Alan Eppes is the husband of the late Margaret Eppes and father of the two main characters, Don and Charlie Eppes. He is played by Judd Hirsch, who actually has a College Degree in Physics. The actor is known for his work on Taxi (1978), Independence Day (1996),  and Damages (2012).

A retired city planner, Alan cares deeply for his two sons; although he finds it difficult to operate on Charlie's level, he nevertheless understands that his son has an incredible gift and encourages him. Initially, Charlie still lives in his childhood home with his Dad Alan, with Don visiting several times a week after work to drink a beer and watch the game as a family. Their time together grounds the show and presents a strong sense of community, family and love.

Morals & Values[]

He has a strong sense of civic and moral responsibiliy, often volunteering throughout the show with certain communities and causes.

Obviously these values and morals were passsed onto his two sons: Don working to apprehend those who do not, and Charlie even purposefully committing a "crime," and turning himself into the authorities, to which he knew was not wrong to shed light on a coworkers false imprisonment because of his race in [Episode].

Wariness Over His Sons' Work[]

Alan was initially very concerned when Charlie began consulting with the FBI, primarily because of Charlie's difficulty in relating to other people and his tendency to obsess over problems that were, by and large, outside of his control. He was also worried about the nature of the job, with now two sons in the line of fire.

But after discovering how Charlie and Don had become close through their work, Alan began to assist them in their work, offering advice based on his experience as a city planner. It made him proud to see his competitive sons working together.

The House[]

One of the major locations in the show is the historic two-story house furnished with period craftsman furniture, that Don & Charlie grew up in with their father. It's beautiful exterior gardens and koi pond and downstairs interior is the setting for many serious conversations and also laughter and fun. In the beginning of the show, Alan owns the home with his son, Charlie living rent-free, but when Alan begins to look at the home as his retirement fund and wants to downsize for a condo, Charlie ends up buying the house and insists Alan continues to live there rent-free. Throughout this, Don pops in for a beer and often sleeps over, claiming his apartment is too quiet or their place was closer to the office.

This becomes a large plot point, with Alan thinking about moving out for a while but he eventually decides to stay if he can arrange a private staircase (which he will pay for) and  Charlie will pick up the maintenance and chores of the home like a regular homeowner.

Eventually they reach an arrangement, with Alan realizing Charlie's genius tunnel-vision may not always coincide with the to-do list but he is aware of the maintenance.

A humourous back and forth happens when Charlie decides to "upgrade" the house with help from other professors at CalSci and Alan first balks and then goes overboard with plans for the land- he even decides on full-scale grain silo but in the end they both come to their senses.

At the end of season six, Alan begins to search for apartments after Charlie and Amita's wedding. Charlie and Amita decide to convert the garage into a guesthouse so that he could live near them. He begins to design his new living space.


Alan leaves retirement investing in a consulting firm with Stan Fisher, which is related to "all his years in urban infrastructure."

He gets sued by neighboring residents of a tennis court because of its disruptive lighting he designed, but with the help of his girlfriend Millie and son Charlie, they discover that he is blameless.

His recent involvement in his sons' lives has been extended to aiding the FBI more frequently with his expertise in urban planning ("Under Pressure") and traffic engineering ("Money for Nothing"). Don at first was adverse to his father getting involved with his line of work, but Alan asked him to show more respect. He provides further help to Don with his knowledge of an elevator system in "Chinese Box".

Alan audits a mechanical engineering class at CalSci for fun, but Charlie is disappointed that he could not interest him in advanced mathematics after all these years ("Velocity").

Being very busy, Charlie fails in helping to teach his father's engineering material homework, as all he does is solve the thermodynamic problem set from this class for him. Alan seems disappointed. Since then, Charlie has made notes to help him more later, and feels that this will make up for all the times missed with his father getting to help him with homework. On the other hand, Alan recalls all the dioramas he created with him, which he simply made with Charlie supervising.

An old park that he and Margaret designed becomes scheduled to be torn down. Alan first begins to protest city hall's decision. After looking at the plans, Alan decides that the new park would be better. He later finds that CalSci has agreed to let him design a new mechanical engineering building.

Has a moment of self-doubt, when asked to join a think-tank with Larry and Amita. Believing he had taught Charlie everything he knows when Charlie was seven, he realizes he still has things to offer, and eventually agrees to join the think tank and enthusiastically participates.

As a result of his failed 401K investment, Alan decides to return to work again, and asks Charlie to teach him some new computer skills. He is hired by a design firm even without CAD capability, only to end up designing CAD (computer-aided design) software when the software he was using proved to be far too difficult for him.


Alan's late wife is rarely mentioned in the show, but he does express fears that his sons may be having trouble maintaining relationships with women for extended periods of time because there was no female-mother-figure in their lives.

He met Margaret when she was working for a tenants' rights organization and he was working for a housing developer. They had been married for thirty-five years and their marriage was a happy one, though they hid marital tension from their children. Alan held onto his wife's clothes, which he hid in the garage, despite Don helping him pack it six months before. When Charlie showed concern, he told him it was none of his business. Don confronted him as well, but both were criticized for giving advice as unmarried men and Mr. Eppes finally decided to get rid of the clothing on his own. After Charlie found a musical composition for the piano by his mother under her maiden name, Margaret Mann, in the Eppes garage, Alan revealed to his sons their mother's talent with classical music and her training in Vienna. He was astonished when his son noticed that some of her other compositions were dated after the birth of their children as he thought she had put her music work aside for her law career to help the family. Alan has seen his wife (JoBeth Williams) in a dream at the same time as Charlie.

His first date, years after his wife's death is with a caterer from a wedding the family attends.

Awkwardness insues when he starts dating Charlie's Boss that the University, Dr. Mildred "Millie" Finch, Chair of the CalSci Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy Division.


Like Don, he enjoys baseball. He has attempted to persuade Charlie to take up golf like him, delighted that he can at least teach his brilliant son something.

He sometimes works on puzzles to occupy his time when not busy, continuing his wife's hobby and allowing time for conversing with Charlie's colleagues, Larry Fleinhardt and Amita Ramanujan, over pizza. He also enjoys an occasional game of chess with Larry.

Ultimate Dad[]

Alan forms a bond with his sons' girlfriends. First, Robin comes to the house to talk about her failing the victim after a jury fails to convict a murder suspect ("Guilt Trip"). Then, Amita tells him that she enjoys her times with Alan. They even briefly discuss whether Charlie would propose to her.

When Don is stabbed, Alan goes and stays at the hospital. He sends Charlie back to work on the current case, telling him that Don would want that. He comforts Robin and tells her about Don's birth.  Alan is present in Don's room when Don wakes up.

Alan becomes the ultimate Dad for everyone in Charlie's group of professors and friends at CalSci, often playing chess with Larry as well as listening to his sons girlfriends and even letting Don's coworkers at the FBI use him a father figure and sounding board.


Alan eventually tells Charlie that he has lost money in his 401ks when his investment did not increase as promised by his investor.

Charlie analyzes Alan's finances and realizes that Alan cannot use the remaining money to finance his retirement. He offers to help Alan financially, but Alan rebuffs.

Don eventually talks Alan into allowing Charlie's assistance as well as returning to work yet again.