Marshall Eriksen

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Marshall Eriksen
How I Met Your Mother character
Jason Segel 2011.jpg
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "Last Forever"
Created by Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Portrayed by Jason Segel
Nickname(s) Marshmallow, Big Fudge, Vanilla Thunder, Beercules, The Kid, Sports Guy, The Human Turnstyle, Judge Fudge, Fudge Supreme, M.J. Smooth
Gender Male
Occupation Lawyer/Judge
Family Marvin Eriksen, Sr. (father, deceased)
Judy Eriksen née Gunderson (mother)
Marvin Eriksen Jr. (brother)
Marcus Eriksen (brother)
Martin Eriksen (nephew)
Spouse(s) Lily Aldrin (2007-present)
Children Marvin Wait-For-It Eriksen
Daisy Eriksen
Baby Girl Eriksen (name unknown)
Relatives Olaf (grandfather, deceased)
Mickey Aldrin (father-in-law)
Janice Aldrin (mother-in-law)
Lois (grandmother-in-law)
Rita Aldrin (grandmother-in-law)
Morris Aldrin (grandfather-in-law)
Amy (cousin-in-law)
Unnamed Grandmother

Marshall Eriksen is a fictional character in the American sitcom How I Met Your Mother, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and portrayed by Jason Segel. He has been Ted Mosby's best friend since 1996, when the two met at Wesleyan University as undergraduates. He is married to the love of his life and fellow Wesleyan alum, Lily Aldrin. Brought up in the tightly-knit community of St. Cloud, Minnesota, Marshall's inherent kindness makes him the most compassionate member of the gang. He quit his job in GNB in "The Exploding Meatball Sub" to pursue his dream of saving the world through environmental law. As of "Challenge Accepted", Lily announces that she is pregnant with his child, and she gives birth in "The Magician's Code: Part One" to a boy named Marvin W. Eriksen.

Character profile[edit]

Marshall is a tall, easy-going, naive optimist from St. Cloud, Minnesota. At the start of the series, Marshall lives with his best friend Ted Mosby and his girlfriend, Lily Aldrin; he proposes to her in the pilot episode.

Born in 1978 and of Scandinavian descent, Marshall meets Ted and Lily during their freshman year at Wesleyan University; he and Lily fall in love at first sight, and he and Ted become best friends. He attends and later graduates Columbia Law School. Marshall became a lawyer because he was interested in environmental protection laws. He interns at AltruCell (the firm where Barney works) and even gets a job offer from the Natural Resources Defense Council - his dream job. Ultimately, he accepts a job at a corporate law firm (Nicholson, Hewitt & West) where his only client is an amusement park riddled with various safety violations. He later joins the legal team at Goliath National Bank, where Barney Stinson also works. Later, in season 6, he quits his job at Goliath National Bank to work at an environmental law firm. In season 8, after winning a large court case, but receiving a small amount of money in damages, Marshall is convinced by Brad, his former classmate, friend, and prior rival in a case, to become a judge. Marshall is seen in front of the judiciary committee in the episode, "Twelve Horny Women".

He and Lily have a strong relationship, but it has been tested at various times throughout the series. In "Come On", Lily, who had cold feet about their approaching wedding, announces that she has been accepted to an art fellowship in San Francisco and leaves to find out who she is outside of a relationship. Marshall is devastated and spends the next few months in a deep depression. When Lily returns to New York and asks him to take her back, he refuses. They eventually reconcile and resume their engagement in "Swarley", and get married, albeit with some complications, in "Something Borrowed".

One of four brothers, Marshall comes from a tight-knit family, and is especially close to his father, Marvin. Marshall is devastated when his father dies of a heart attack, but finds some comfort in a voicemail message in which Marvin tells him he loves him. He is also close to his mother, Judy, and appears oblivious to the fact that she doesn't like Lily.

Marshall is fascinated with the paranormal, specifically Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster, both of which he believes are real. He is also fascinated in the existence of aliens. He can play the piano fairly well, as seen in the episode "Slapsgiving". It is revealed in "Last Cigarette Ever" that in the future, he and Lily have a son. In early 2011, after being told Marshall and Lily are capable of having a baby, Lily tells Marshall that his father had a fatal heart attack; his father's death causes him to change perspective on his life, which leads to him quitting his job at GNB and pursuing a career in environmental law, as well as attempting to start a family with Lily.

In the season six finale, Marshall has a job interview with a local law firm, but runs out on it because Lily supposedly has food poisoning and he believes he too will get sick. The next morning, Lily reveals to him that she is pregnant. In the "The Naked Truth", Marshall receives a job offer from Garrison Cootes, head of the NRDC. He accepts, and for a brief time he lives his dream of being an environmental lawyer.

With the baby's impending birth, Marshall conditions himself for various parenthood situations by using a watermelon as a practice baby. Lily asks Barney to trick Marshall into taking a vacation in Atlantic City so he can unwind. At a casino, Barney proposes wearing the Ducky Tie again if they can turn off their phones for one hour and drink 100 tequila shots. One hour later, Barney turns his phone back on to find Lily's voice-mails to inform that she had gone into labor. Marshall eventually gets to the hospital in time for his son's birth and decides to name him Marvin Wait-for-it Eriksen, in memory of his father and the middle name as a promise to Barney.

After the birth of his son, Marshall becomes submersed in his new life as a father, so he and Lily impose an "eight or higher" rule. They later repeal it in "Who Wants to Be a Godparent?" after realizing that it has distanced them from their friends. Marshall remains attached to Marvin however, as he and Lily spend the night with their son instead of going on a planned getaway in "The Final Page." When Lily is offered a job as an art consultant in Rome, Marshall quits his job and plans on being a stay-at-home father in Italy. In the episode "Something New," however, Marshall receives a call offering him a judgeship, which he accepts. However, he does not tell Lily that he has been offered the judgeship, believing it to be "face to face" kind of news. He travels to Barney and Robin's wedding at the Farhampton Inn to tell Lily, and the two get into a huge fight, during which Lily storms out. While Marshall looks for her in "The Daisy", he discovers that she is pregnant with their second child. Overjoyed, Marshall agrees to travel to Italy with Lily, turning down the judgeship. A flashforward reveals that Lily gives birth to a daughter, Daisy.

The series finale, "Last Forever", reveals that, in the years after the wedding, Marshall finally becomes a judge, first on a district court and then, finally, on the State Supreme Court. He and Lily have three children (Marvin, Daisy, and a baby girl whose name is unknown), and remain friends with Ted, Robin and Barney.


  • The spelling of Marshall's last name is inconsistent. On his Facebook page it can be seen as Erickson, but when he visits his family home in Minnesota it is shown as Eriksen.
  • Marshall has a prodigious talent for any kind of strategy game. In "Atlantic City," while watching Barney play a bizarrely obscure table game, Marshall grasps the rules of the game so quickly that he is able to coach Barney to win the game and all of the money on the table, despite the fact that the game is conducted entirely in Mandarin Chinese. In "Game Night," the gang excludes Marshall from competing in their board game sessions, since he invariably wins every game in which he is a player. Marshall is also seen to be the reigning skeeball champion at a local college bar in "Jenkins."
  • Marshall's favorite flowers are calla lilies.
  • In the film SLC Punk!, Jason Segel plays the character "Mike" who leaves to "save the rain forests", because "someone's gotta fight for them". In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall is an environmental lawyer who shares the same sentiments as Mike.