Dr. Shaun Murphy M.D. is a surgical resident at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Shaun has autism and savant syndrome which allow him to look at things differently from other people who don't have autism.
Shaun's early life was somewhat troubled. His father had difficulty communicating with Shaun, which made him angry and violent towards Shaun. This culminated in Shaun's father killing Shaun's pet rabbit. Shaun and his brother searched for a long time in the rain for a place to save the rabbit, but to no avail. After this event, Shaun and his brother Steve ran away from him and living in a disused breakers yard. During an event with his brother- which was designed by his brother as a way to get Shaun to make friends- Steve fell off an abandoned train and died. These two events were the catalyst for Shaun to study medicine, as he believed it was sad that neither got to grow up and have children of their own and Shaun wanted to help others to do the same thing.
Shaun is on the autistic spectrum and has savant syndrome, giving him "almost perfect recall", spatial intelligence, and the excellent analytical abilities that allow him to make highly accurate diagnoses. Shaun dislikes direct questions and confrontation. He is highly perceptive and often bluntly voices these perceptions, such as noting that his superior, Dr. Neil Melendez, was "arrogant" on the first day that they met.
His savant abilities not only help him to see things with great accuracy in the medical field, but it also helps him remember a lot more things than most. He's also seen to be using it in a personal way, as shown in the end scene of Episode 8: Apple. While he was buying a TV, he was shown sitting with Dr. Glassman, watching a football game on about 14 identical TV screens on the wall. Within this scene, he mentions an unnamed football players statistics in the same way and form, as he would mention a solution to a complex medical issue. This eventually leads to Dr. Glassman stating that: "He's wasted potential on the bench.". This also shows us another hobby Shaun has: Football.
Though his savant skills help make him higher up on the spectrum, Shaun displays several traits associated with autism, such as heightened sensitivity to sounds, difficulty making eye contact, fixation on objects, and heavy reliance on routine.
Despite Shaun's troubled childhood, he maintains a generally positive outlook on life, choosing to pursue medicine in the hopes of improving the lives of others.