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Tony Shalhoub on how he relates to his ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ character as a father

Shalhoub tells one of Abe's scenes in the final season reminds him of his relationship with his two daughters.
/ Source: TODAY

Tony Shalhoub says that personality-wise, he and his "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" character may differ — but when it comes to being a father, one scene with Abe Weissman in Season Five hits home.

In a recent interview with, the "Monk" actor shares what he's learned from playing Abe and how his character development in the final season parallels what Shalhoub has personally experienced as a father.

"Abe is much more ... he shoots from the hip," Shalhoub tells when asked what he's learned from his character. "He says what he says, he says what he feels. He's not filtered. I'm a little more cautious and thoughtful about what I say. (Abe) doesn't have time for that, and in a way, I kind of admire that."

Shalhoub calls Abe his "alter ego" and says his transformation throughout the show reminds him of the importance of "embracing change" and to "not grip too tightly onto what we think we know," as seen through Abe's shift in thinking toward his daughter, Miriam (nicknamed Midge).

In the final season of "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," Shalhoub says Abe starts to see Miriam as more than his daughter but as an equal, all while shifting his views on gender roles.

In Episode Seven, Abe starts to grapple with this when he discovers his grandson, Ethan, is part of the "happy" group at school versus excelling in science, math or astronomy. Later on in the episode, Abe overhears a piano performance in their living room late at night, and what starts as excitement quickly changes to shock as he sees his granddaughter, Esther, at the helm of the rendition.

Then, a revelation occurs — one that resonates with Shalhoub.

In Episode Eight, Abe joins his colleagues from “The Village Voice,” a newspaper where he works as a theater critic, for dinner and drinks. He seems distracted from the conversation, and when one of the men at the table points it out, he confesses he's at "a crossroads" and "everything feels upside down" in his life.

Tony Shalhoub and Rachel Brosnahan
Tony Shalhoub says that while he differs personality-wise from his "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" character, Abe Weissman, he can relate to him on fatherhood.Prime Video

One of his colleagues attempts to console him by saying he "tried to help and tried to guide" his family as best he could and that "everybody makes mistakes," but nothing can stop Abe's lightbulb moment as it burns brighter by the second.

“Everything I thought about the roles of men and women, I think is completely wrong. I have done exactly the wrong thing for both my children," Abe says.

"My daughter was dumped by her husband out of nowhere, that was her saber tooth. Instead of collapsing from the weight, she emerged stronger, a new person — so I thought," he continues. "But now, I think perhaps that’s who she was all along. I never really took her seriously."

Where did this come from, this strength, this fearlessness that I never had, that my poor son (Noah) never had. What could she have been if I had helped her and not ignored her, ignored who she really is. My daughter is a remarkable person, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that to her.”

Reflecting on that scene, Shalhoub says he relates to Abe's reaction and newfound understanding of his daughter "on a lot of levels."

"I have two daughters around that same age as Midge, and I started to see — I think all parents see this or experience this — you see things in your children that you didn't plant there, you weren't aware of talents they have, proclivities," Shalhoub tells

"It's kind of like an awakening, and then all of a sudden, the roles start to melt away, the role of father, daughter," he continues. "And then you sort of see them as equals or as contemporaries or as you know, they're just autonomous."

Shalhoub says executive producer Daniel Palladino directed Episode Eight and he recalls feeling that Palladino, too, felt "plugged into the scene."

"Very often in these scenes were encouraged to keep the pace up, to keep it moving as the dialogue is rapid fire always, and in this one, it was interesting because ... he kept coming to me and saying, 'You know, you can take your time here, you can slow this down a little bit.'"

Shalhoub recalls feeling surprised by the direction and thinking it was "a luxury" to break from the normal dialogue pace, but that it also "made sense" as Palladino explained Abe is "discovering and articulating" the moment.

The “Wings” actor says he’s “really grateful” to “have that scene," where his character "embraced the change" and is "humbled, but not shamed."