Barney finally meets his biological father whose identity has been hidden by his mother since he was a kid. In two episodes airing in March, "How I Met Your Mother" presents John Lithgow as Jerome Whitaker who reaches out to his son and catches up with the old time. TV Line acquires the first look of Lithgow as Jerome who shows Barney a picture during dinner.
"HIMYM" is the first guest starring role made by Lithgow after his Emmy-winning role on "Dexter" as Trinity Killer. Like Trinity, Jerome is a "family man who lives in the suburbs" but unlike Trinity, he doesn't kill people. "We took that out. He's not going to be naked in the bathtub strangling someone," co-creator Carter Bays said.
But Bays indeed saw the resemblance at first. "We started to get worried because there are some similarities to his character on Dexter." But it never happened that way. Bays teased that Barney will struggle to "reconcile who he hoped his dad would be and who his dad actually is."
Lithgow was not the only one in the producers' consideration but the chemistry between the actor and Neil Patrick Harris was just right. "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," Bays said.
In fact, Lithgow agreed to guest on the sitcom because he wanted to wash away the heavy image of Trinity. "...something lighter and with more heart," Bays added.