“Each neighborhood has its diamonds,” says journalist Joe Nocera in the new Wondery series. The Shrink Next Door. “We can spend all our lives and we know only one door.” In 2010, Nocera and his wife, Dawn, bought a new house in the Hamptons near the largest house on the street. They had not moved in for a long time when a man named Marty, who took them to become the next door gardener, invited them to a barbecue. The invitation was given by Dr Isaac Herschkopf, a prominent New York psychiatrist who knew his friends as Ike. A few weeks later the second was sent by Marty asking them to take part in a small drinks party where Ike wanted to get a photograph of Nocera to hang on the wall beside the illustrations of Gwyneth Paltrow, OJ Simpson and Brooke Shields.
It was not until later than Nocera to learn that Ike was not a neighbor after all. Marty Markowitz was actually the owner of the house, it was the man who took them to the gardener. Markowitz met Herschkopf 30 years earlier when he sought help for depression. In the intervening years, Markowitz claimed that Herschkopf was separated from his family and friends, took control of his textiles business and was even hosting parties at his summer house. Early in her therapy sessions, Ike gave him the nickname “Easy Mark Markowitz” to show how others were able to benefit. He claimed that both Markies and Markowitz players wanted protection and it was the man who provided it.
Drawing on archival photographs, home videos, bank records and legal documents, Nocera presents an interesting story, a queue of power, a fragility and an alleged handling together. The theme of Screamin Jay Hawkins' theme of podcasting is not for anything 'I put a spell on you'. There are interviews with Markowitz, his colleagues and his family as well as two former Herschkopf patients who use false names. There are also e-mail exchanges between Nocera and Herschkopf where the latter rejects them, although he refuses to contribute to the podcast. Because of the amount of evidence against him The Shrink Next Door, you need to think about whether he now regrets that decision.
There are echoes John Dirty, the striking podcast tells a sharp story about coercion and psychological abuse, and was later redrafted for television. But where John Dirty it was very meaningful, Nocera's tone is sharper and more timely. Markowitz apparently did not have a physical risk that the situation is determined by fear and threshold, usually that it is a key element of real crime pods. Nocera's credit is that he has kept the tension with four of the incidents despite the fact that we know how the story ends. The Shrink Next Door you are not in your average understanding; the most urgent question here is: how on earth did it happen?
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