Marshall Eriksen

Marshall Eriksen is a fictional character on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, portrayed by Jason Segel. Series co-creator Craig Thomas explained that he based Marshall and Lily on himself and his wife Rebecca.[1][2]

Marshall Eriksen
How I Met Your Mother character
Jason Segel in 2011
First appearance"Pilot"
Last appearance"Last Forever"
Created byCarter Bays
Craig Thomas
Portrayed byJason Segel
Koby Rouviere (8-years-old)
OccupationLawyer (2005–2018)
Judge (2018–)
FamilyMarvin Eriksen (father, deceased)
Judy Eriksen (mother)
SpouseLily Aldrin (2007–present)
ChildrenMarvin Waitforit Eriksen
Daisy Eriksen
Unnamed Third Child

Character overview

The series revolves around the adventures of the five main characters: Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and his best friends Marshall, his wife Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders). Marshall met Ted and Lily during their freshman year at Wesleyan University in 1996 (although the reference could be to Ohio Wesleyan University as Ted is originally from Ohio and several episodes in seasons three and four show Marshall’s undergraduate diploma hung on the wall behind his desk), and they moved into an apartment in New York City together after graduation. In the show's pilot episode, he proposes to Lily, inspiring Ted to start looking for the love of his life.

Marshall was born and raised in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the youngest of three brothers. His last name, the fact that he is from Minnesota and his references to lutefisk suggests that he might be of Norwegian descent. He is extremely close to his family, particularly his father, Marvin (Bill Fagerbakke). When Marvin dies[3] Marshall is devastated, and takes a long time to recover; not to mention that during the episode Last Words[4] he struggles with remembering what Marvin's last words were to him. He is also close to his mother, Judy (Suzie Plakson), and is oblivious to the fact that she and Lily despise each other.

Very few references have been made to identify Marshall's birthday. We can assume he was in the same school year as best friend and roommate Ted Mosby and then-girlfriend Lily Aldrin and In "The Yips" Marshall says he is 29. This episode aired in November 2007. This confirms Marshall's birth year to be either 1977 or 1978. Ted turned 30 on April 25, 2008 in "The Goat". The dialogue in this episode implies that Lily, Marshall and Robin have not yet reached this milestone. In "Glitter", Lily says Marshall is 384 months old, thus 32 years, 1 week, 1 day and 21 hours old. Since the episode plays somewhere between November 9 (the date the previous episode played in) and November 24, 2010 (the date the next episode plays in) we can only conclude he was born between November 2 and November 14, 1978.

As a teenager, he got into brutal fighting matches with his brothers.[5] He is a huge fan of the Minnesota Vikings. Marshall received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Columbia University Law School.

In the first two seasons, Marshall is studying at law school with dreams of working as an environmental lawyer for Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). Once he passes the bar, however, money concerns force him to take a job in the legal department of Goliath National Bank, a corrupt multinational corporation.[6] He quits his job in the seventh season and finally achieves his dream of working for the NRDC.[7] In the last episode of the eighth season, he applies to become a judge, deciding that this is where he will be able to make the most impact. Later on, he is offered a recently vacated seat, and accepts without telling Lily; staying in New York conflicts with her dream job in Italy.[8] He gives the position up in the ninth season, however, so he can go to Rome with Lily and their children.[9] The series finale, "Last Forever", reveals that he worked for another corporate firm after returning to New York, until another judge's seat opened up for him. In the year 2020, he is elected to the New York State Supreme Court.[10]

Marshall is fascinated by the paranormal, and has absolute faith that mythical creatures such as Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster are real. He has even discovered a paranormal event himself: a bizarre creature he names "the cockamouse".[11]


Lily Aldrin

Marshall and Lily meet on their first day of college and fall in love at first sight. They move in together and eventually get engaged. In the final episode of the first season, Lily breaks off their engagement to accept a painting fellowship in San Francisco.[12] Marshall falls into a deep depression, but nevertheless refuses to take Lily back when she returns to New York.[13] They eventually reconcile, however,[14] and get married in the end of the second season.[15] They initially have trouble conceiving a child, but Lily finally gets pregnant at the end of the sixth season,[16] and gives birth to a boy, Marvin, at the end of the seventh.[17]

Marshall and Lily are soul mates; they do virtually everything together, tell each other about every minute detail of their lives, and have only had sex with each other. They can even understand each other perfectly when they are seemingly incoherent, such as when Lily is trying to speak through bouts of morning sickness[16] or when Marshall is speaking in pseudo-Italian gibberish.[18]

Throughout the final season, which takes place over one weekend, Marshall travels with Marvin to the Farhampton Inn, where Robin and Barney are getting married. He struggles with telling Lily about his new job, as it conflicts with her dream of working as an art consultant in Rome. When he finds out she is pregnant with their second child, however, he gives up the judgeship and agrees to go to Rome with her and their new family.[9]

By the end of the series, Marshall and Lily have three children: Marvin, Daisy, and a third child whose name is never revealed.

Ted Mosby

Marshall and Ted are college roommates and best friends. They first bonded during an ill-fated college road trip.[19] Marshall and Lily consider Ted a part of their family, their "third Musketeer". Ted helps Marshall recover when he and Lily briefly break up.[20] Along with the other main characters, Marshall is by Ted's side during every major event in his life, including a serious car accident,[21] being left at the altar,[22] and, finally, Ted's marriage to the titular Mother.[10] Ted is best man at Marshall's wedding, and Marshall does the honors when Ted gets married in the series finale.

