'The Mindy Project': 14 of the Most Memorable Guest Stars

5:41 AM 11/1/2017

by Katherine Schaffstall

James Franco, Laverne Cox, Seth Rogen, Laura Dern, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephen Colbert and Reese Witherspoon are just some of the well-known actors who appeared on the series.

John Fleenor/FOX

What The Mindy Project lacks in stable relationships, it makes up for with plenty of high-profile guest stars.

The series created by and starring Mindy Kaling follows the ups and downs of the titular character's love life in modern New York City. As Mindy Lahiri struggles to find her one true love while balancing life as a gynecologist and single mother, she has encountered many eclectic and memorable individuals that happen to be played by well-known actors.

As the series' sixth and final season comes to an end, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look back at some of The Mindy Project's most memorable guest stars.

  • Seth Meyers as Matt

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    The Late Night host first appeared on The Mindy Project as Matt in the second episode of season one titled “Hiring and Firing.” In the episode, Matt is introduced as a potential love interest for Mindy after they meet when Mindy tries to get her hands on a free tote bag at a local bookstore. While the two bond over frozen yogurt, Matt doesn’t turn out to be the prince Mindy has been waiting for. Meyers later makes a cameo in season four as himself when Ike Barinholtz's Morgan Tookers appears as a guest on Late Night.

  • Seth Rogen as Sam Kleinfeld


    Rogen played Sam, an old friend of Mindy’s that she met when attending a Jewish summer camp during her childhood, in the season one episode “The One That Got Away.” Mindy holds a special place in her heart for Sam because he was her first kiss. While Sam is in town on a short leave from the military, the two engage in a brief fling that ultimately comes to an end when he has to report back to duty in Afghanistan. 

  • James Franco as Paul Leotard


    The prolific actor guest-stars in the first two episodes of the show’s sophomore season. At the end of season one, Mindy abandons her job at Shulman & Associates to volunteer with her then-fiance Casey (Anders Holm). When she is forced to return home after falling ill, she learns that she was replaced at work with Franco’s Paul Leotard. The two Dr. Ls quickly become nemeses and by the end of Franco’s story arc, Mindy has her job back. 

  • Chloe Sevigny as Christina

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    Sevigny is first introduced as Danny’s (Chris Messina) ex-wife at the end of season one and continued to appear on the show until the fifth episode of season 2. Danny and Christina attempt to rekindle their relationship after a bitter divorce that was the result of Danny finding her in bed with another man. When seeking counseling from Danny’s temporary colleague Dr. Paul Leotard, who doubles as a sex therapist, Christina ends up sleeping with Franco’s character. 

  • Anna Gunn as Sheila Hamilton


    The Breaking Bad alum plays Sheila Hamilton, an accomplished OB/GYN who Mindy openly idolizes. The more Mindy gets to know Hamilton, the larger her "girl crush" on the doctor grows during the season three episode. In the episode, Hamilton attempts to steal Mindy from Shulman & Associates to have her work at an all-female practice with rich and famous clients. Mindy eventually chooses to stay at the male-dominated office where she believes she belongs. 

  • Laura Dern as Dr. Ludmilla Trapezikov

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    The Emmy-winning actress appeared in the season three episode “Best Man” as OB/GYN Dr. Ludmilla Trapezikov. When Mindy learns that she’s pregnant in the eleventh episode of the season, she visits the presumably foreign doctor, who tells Mindy that her pregnancy is high-risk because she has “much age” and is “fat.”

  • Kris Jenner as Herself


    The Kardashian matriarch made an appearance on The Mindy Project as herself in the season three episode “Fertility Bites.” In the episode, Mindy seeks the help of Jenner when she is in the process of starting her own fertility clinic. Unfortunately for Mindy, Jenner is not as willing to talk business with her as she had hoped. At least Mindy gets to tell Jenner that her “womb is a national treasure” before being escorted out of Jenner’s book signing.   

