Who does Annie Murphy play in 'Russian Doll' season 2?

We've been curious about that Annie Murphy 'Russian Doll' role ever since we heard the 'Schitt's Creek' star was joining the Netflix hit

Annie Murphy attends the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Annie Murphy, Russian Doll and Schitt's Creek actress
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You know her as Alexis Rose on Schitt's Creek—now meet Annie Murphy, Russian Doll star.

The Emmy-winning Canadian actress—who most recently was seen as the lead in the AMC+ dark comedy Kevin Can F**k Himself—was announced as one of the exciting new cast additions joining star Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll season 2, which dropped on Wednesday, April 20. But who exactly does the comedy queen play in the time-bending sci-fi series? 

For those who haven't yet delved into the world(s) of Russian Doll, the Netflix show follows a chainsmoking New Yorker named Nadia Vulvokov (Lyonne) who repeatedly dies and must relive her same 36th birthday party in a neverending, Groundhog Day-esque time loop.

Things get even weirded in the second season as Nadia is thrust back into the past—and into the perspectives of her mother (played by Chloë Sevigny) and grandmother (Irén Bordán). And that's where Annie Murphy comes in. Here's what to know. 

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

Annie Murphy 'Russian Doll': who does she play?

As Nadia time-travels back into the pregnant body of her mother Lenora in 1982 New York, she comes across the younger version of Ruth Brenner, a psychologist and close friend of her mother who took Nadia under her wing when Lenora could no longer take care of her.

While Elizabeth Ashley plays the older, present-day version of Ruth in seasons one and two of Russian Doll, her 1980s version is played by none other than Annie Murphy, sporting the heavily blown-out hair and high shoulder pads of the era.

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We first run into young Ruth when Nadia's grandmother, Vera, evicts Lenora from her apartment after she stole gold Krugerrand coins from the family. Nadia as Lenora buys back the cherished Krugerrands from a pawn shop, but only after the widowed young Ruth offers up her own wedding ring as collateral. It seems like Ruth has always had a nurturing nature, no matter her age. 

Murphy's Ruth shows up in five episodes of the second season and proves to be an integral component in Nadia's search through both her family history and that mysterious temporal paradox. 

Of casting Murphy in such an important role, Natasha Lyonne told E! News (opens in new tab): "Annie has a real heart to her. It's very easy to love Annie. Obviously that has to do with who she is as a human being."

"Who wouldn't want to be with Annie Murphy?" she continued. "In the meantime, she looks like Jane Fonda or something in the '70s. She looks great, she looks straight out of a [Martin] Scorsese movie. She was just terrific."

We couldn't agree more! See Annie Murphy and Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll season 2, now streaming on Netflix. 

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 


More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York


When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.