Barney Stinson

Marshall and Barney know each other through Ted, Barney having taken it upon himself to "teach them how to live".[23] Along with the other characters, Marshall is both amused and horrified by Barney's promiscuity, deceptiveness and penchant for over-the-top schemes. Barney has shown himself to be a good friend, however; he gets Marshall an internship,[24] persuades Lily to return to New York from San Francisco,[25] and gets him his job at Goliath National Bank.[6] Barney serves as "co-best man" (along with Ted) at Marshall and Lily's wedding. Along with Ted, Lily, and the Mother, Marshall is present for the birth of Barney's daughter in the series finale.[10]

In the episode "Slap Bet", Barney loses a bet with Marshall and agrees to let Marshall slap him five times at random occasions "throughout eternity", which is later extended to eight. Marshall administers these slaps in the episodes "Slap Bet", "Stuff", "Slapsgiving", "Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap", "Disaster Averted", "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra", and "The End of the Aisle".

Robin Scherbatsky

During the first season, Marshall and Robin are friends, but he nevertheless advises Ted to forget about his unrequited love for her. When the two finally get together, however, he accepts her as a permanent part of the group, and continues to do so after they break up. When Robin quits her job, he and Lily take her in to live with them,[26] and do so again in the seventh season after Robin breaks up with her boyfriend, Kevin (Kal Penn).[27] Marshall asks her to move out when it becomes clear that Ted has unrequited feelings for her.[28] However, he has an ongoing bet with Lily that Robin and Ted will end up together, which he eventually wins in 2030.

When Robin leaves the group in 2016, as portrayed in the series finale, Marshall resents her for it, but nevertheless welcomes her back four years later to celebrate Ted's wedding.[10]

There is a running joke throughout the series in which Marshall believes that Robin is attracted to him, despite all evidence to the contrary.


  1. Brian Ford Sullivan (2010-08-01). "Live at the Paley Center for Media: How I Met Your Mother".
  2. Maureen Ryan (April 27, 2006). "A cool new show: 'How I Met Your Buffy'". Chicago Tribune. 'We cast Alyson because we're such enormous fans of Buffy' says Craig Thomas
  3. "Bad News". How I Met Your Mother. Season 6. Episode 13. January 3, 2011. CBS.
  4. "Last Words". How I Met Your Mother. Season 6. Episode 14. January 17, 2011. CBS.
  5. "The Fight". How I Met Your Mother. Season 4. Episode 10. December 8, 2008. CBS.
  6. "Best Burger in New York". How I Met Your Mother. Season 4. Episode 2. September 29, 2008. CBS.
  7. "The Naked Truth". How I Met Your Mother. Season 7. Episode 2. September 19, 2011. CBS.
  8. "Something New". How I Met Your Mother. Season 6. Episode 13. May 13, 2013. CBS.
  9. "Daisy". How I Met Your Mother. Season 9. Episode 20. March 10, 2014. CBS.
  10. "Last Forever: Part 2". How I Met Your Mother. Season 9. Episode 24. March 31, 2014. CBS.
  11. "Matchmaker". How I Met Your Mother. Season 1. Episode 7. November 7, 2005. CBS.
  12. "Come On". How I Met Your Mother. Season 1. Episode 22. January 3, 2011. CBS.
  13. "The Scorpion and the Toad". How I Met Your Mother. Season 2. Episode 2. September 25, 2006. CBS.
  14. "Swarley". How I Met Your Mother. Season 2. Episode 7. November 6, 2006. CBS.
  15. "Something Borrowed". How I Met Your Mother. Season 2. Episode 21. May 7, 2007. CBS.
  16. "Challenge Accepted". How I Met Your Mother. Season 6. Episode 24. May 16, 2011. CBS.
  17. "The Magician's Code: Part 1". How I Met Your Mother. Season 7. Episode 23. May 14, 2012. CBS.
  18. "Romeward Bound". How I Met Your Mother. Season 8. Episode 21. April 15, 2013. CBS.
  19. "Arrivederci, Fiero". How I Met Your Mother. Season 2. Episode 17. February 26, 2007. CBS.
  20. "Where Were We?". How I Met Your Mother. Season 2. Episode 1. September 18, 2006. CBS.
  21. "Miracles". How I Met Your Mother. Season 3. Episode 20. May 19, 2008. CBS.
  22. "Shelter Island". How I Met Your Mother. Season 4. Episode 5. October 20, 2008. CBS.
  23. "How I Met Everyone Else". How I Met Your Mother. Season 3. Episode 5. October 22, 2007. CBS.
  24. "Life Among the Gorillas". How I Met Your Mother. Season 1. Episode 17. March 20, 2006. CBS.
  25. "Bachelor Party". How I Met Your Mother. Season 2. Episode 19. April 9, 2007. CBS.
  26. "I Heart NJ". How I Met Your Mother. Season 4. Episode 3. October 6, 2008. NBC.
  27. "The Drunk Train". How I Met Your Mother. Season 7. Episode 16. February 13, 2012. CBS.
  28. "Karma". How I Met Your Mother. Season 7. Episode 18. February 27, 2012. CBS.
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