Marlin Reid is a major supporting character in the Apple TV+ drama, The Crowded Room, serving as the main villain who keeps his dark and inhumane deeds from getting out in public.
Danny Sullivan is arrested after shooting many rounds at the Rockefeller Center, wherein a couple of people nearly get shot. Upon questioning, his demeanor and erratic behavior prompts the officers to consult an expert.
Rya steps in and determines the cause of Danny’s erratic and ever-changing personality to be Dissociative Identity Disorder, a condition brought on by severe childhood trauma.
Over the course of her sessions with him, a clear antagonist at the root of the cause is revealed — Danny’s stepfather Marlin Reid.
Marlin Reid enters Danny’s life when he was a child, living alone with his mother Candy. One of her two jobs is that of a waitress at a bar.
It is this very bar where Reid first stumbles upon Candy, and asks for beer. The two hit it off immediately and there’s a clear spark.
He goes on to have dinner with Danny too and Candy also shares with Marlin that she and her son need a savior. Marlin arrives as sort of a savior for her.
He works in a juvenile correctional facility where it’s also implied that he grooms kids. Meanwhile, his relationship with Candy goes swimmingly well and she feels happy, which Danny notices too.
At first, it’s actually Danny’s teacher at school who turns out to be a creep, and he comes very close to sexually abusing the child before Marlin arrives and prevents this abominable situation from happening.
Marlin then takes Danny for a drive and asks him, cryptically, to keep a secret between them and not share it with Candy.
He then takes Danny to an abandoned barn and abuses him, while Danny recounts this experience as one of his alter identities, Adam — who he believes was his twin brother — having taken his place each time Marlin engaged in sexual abuse.
Danny could never share it with Candy as he saw how happy she has been since Marlin entered their lives and also because of various psychological inhibitions that trauma like this inflicts upon people, especially kids.
Marlin remains with Candy and Danny, as the latter grows up to be a socially inept, reserved, and awkward kid. To cope with life and society, as well as survive in it safely, his fractured mind creates several alternate identities.
By the time Danny has grown up to be a teenager, Marlin’s sway and charms have faded for Candy, who notices and hates that he’s such a bully to her kid, but she can’t do much since Marlin works to provide for them too and she’s also a bit of a victim of him.
When Danny gets arrested and his psyche is dissected by Rya and the trial begins, Marlin faces accusations regarding the reprehensible acts he subjected Danny to. However, the man remains rather audacious throughout this spiel.
He not only reaches out to the District Attorney and sways her opinion against Danny, but also pressures an increasingly dubious Candy to not utter a word against him while testifying, lest she risks losing it all.
Also Read: Is The Crowded Room based on a true story?