How I Met Your Mother Exclusive First Look: How Barney Met His Father

An uncanny resemblance isn’t the only thing Barney Stinson’s long-lost father (played by John Lithgow) shares with Dexter‘s legendary Trinity Killer. “We started to get worried because there are some similarities to his character on Dexter,” reveals How I Met Your Mother cocreator Carter Bays, pointing out that much like Trinity, the elusive Jerome Whitaker “is a family man who lives in the suburbs.”

There’s one minor difference between the two, however: Jerome doesn’t, you know, murder people. “We took that out,” Bays deadpans. “He’s not going to be naked in the bathtub strangling someone.”

Bays calls Lithgow’s two-episode Mother stint — which kicks off March 21 (get an exclusive first look below) — the perfect post-Dexter “palate cleanser.” (This is the actor’s first TV role since leaving the Showtime smash two years ago.)

“John clearly wanted to do something that was just silly and fun — not that it’s all silly and fun because there’s a lot of drama to it — but something lighter and with more heart,” Bays adds. “We were honored that he chose us.”

Although hesitant to spoil too much about the long-awaited father-son reunion, Bays teases that Barney will struggle to “reconcile who he hoped his dad would be and who his dad actually is.”

The chemistry between Lithgow and Harris was predictably off the charts, says Bays. “They’re magnificent together. They’re both such great craftsman. We went down a long list of people we could possibly cast as Barney’s dad and as soon as we landed on John Lithgow something about it felt right.”

Comments (44)

  • You tease!

    Comment by Entertainment2u-Twitter – February 17, 2011 02:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Palate. Palate cleanser.

    Comment by AJ – February 17, 2011 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Too. Weird. While it’s great casting, it is SO hard for me to look at him and NOT think of him as Trinity.

    Comment by slizabeth – February 17, 2011 02:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i agree

      Comment by ray – February 17, 2011 06:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • To me, he was Dick Solomon way before he was the Trinity Killer.

      Comment by Mo – February 17, 2011 06:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yes! He can do or be anything. Really looking forward to this one.

        Comment by sashay – February 18, 2011 02:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    I loved him in 3rd Rock, and I saw him on Broadway – he’s fantastic

    Comment by Sharon Clos – February 17, 2011 02:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • oh man… you tricked me, i get here thinking i was going to met the MOTHER!

    bad, bad michael :(

    Comment by hyoga – February 17, 2011 03:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Glad he’s back in comedy it’s been a long time.

    Comment by dee123 – February 17, 2011 03:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I still see the goofy guy from Third Rock

    Comment by Diane – February 17, 2011 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    This bedtime story has gone on TOO LONG those kids should be like 17 by now! :P AND EVERY EPISODE I HOPE TO MEET THE MOMMY :(

    Comment by Katrina – February 17, 2011 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ITS ZOEY

      Comment by Daniel Ellern – February 18, 2011 05:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • she isn’t the roomate though

        Comment by Jace Hansen – February 18, 2011 08:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • he says in season 6 episode 1 that he first meets the mom at a wedding. that is not where he me zoe. you are wrong

        Comment by just not true – February 20, 2011 01:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeaah! I think here we are two seasons behind, but you really say, that in the next 30000 episodes, we’ll never see how Barney’s best friend find his wife ???? so then i stop to watch it ;)

      Comment by swissroy – February 19, 2011 09:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You wont meet her for 2years or more I assure you.. HIMYM has confirmed seasons in 2012-2013 so.. dont hope to see the mom anytime soon :D

      Comment by suolly – March 7, 2011 12:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Revealing the identity of the mother would only mean the show is ending.

    Comment by Summer – February 17, 2011 05:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I like this show, but agree it’s been going on a while… We know Ted doesn’t end up with Zooey (they didn’t meet at a Wedding) but I think him being Best Man at Punchy’s is a misdirect. I hope it’s Barney and Robin’s, but could be Ted’s dad? Either way, Marshall was wearing a boutonniere too, so he’s in the wedding as well. Definitely not Punchy.

    Comment by Caiti – February 17, 2011 05:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, it totally has to be Robin’s wedding – Ted’s the best man and Lily was the one who asked for him, meaning that Robin asked Lily to get Ted so he could calm her down. Also, when Marshall and Ted were talking outside, he was saying how difficult it would be to do it – to see Robin get married since he was so sure for the longest time that they would get married. Robin could possible marry Barney because we didn’t see him in that clip at all – and that might be why the wedding would be so difficult, not just because Robin its getting married, but because she’s marrying one of his best friends, Barney. Personally, I do hope that Barney and Robin get married (and that the middle of the ceremony is when Marshall chooses to endow the final slap). The writers somewhat hinted that Barney still cares about Robin a few times in the beginning of this season, like at the end of the episode where they were all racing throughout NYC and Robin was attempting to prove that shes a real New Yorker – Barney let Robin win and Ted pointed it out.

      Comment by Taylor – February 17, 2011 09:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • In which episode is the wedding you are referring to?

