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Who is the father of gifted?

The American reality television series Gifted first aired in 2017 on Fox. The show follows the lives of a group of young children with exceptional intellectual abilities and their families. A central question explored in Gifted is the identity of the father of one of the gifted children, Mary Adler. In this article, we will examine the clues provided in the show regarding who Mary’s father may be.

Who are the Potential Fathers?

There are three main potential candidates for Mary’s father based on information provided in Gifted:

  • Frank Adler – Frank is Mary’s uncle who becomes her guardian after her mother’s suicide. He raised Mary as his own daughter.
  • Paul Ryherd – Paul was romantically involved with Mary’s mother Diane and left her when she became pregnant with Mary.
  • Fred Boyle – Fred was Diane’s professor and is suspected of possibly being Mary’s biological father.

Let’s look at each of these potential fathers in more detail:

Frank Adler

Frank is Mary’s uncle who becomes her de facto father after taking custody of her following her mother’s death. He raised Mary as his own daughter for years. However, Frank denies being Mary’s biological father when asked directly by Mary and other characters. Some reasons it is unlikely Frank is the father:

  • Frank and Diane were siblings, so it would have been incest for Frank to be Mary’s father.
  • Frank tells Mary directly that he is not her real father.
  • A DNA test performed on the show confirms Frank is not the father.

Based on this evidence, it seems clear Frank is not Mary’s biological father.

Paul Ryherd

Paul dated Mary’s mother Diane in college and was in a serious relationship with her. However, he left Diane suddenly when she became pregnant. This makes him a prime suspect for being Mary’s father. Some clues supporting Paul as the potential father:

  • Paul was Diane’s boyfriend at the time she got pregnant.
  • He left her abruptly when she became pregnant.
  • Paul comes back into Mary’s life later acting very oddly.

However, a DNA test on the show also eliminates Paul as a possibility. So while the circumstances were suspicious, Paul is conclusively not Mary’s father.

Fred Boyle

Fred Boyle was Diane’s professor in college. Diane babysat Fred’s son regularly. Some clues pointing to Fred as the father:

  • Diane had an affair with Fred while babysitting his son.
  • The timeline matches up with when Diane got pregnant.
  • Fred acted nervously when Mary tried to interview him about her mother.

Of the three candidates, only Fred Boyle is not ruled out by DNA tests on the show. This makes him the most likely candidate to be Mary’s biological father.


Based on the evidence provided throughout the Gifted show, the likely conclusion is that Fred Boyle, Diane’s former professor, is Mary’s biological father. While other characters like Frank and Paul are red herrings, the timeline and Fred’s behavior point towards him having had an affair with Diane that produced Mary. Since a DNA test was never performed to exclude Fred, he remains the most probable father still. Mary ultimately develops a connection with Frank as her true dad despite not being biologically related. But the show provides strong clues that point to Fred Boyle as her actual father.

Summary of Key Evidence

Potential Father Relationship to Diane Evidence For Evidence Against
Frank Adler Brother – Raised Mary as his daughter – States he is not the father
– DNA test excludes him
Paul Ryherd Boyfriend – Dated Diane when she got pregnant
– Left her when she was pregnant
– DNA test excludes him
Fred Boyle Professor – Had affair with Diane
– Timeline fits conception
– Acts oddly when questioned
– No known evidence against

In conclusion, while Frank and Paul emerge as important father figures in Mary’s life, the evidence points to Fred Boyle as her biological father based on clues provided in Gifted.