As far-fetched as the car and airplane scene was in the Scorpion season premiere, the show is based on real cases and people, including Walter O’Brien, who founded a company called Scorpion. While it’s based on truth, the series is definitely fiction. Walter O’Brien spoke with reporters at the CBS Summer Press Tour about his life and experiences.
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O’Brien has been running his own problem solving company for over 25 years. His experiences from that job have formed the basis for Scorpion, including the cases and characters.
He worked with the writers to craft the stories being told, “I think we’ve gotten into a good rhythm where I present the initial stories. The writers go away and figure out out, ‘How can we get all the characters to use all their superpowers on these stories?'”
“And then they have little AW’s in the script, which is Ask Walter, ‘What’s a cool way to break into a building? How do you steal a Ferrari?,’ ‘How do you get off a rooftop?,’ ‘How do you get a wireless signal?,’ ‘What happens when you go to Vegas?’ Things like that. And I give them those nuggets, and then those end up back in the show.”
One of those “nuggets” was the break-up scene in the premiere. O’Brien elaborated, “In one of the opening scenes, Elyes is breaking up with a girl while pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket that mapped out how the breakup would go, laying it out as a plan. That’s not fictitious.”
His social awkwardness comes from the high IQ and low EQ that Walter and his Scorpion employees have. O’Brien explained the outcome of having a low EQ. “All of us have an internal sounding board. If we have something awkward to tell a friend, we’ll bounce it off ourselves first to see what’s a good way of saying this. And the trouble is my internal sounding board is broken, so I will tell my friend she looks fat in those jeans, because it’s technically correct.”
While O’Brien didn’t have a “Paige” in his life as shown in the series, he has had difficulty with relationships. “Over time relationships have always been both a learning point for me and a challenge. … And because I’m left-brained, I tend to quantify happiness. And quantifying happiness as a moving average can affect your outlook on relationships, the longevity of marriage, the net present value of divorce,” O’Brien said.
For more on Walter O’Brien, fictionalizing his reality and the team, check out our video interview with O’Brien and Executive Producers Nick Santora and Nicholas Wootton.
Scorpion airs Mondays at 9pm ET on CBS.
(Image/Video: Carla Day)