        Comment by Kati – February 17, 2011 11:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Taylor’s referring to the first episode of the current season, called “Big Days”. You don’t see a wedding yet though, just Ted and Marshall sitting outside on a bench drinking beer.

          Comment by KimAlsp – February 18, 2011 12:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This article was a spoiler for two shows at once for me! :(

    Comment by Allen – February 17, 2011 05:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love John Lithgow, and it’s awesome that he’ll be playing the Barnacles’ dad. But, boy, his performance on Dexter as Trinity is forever burned into my mind. It’s still creepy when I remember that character even though the guy is playing a totally different role.

    Comment by Aiden – February 17, 2011 05:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love this show… revealing the mother will mean the show’s ending. I believe the show still has a few more seasons before they can reveal who the mother is, but do believe that it’s soon to come.

    Comment by Elizabeth – February 17, 2011 05:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree!!!! Don’t end the show just yet!!! But let’s add in more comedy…its not as funny as the first 3 seasons! I still love every second of it but its getting too heavy sometimes…with Marshall’s dad passing and all…Its better a little light hearted and fun!

    Comment by Vicky – February 17, 2011 05:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just wanna know who the mother is….!?!?!?!?!?!

    Comment by Alanah – February 17, 2011 06:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I dont wanna know themotheryet, i enjoy each and every moment of this show and i just dont want it to end :)

    Comment by Shaili – February 17, 2011 06:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Im just glad they have gone the father route with swarley rather than the relationship route. The whole barney/robin thing was a total snore.

    Comment by jphilly – February 17, 2011 06:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Please don’t end the show just yet!! I dont wanna know the mother. I enjoy each and every moment of this show. Take as long as ew want to reveal the mother, that way the show will be never-ending :)

    Comment by prem – February 17, 2011 10:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t think you have to worry about the show ending when Ted finally meets the mother. There are so many story lines that could revolve around them meeting, getting to know each other, dating, Ted messing up, things going wrong, breaking up, getting back together, and finally getting married. That alone could take another 2 seasons at least. :D

      Comment by Harmony – February 18, 2011 04:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I disagree. I think meeting the mother will be the end of the show, since the whole story is of how he MET their mother. Not about how he dated, etc. and married her.

        Comment by AB – March 2, 2011 09:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • yeah – barney’s and the suspense of a mommy is too long. I’ve been watchin this long time hoping to get to know who the hell is a mom – darn

    Comment by betty – February 18, 2011 01:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is going to be awesome. I’m glad they’re finally doing this. The show has played around with the idea of Barney’s dad so long it’s going to be really fun to finally see the reunion.

    Comment by Harmony – February 18, 2011 04:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Daniel Ellern – February 18, 2011 05:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think the heavier plots for the show are good, tough, but as this show grows, so does the audience. it also helps to keep the characters well rounded, which if the characters were still stuck in the first season phase, we all would have changed the channel by now. This show has such a following because we are all able to relate to one character or another, and although this comedy allows us to tune out of our own drama each week, we are kept grounded by the realism in their own struggles.

    Comment by Cortney – February 18, 2011 06:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • carter bays and craig thomas have said they are planning on three more seasons after this one. no need to get your panties in a bunch.

    Comment by jeff – February 18, 2011 09:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • @Caiti – We don’t “know” that Zoey’s not the mother… In the episode with the wedding, if I recall correctly, they just said the mother was at the wedding, they didn’t say that’s where they met. Just like the mother was in one of his classes, but he was in the wrong class, and that’s not when they met.

    I will say that the show is really good about leaving everything so generic so that every time he starts dating someone, you wonder if she’s the mother…

    Comment by Karen – February 18, 2011 09:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks for the pic, this meeting is going to be legenawesomedary.

    Comment by Scott – February 18, 2011 10:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I pretty sure the mother will be Barney’s sister who Barney does not know yet!!!

    Comment by Acante – February 18, 2011 11:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You just blew my mind! Best theory I’ve heard for a very long time.

      Comment by Jade – February 26, 2011 04:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • IT IS NOT ZOEY!!!!
    think about it, if it were zoey, the kids would have been like “oh wow. good story dad,” a long time ago. PLUS I recall more than once were ted is telling them “kids, you remember zoey right?.”

    Comment by DRUMYBOY – February 18, 2011 11:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • PLUS, in the episode from a couple weeks ago, when future Ted bumps into Wendy in the airport, she asks him about Zoey and he says something about her being long gone. So, right there, we get confirmation that Zoey is not the mother!

      Comment by Scarlet – March 2, 2011 10:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Barney is so cool

    Comment by yimhoiwa – February 21, 2011 06:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • of course he is, but i have another really great theory….. ok.. what if they defitnely put barney & robin back together for 1 night only and she gets pregnant with twins but they[barney&robin] stay as ultimate lovers up until they get married a couple of weeks before ted&mysterywoman’s wedding

    Comment by katclemenza – March 5, 2011 02:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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