The True Name of the Janitor From ‘Scrubs’

janitor scrubs name

Scrubs is one of my favorite shows of all time. During college, I watched every season on repeat until I saw every episode at least 100 times. And that was before the days of Netflix.

Even though my Scrubs bingeing is extremely economical now thanks to the advent of streaming, I still revisit those old DVDs on occasion and jump back into the lives of John “J.D.” Dorian and his lifetime friends at Sacred Heart Hospital. I even watch Season 9 when I’m in the right mood.

So you’d think that after all this time, I’d have some sort of mind-blowing fan theory or revelation naturally generated from my obsession, but it’s quite the opposite. The show manages to be pretty airtight on its themes and messages, mostly because we spend most of our time inside J.D.’s head. There’s little left to the imagination.

scrubs janitor name

But there do happen to be longstanding questions that Scrubs has never truly resolved, except they have, actually. There’s the matter of the Janitor, who you may recognize as Mike from ABC’s “The Middle.” He’s an enigma throughout the series, to the point where the writers initially intended for him to be a figment of J.D.’s imagination (they changed their mind by Season 2).

Yeah, he gets married and finds meaning in his life or something. But we never really find out his name. Throughout the series, he’s only referred to as “The Janitor,” and the mystery behind his name becomes a running gag all the way through the Season 8 finale. He finally reveals his name to J.D. as “Glen Matthews” in the finale.

Case closed, right?


scrubs name janitor

Right after he reveals his name, Janitor is referred to as “Tommy” by an orderly. This implies that he was lying to J.D., which isn’t a stretch at all because that’s what the Janitor does. He consistently fabricates stories and facts about his life that are blatantly false and reveal his pathological lying.

So what is the Janitor’s name? Does he have one?

The answer is yes, and it’s depressingly simple, really. In “My Friend the Doctor” (S3E8),  J.D. finds out that the Janitor played a character in the real-life movie, The Fugitive (you know, the Harrison Ford movie from the 90s).

This information alone lets us know that the Janitor’s real name must correspond with the actor who played his character in The Fugitive. So his name is Neil Flynn, the actual name of the actor who portrays him.

scrubs name janitor

Case closed, right?


Look, I’m certainly not the first person to pick up on all this. Scrubs fans have been assuming the Janitor is Neil Flynn for over a decade. That’s why Bill Lawrence, the creator of Scrubs, took to Facebook and Twitter to decry those theories and say the following:

scrubs janitor name

What does this mean? How is his name Glen, if his name is Neil in The Fugitive?

One argument is that he lied about his name to the casting director in the movie, so his real name ISN’T Neil Flynn after all. It really is Glen.

Case closed, right?

You serious?

scrubs name janitor

Bill Lawrence want us to believe that the Janitor told J.D. the truth (for once). This is because the episode “My Finale” was meant to be the series finale, so it would make sense for the Janitor to close this chapter with one final moment of honesty.

There’s just one problem. The Janitor reveals one episode later that he never really thought J.D. was leaving. Scrubs was revamped into a semi-spinoff for Season 9 that focused mainly on a med school built for Sacred Heart, and J.D. only showed up for a few episodes.

In the first episode, Turk reveals to J.D. that the Janitor didn’t really think J.D. had left. Of course, Turk has to insist that J.D. is really gone, which causes the Janitor to hand him his mop and leave Sacred Heart…forever. No one there saw or heard from the Janitor again.

If the Janitor thought J.D. was really coming back, then why would he tell the doctor his name? Because of Season 9, I have to conclude that Lawrence lied to us, Janitor-style.

So is his name Neil Flynn? Let’s revisit 2009 for a second. Season 9 of Scrubs got started in December. And another show got started that fall. The pilot episode of The Middle premiered on ABC, starring…Neil Flynn.

What if the whole point of that first scene in Season 9 was to point us to the potential fact that The Middle stars the Janitor, who happens to be Neil Flynn. And that’s why he disappeared from the show altogether, instead of following J.D. to his new job. He revisited his acting career to portray a guy who has everything the Janitor wanted throughout the series: a family in the Midwest.

scrubs janitor name

In the episode, “My Own Worst Enemy,” the Janitor reveals that his obsession with J.D. has prevented him from doing what he really wants to do: start a family. The day after J.D. leaves, the Janitor does too and finally pursues that dream. A year later, he’s on ABC starring as the loving father of a humble family. After all, the Janitor loves to lie. Becoming an actor is the perfect job for someone who likes to make up stories.

Don’t bother trying to tell me that’s not the case, Bill Lawrence.

And hey, if you don’t believe me and think this article is a waste of time, then don’t worry. Here’s a chart showing every girl name Dr. Cox called J.D. categorized by season:

scrubs janitor name


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20 thoughts on “The True Name of the Janitor From ‘Scrubs’

    • Isn’t that women “lady” from Scrubs the janitors girlfriend.

  1. This is genius. Well done, Groni.

  2. I don’t know, I feel like the intention was for him to be Glen Matthews. But yeah I can totally latch on to the idea that Bill Lawrence is playing us. It’s Bill Lawrence.

  3. Scrubs is the best show. I’m surprised you don’t have any other theories about it. I love the theory that JD can turn imaginary things real with his mind, like his fantasies and the Janitor himself.

  4. No. Everyone knows that “Season 9” was simply a collective nightmare us fans had together.

  5. I loved the character of the Janitor, every character was well written on this show

  6. Plz make a video about Lava, For the Birds, Tin Toy, Night and Day, etc. etc.
    I have some idea in my mind about how they fit in or if they are important at all, but I would really love to hear what you have to say.

  7. “Neil Flynn” is simply Janitor’s screen name. Actors and authors adopt fake names to conceal their true identity all the time. Furthermore, he once pretended to be multiple people using different accents. He uses fake names when he’s acting. Neil Flynn is just another made up character that Janitor uses when he works in Hollywood. Turns out Janitor was being honest. His name is Glen Matthews!

  8. The Janitor told Carla his real name when she was pregnant with the first child and trying to pick a name. You had to be paying attention. I swore I’d never forget it, but I have. I need to find that episode

  9. Thank you, Sir. For finally putting this argument to an agreeable theory.

    Even if I’m two years late…

    Woot! Continuing to change the minds of the world! 🙂

  10. You are missing Lassie as a girls name Dr. Cox calls J.D.

  11. You forgot Lassie of your girls name list

  12. Missed Bethany in season 5 episode 12

  13. So what if episode “my finale” was not only about JD, what if it was for Janitor too, as I remember in season 5 don’t remember episode(between 7 and 20), the main hero was the janitor(at the end he said like one day we’ll be friends), and point is the end came to the janitor, probably that’s why he had told him

  14. in season 5 episode 11, Dr Cox and the Janitor become friends and at one point Cox wants to ask him something in front of his “Janitor” friends when he cracks a joke a background character says “nice one Tom” clearly.

  15. His name was “Josh.” Remember in Season 7 when he is publishing the “trice daily” “Janitorial” newsletter and he prints a made up story about Dr. Cox, because Dr. Cox called him “dumb” he said, I have been called a lot of names over my life, and in the list he says, “Josh, and I don’t do anything about it because they are all true!!”

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