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The Irrational’s DOP Explains What Makes the Show So Unique: "I Haven't Seen Anything Like That"

The cinematographer and director of photography, Todd A. Dos Reis, also said the cast of The Irrational "is like a family."

By Stephanie Gomulka

Creating a unique world for NBC’s The Irrational was paramount for the director of photography of the pilot episode, Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC.

How to Watch

Watch The Irrational on NBC and Peacock

Dos Reis, an experienced cinematographer, (Entourage, Southland), spoke to NBC Insider about his role as he helped get what the showrunners, writers, and director envisioned for the show onto the screen.  

“I thought it was an original idea,” Dos Reis told NBC Insider of what attracted him to the show. “I haven’t seen anything like that for a network show for years, so I thought having someone who deals with human behavior was fascinating because how do you show that in television, for a weekly series, every week and make it interesting?” 

Jesse L. Martin Steps into the Leading Role for The Irrational 

Although Jesse L. Martin starred in several seasons of Law & Order’s New York-based shows as Detective Ed Green, don’t expect The Irrational to have the same feel or look. Dos Reis said he gets joy out of creating “a unique world that hasn’t been done before.” 

Still, Dos Reis was “a big, big fan” of Martin on Law & Order. Now, after working together on the new show, the cast and crew are close.  

RELATED: Jesse L. Martin Teases the Unfinished Love Story at the Heart of The Irrational 

“It was like we’re a family after the pilot,” Dos Reis said. “When we got to the series, we were like old friends.” 

Alec Mercer sitting down and reading a book.

How is NBC’s The Irrational different from other procedural shows on television? 

The show follows Alec Mercer (Jesse L. Martin), a behavioral science professor, as he works through cases as well as his own traumatic past. Dos Reis sees the character as the heart of the show. 

“The way he can figure out things and read people — I mean, wouldn’t we all like that superpower?” Dos Reis said.  

Portraying Mercer’s ability to solve cases and analyze situations on screen was a challenge.  

“Usually, on a procedural television show there are other ways to do it visually,” Dos Reis said. “Whereas this is all in Alec Mercer’s head and how he’s figuring things out and how he’s telling his team. This is what happened, here’s what really happened, so that was always an amazing part for me working on the show.” 

Dos Reis collaborated with Academy Award-winning director David Frankel (Inventing Anna, The Devil Wears Prada), an executive producer and the director of the pilot, on trying to “elevate the visuals” of the show and on making the “memories look different” for various characters. 

“We wanted to give everything a different look, almost like three ways of telling the story,” Dos Reis said.  

The team  hen employed various shooting tricks and “cinematographer toys” to enhance the visual feeling of “muddied up” memories or flashbacks.  

See the look for yourself and watch The Irrational Mondays at 10/9c on NBC and the next day on Peacock. The first episode is available now.