  • Stephen Colbert as Father Michael


    The Late Show host guest stars as Father Michael in the season three episode “Confessions of a Catho-holic." As the very Catholic Danny deals with his guilt over having premarital sex that results in Mindy’s pregnancy, Father Francis dies in the confession booth while trying to forgive him. At Francis’ memorial, Danny is upset to learn that his former high school bully Michael is the new priest. Mindy, on the other hand, is upset to learn that the attractive priest can never get married. As Danny tries to escape the memorial service without being noticed, Michael puts his former classmate on the spot and declares to the churchgoers, “Word on the pew is that the golden boy of St. Mary’s and his girlfriend are living together before marriage.”

  • Laverne Cox as Sheena


    The Orange is the New Black actress made her first appearance as the often-referenced but not-yet-seen cousin of Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) in the season three episode “What to Expect When You’re Expanding.” When Mindy becomes self-conscious of how to dress as she becomes more visibly pregnant, Tamra arranges for aspiring stylist Sheena (Cox) to give Mindy a makeover. Sheena went on to make a few more appearances on the series, including in the season six episode “The Midwife’s Tale” when the Shulman & Associates office is abuzz about the identity of Tamra’s baby daddy. 

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Matt Sherman

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    The 500 Days of Summer actor appeared in the season four opener as Matt Sherman, Mindy’s husband in an alternate universe that she finds herself in after learning that Danny is not at the friend’s wedding he was supposed to attend. Matt is an Emmy award-winning producer for Real Housewives and appears to be the perfect husband in a world that’s, well, perfect. But the longer Mindy lives in the alternate universe, the more she realizes that her life isn’t as great as she originally thought. For instance, her marriage is an open relationship, and Matt is a bit of a jerk. And she wakes up from the alternate-universe dream realizing that it is Danny who she belongs with.

  • B.J. Novak as Jamie

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    Jamie is first introduced in season one as a potential love interest for Mindy. While at first Jamie and Mindy seem like they have a chance at being a real couple, they both learn that he has feelings for his female best friend. However, Kaling’s former The Office co-star and real life best friend continues to make appearances throughout the series, most notably in the centennial episode in season five titled “Revenge of the Nurse.”  The somewhat successful mystery writer invites Mindy and her co-workers to a book launch party, in which Mindy meets a Today show personality who is looking for a nurse to be in a segment. Mindy volunteers her then-boyfriend Ben (Bryan Greenberg) for the job, which begins the inevitable downward spiral of their relationship. 

  • Ryan Hansen as Dr. Michael Lancaster

    The season five episode “Mindy Lahiri is a White Man” begins with Mindy not being taken seriously in a job interview because she's a female minority, although she is more than qualified for the position. Ryan Hansen stars as Dr. Michael Lancaster, a man that Mindy’s soul gets trapped in after she wishes she was a privileged white man. The majority of the episode follows Hansen’s hilarious portrayal as Mindy, and it turns out that being a handsome white man is just as easy as Mindy always thought it would be. While interviewing for the same position as Michael, it is revealed that a major reason Mindy wasn’t considered for the position was because of her gender and ethnicity. By the end of the episode, Mindy realizes that life as a white man is easier, but being unique is what keeps her life interesting. 

  • Julie Bowen as Daisy


    The Modern Family actress guest-stars in a season six episode as Daisy, a mother at the school Mindy’s son Leo attends. When Mindy learns that Leo has taken a liking to Daisy, she does everything she can to prove that she is as good of a mother as Daisy is to Daisy's unseen child. As Mindy attempts and fails to find the perfect balance between being a mother and doctor, she comes to accept that while she isn’t the most involved mother when it comes to her son’s education, she does the best she can. In fact, she takes pride in her effort to sing the entirety of Taylor Swift's Red album to Leo before his bedtime each night. Of course this revelation occurs after she gets into a physical altercation with Daisy.

  • Reese Witherspoon as Herself


    Given Mindy’s love of romantic comedies, it’s not surprising that Kaling’s friend and Wrinkle in Time co-star Reese Witherspoon would eventually make an appearance on the show. What is surprising, though, is that the Oscar-winning actress’ appearance puts Mindy’s unrealistic expectations that her life will play out like a movie to rest. When Mindy gets stuck in a cave after being abandoned by her tour group on vacation in the season six episode "Girl Gone Wild," she finds inner strength thanks to some advice from an imaginary Witherspoon. The actress tells Mindy that “movies aren’t real” and encourages her to actually read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, as opposed to walking around with a copy of the book because Witherspoon is on the cover.