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Meet the cast of The Chair on Netflix

Sandra Oh plays a trailblazing academic in Netflix's six-part comedy drama.

Holland Taylor, Nana Mensah and Sandra Oh in The Chair on Netflix
Published: Tuesday, 17th August 2021 at 3:29 pm

Sandra Oh's winning streak continues with new series The Chair on Netflix, a comedy drama that sees her hired as the first female head of English at a prestigious university.


Unfortunately, the job comes with no shortage of baggage, including budget cuts, plummeting enrolment and a faculty that is reluctant to take her ideas seriously.

The Killing Eve talent acts opposite established names Holland Taylor, Bob Balaban and David Duchovny, while The Chair also features several rising stars.

Created by Amanda Peet, the miniseries is produced by former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss, with Oh also taking an executive producer credit.

Read on for everything there is to know about the cast and characters of The Chair on Netflix.

Sandra Oh plays Dr Ji-Yoon Kim

Sandra Oh in The Chair on Netflix
Sandra Oh in The Chair on Netflix Netflix

Who is Professor Ji-Yoon Kim? Ji-Yoon is the first woman to become Chair of Pembroke University's ailing English department, which is seeing a major decline in student sign-ups. Nevertheless, she struggles to have her ideas taken seriously by the elderly white male faculty, while a major controversy surrounding the eccentric Professor Bill Dobson throws another spanner in the works – complicated further by their romantic past.

What else has Sandra Oh been in? In recent years, Sandra Oh has become an international superstar for her role in BBC America's spy thriller Killing Eve. Previously, she played Dr Cristina Yang in the first 10 seasons of medical drama Grey's Anatomy. This year, Oh has lent her voice to animated projects Raya and the Last Dragon and Amazon Prime Video's Invincible.

Jay Duplass plays Professor Bill Dobson

Jay Duplass plays Bill Dobson in The Chair
Jay Duplass plays Bill Dobson in The Chair Netflix

Who is Professor Bill Dobson? Bill is an English professor at Pembroke University, who stepped down as chair following the death of his wife. He has become increasingly unreliable and unpredictable as he struggles to process his grief, making an offensive gesture during one of his lectures that sparks mass outrage among his students. Bill is romantically entangled with Ji-Yoon, but their relationship is complicated and undefined.

What else has Jay Duplass been in? Duplass' recent acting roles include Duncan in The Mindy Project, Josh in Transparent and Elijah in Search Party. He also appeared in Alison Brie's recent Netflix film Horse Girl.

Holland Taylor plays Professor Joan Hambling

Holland Taylor in The Chair
Holland Taylor in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is Professor Joan Hambling? Joan is one of the most senior members of the department. She has previously had a good relationship with Ji-Yoon, but this comes under strain when she becomes Chair of the department and seemingly has less time for Joan.

What else has Holland Taylor been in? Taylor has a career spanning several decades and numerous prolific projects. On the small screen, you may recognise her from The L Word, The Practice, Two and a Half Men, and Netflix's Hollywood. Meanwhile, Taylor's film credits include Romancing The Stone, George of the Jungle, The Truman Show and Legally Blonde.

Nana Mensah plays Professor Yaz McKay

Nana Mensah in The Chair (Netflix)
Nana Mensah in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is Professor Yaz McKay? Yaz is one of the newest additions to Pembroke's English faculty, but her classes have quickly stormed ahead as the most popular by a large margin. She uses modern, experimental teaching techniques that rile up her more traditional colleagues, most notably Professor Elliot Rentz.

What else has Nana Mensah been in? Mensah played Dr Camila Candelario on hospital drama New Amsterdam, following it up with Netflix roles in both 13 Reasons Why and Bonding.

Bob Balaban plays Professor Elliot Rentz

Bob Balaban in The Chair (Netflix)
Bob Balaban in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is Professor Elliot Rentz? Rentz is a senior member of Pembroke's English department. His classes are struggling with low enrolment, but he refuses to accept feedback or make the necessary changes to his tediously traditional teaching methods.

What else has Bob Balaban been in? Balaban's film work includes Oscar winners Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Gosford Park as well as Wes Anderson cult hits The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. On the small screen, he guest starred in an episode of '90s sitcom Friends as Phoebe's estranged father, while he also appeared in the first season of Netflix's The Politician.

David Morse plays Dean Paul Larson

David Morse in The Chair (Netflix)
David Morse in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is Dean Paul Larson? Paul is the Dean of Pembroke University, who Ji-Yoon reports to in her new position as Chair of the English department.

What else has David Morse been in? Morse has appeared in a number of major Hollywood films including 12 Monkeys, The Rock, The Green Mile, The Hurt Locker and World War Z. On the small screen, he is known for medical dramas St Elsewhere and House, as well as Blindspot and historical miniseries The Good Lord Bird.

Everly Carganilla plays Ju-Hee 'Ju Ju' Kim

Everly Carganilla and Sandra Oh in The Chair (Netflix)
Everly Carganilla and Sandra Oh in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is Ju Ju? Ju Ju is the adoptive daughter of Ji-Yoon, named after her late mother. Their relationship is loving but challenging at times due to Ji-Yoon's intense workload and the cultural differences that separate them.

What else has Everly Carganilla been in? Carganilla starred opposite Jennifer Garner in Netflix family film Yes Day earlier this year.

Ron Crawford plays Professor McHale

Ron Crawford in The Chair
Ron Crawford in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is Professor McHale? McHale is the oldest member of Pembroke's English department, often seen napping in the faculty lounge.

What else has Ron Crawford been in? Earlier this year, Crawford appeared in the second season of Hailee Steinfeld's Apple TV+ series, Dickinson.

Mallory Low plays Lila

Mallory Low stars in The Chair (Netflix)
Mallory Low stars in The Chair (Netflix) Getty

Who is Lila? Lila is a PhD student who works closely with Professor Bill Dobson. When he becomes embroiled in scandal, she worries about what it could mean for her future.

What else has Mallory Low been in? Low has previously appeared in television dramas How to Get Away with Murder and Jane The Virgin, while she also voices Livewire on animated series DC Super Hero Girls.

Ella Rubin plays Dafna

Ella Rubin in The Chair (Netflix)
Ella Rubin in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is Dafna? Dafna is an eager Pembroke student who becomes intent on getting the attention of Professor Bill Dobson.

What else has Ella Rubin been in? Rubin has also appeared in financial drama Billions and 2021's reboot of Gossip Girl.

David Duchovny plays Himself

David Duchovny in The Chair (Netflix)
David Duchovny in The Chair (Netflix) Netflix

Who is David Duchovny? David Duchovny plays himself in The Chair, a celebrity speaker being pursued for a special speech at the Pembroke English department – against Ji-Yoon's will.

What else has David Duchovny been in? Duchovny is probably best known for playing FBI agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files franchise, with later projects including Californication and Aquarius.


The Chair is available to stream on Netflix from Friday 20th August. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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