinley as Derek

Welp! Almost forgot Liz’s husband, played by Ted McGinley. Derek mostly referred to as Liz’s husband more than his name, is just an almost retired guy with a calm, clueless, and happy outlook throughout his appearances on the show.

With appearances in films like Revenge of the Nerds, Wayne’s World 2, and Do You Believe, McGinley is prominent for his role as Jefferson D’Arcy on the famous sitcom, Married… with Children.