fb-pixel Skip to main content

It’s easy to warm up to Lizzy Caplan’s complexity in ‘Fleishman’

Jesse Eisenberg as Toby Fleishman and Lizzy Caplan as Libby Epstein in "Fleishman Is in Trouble."Linda Kallerus/FX

I’ve been a fan of Lizzy Caplan for a long time, and I remember her vividly from “The Class,” “Mean Girls,” “Party Down,” and “Masters of Sex.” It’s a pleasure to see her add another memorable turn to her body of work, this time as the best friend in Hulu’s “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” an excellent adaptation of Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s novel. In a way, she is the stealth lead of the miniseries, whose fourth episode (of eight) premieres on Thursday.

The New York City-set story appears to be primarily about Dr. Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg) and his ex-wife, Rachel (Claire Danes). Just as he’s beginning to explore the dating world, she drops off their two young kids and disappears. He reconnects with his two friends from college, Caplan’s Libby and Adam Brody’s Seth, and they struggle with their love lives together. Libby is married to Josh Radnor’s Adam, but she seems distant from him and their children. Seth is a womanizer whose freedom has become less appealing in his 40s.


Perhaps her own emotional issues explain why Libby is narrating the story about Toby and Rachel? Caplan is the presiding spirit of “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” and she helps to differentiate it from the many other post-divorce dramas. She brings a warm presence to her narration, but it’s a complex warmth, mixed with regret and resignation. Libby gave up her journalism career to stay at home, and now she is left, like Toby, with the rest of her life to ponder.

By the way, Caplan’s next gig will be a high-profile one. She is going to star in a Paramount+ series reimagining the movie “Fatal Attraction,” in the role that Glenn Close made famous.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.