Perry Mattfeld Talks to Lorri Bernson, the Woman Who Inspired ‘In the Dark’

‘In the Dark’s’ Perry Mattfeld talks with Lorri Bernson about how they together make up the show’s main character Murphy Mason, along with how Lorri inspired the show. 

Perry Mattfeld and Lorri Bernson came together for an Instagram live Monday night where they discussed everything In the Dark related, including how Lorri is not only the inspiration behind the main character Murphy Mason, but the entire show!

While it took a little bit for the live to get started as Instagram isn’t visually empared friendly yet. Perry had to explain to Lorri how to join an Instagram live and position her phone so she was centered, and on screen.

Throughout the hour-long conversation fans got to learn so much more about Lorri and how the show In the Dark came to be.

Lorri is 58 and has been blind since she was 33. She lost her vision due to type 1 diabetes. She didn’t think she would be blind, it actually came on suddenly. She first lost her vision in her right eye and then lost all but 2% of the vision in her left eye just 4 months later.

Lorri’s life theme is to live in the moment, something we can all see through Murphy. She is constantly doing what she wants and being very independent just like Lorri.

The idea for the show came to be after Lorri did a speaking engagement at the CW. Working for Guide Dogs of America in Los Angeles and loving public speaking, she got this opportunity. The head of the CW told her, “I think that there is something here.”

Not even a week after Lorri’s second speaking engagement back in 2017, she found out that a show would be created with fictional elements of her life in it.

They got into the character Murphy, which is loosely based on her. Lorri recalled her conversation with her neighbor when the show first came out that she thought it was an autobiography on Lorri’s life and that she was so proud of her for all that she has overcome, but she was way off. The show is loosely based on Lorri and her life but all of the crime, drug dealing, drinking and sleeping around that Murphy goes through in the show is all made up.

Murphy is a person who is blind, not a blind person. Lorri describes Murphy is so fiercely independent and happy. She worked with the writers to bring Murphy to be more realistic like when Max says, “Murphy the spoon is on the left.” Lorri sprinkles in things that a sighted person wouldn’t think about.

Probably the most shocking moment of the entire conversation between Perry and Lorri was when Lorri said she would choose Josh over Max. While it was a hard question for her to answer she chose Josh, shocking everyone. She went on to say that she would be afraid Max would hurt her, which is surprising as Max has never hurt Murphy but always tried to protect her.

Perry went to Lorri’s house to study her and pick up on things she does that she didn’t know a person who is blind would do. Lorri talks about how she sometimes puts a fork without food on it in her mouth and doesn’t know until she doesn’t taste or feel any food. The two laughed about it as Lorri went on to share that she nevers knows if whoever she is eating with notices and she should say something like “yum that was so delicious,” obviously joking, or just act like it didn’t happen.

When someone who can’t see doesn’t look for things it’s because of their lack of sight. For example, how she brushes her teeth. When they went to lunch together Perry got to see what it’s like for her to be in a space she doesn’t know and learn from her. Lorri has habits like looking down at her food as she had sight for 33 years. She even looks for a sound even though she can’t see.

When talking about authenticity Lorri says that Murphy is authentic for who she is and that authenticity is different for everyone. They discuss how Murphy handles her guide dog Pretzel is exactly how she would do it, as she didn’t want a guide dog (her parents made her).

Many moments from the show have come from Lorri, one of the biggest moments that really has an impact on who Murphy is as a person, is when Lorri got accosted by a homeless man when she was with her guide dog Coster. It took Lorri a while to get over it, and the dog got scared. Something similar happened to Murphy as they flashed back through her friendship with Tyson.

Murphy had to crawl under the bathroom stall after getting locked in to be able to get out. This happened to Lorri at a restaurant. She recalled that the bathroom floor became the most disgusting part of the whole thing.

What Lorri wants to say to people, she does through Murphy. In the first episode someone comes up to Murphy in a bar as says, “well you don’t look blind” and Murphy responds by saying, “well you don’t look stupid.” That’s what Lorri wishes she could say to people. Lorri’s strength and stubbornness also comes out in Murphy. Murphy is too stubborn for her own good.

Lorri discussed what it was like to walk with a cane, as no one talks to her, but dogs are a “social bridge” where people admire you with a dog. Dog lovers complement her “oh what a beautiful dog.”

For more updates on CW’s In The Dark, stay tuned to AfterBuzz TV.

About the Author

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Elizabeth Perkin

Elizabeth Perkin is a senior multimedia broadcast journalist at Emerson College. She is working on completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in business studies. She is one of AfterBuzz TV’s fall 2020 interns. Perkin loves all things entertainment and is a huge reality TV junkie!