Is Will Trent Autistic? The Character's Disabilities Explained

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Ramon Rodriguez as Will Trent

There have been theories over whether the title character in Will Trent has autism spectrum disorder. 

Will Trent is a popular drama series that premiered on ABC in 2023. Now in its second season, the show follows the eponymous Will Trent, an introverted yet forthright Special Agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Trent is canonically dyslexic but works past that particular disorder and handles his job. But many of those watching have also wondered if something more than dyslexia might be affecting Will.

Is Will Trent on the Autism Spectrum?

Ramon Rodriguez as Will Trent in Will Trent Season 2

Since Will Trent began its run last year, certain qualities possessed by Trent have many of the series’ fans wondering if the character is autistic. There has been no official confirmation of such a diagnosis, however.

Trent’s straightforward bluntness, somewhat reserved nature, and detail-oriented powers of observation nature point to him possibly residing somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Nonetheless, Trent is indeed dyslexic. It’s worth noting, though, that the series has faced its fair share of backlash over its depiction of dyslexia.

In Will Trent, Will is often shown not being able to read, but the show instead chooses to paint his dyslexia as illiteracy. If one is dyslexic, this absolutely does not mean that one is illiterate. 

People with dyslexia are perfectly capable of reading but may not do so fluently. Twenty percent of the world's population is dyslexic, and many of those individuals have terrific critical and creative thinking abilities, like Will Trent.

Ramón Rodríguez, the actor behind Trent, spoke to Distractify about his character’s diagnosis, noting that he’s “like a puzzle master” in his ability to accurately read a given situation through relying on visual aids:

“I really love [that] we developed a very interesting language of how he sees the world, particularly with the case. You see that in the pilot where he has this ability because he relies on visual aids, a lot of reconstructing; he's like a puzzle master. He can kind of see things, he can take a few pieces of evidence, or he can take some crumbs and he creates a story and he can create a through line that I think other people just overlook.”

Karin Slaughter, the author of the book series upon which Will Trent is based, also spoke on Trent’s dyslexia and the fluidity in the ways it can manifest (via Distractify). As Slaughter says, “Every person who has dyslexia can have it in a different way:”

“The thing is that I think [the showrunners have] done an amazing job. And they've really talked to people, they've talked to experts, they've talked to people who have the condition. Every person who has dyslexia can have it in a different way. And the way I write Will in the books is the way he has it," later noting, "They've made it part of his life, but not part of his personality.”

Will Trent & the Pantheon of Autistic TV Characters

Will Trent is far from television’s only neurodivergent crime scene investigator. 

Many shows over the past few decades have featured characters who may be on the spectrum working in fields that require a high level of mental analysis.

House had Dr. Gregory House, Bones had Temperance Brennan, Law & Order: Criminal Intent had Robert Goren, and Sherlock had, well, Sherlock. The list goes on and on.

It’s always interesting to see characters representative of autism overcome their difficulties and become great at their jobs. But there is also a stereotype pertaining to these types of characters.

Community’s Abed Nadir (who is autism-coded although undiagnosed) put it succinctly, if not sarcastically, in a Season 5 episode, when he’s asked to “stand at the scene of the crime and see what happened:”

”I see a man… using a social disorder as a procedural device. Wait, wait, wait- I see another man. Mildly autistic super-detectives everywhere. Basic cable, broadcast networks. Pain… painful writing… It hurts.”

In short, autism is frequently treated as a sort of superpower by writers that enables characters who have it to look at a situation and instantaneously ascertain all the clues and/or responsible parties.

This trope was common in years past, but it does feel like Hollywood has attempted to course-correct and become more sensitive to how neurodivergence is portrayed in shows and movies as of late.

On Will Trent, the protagonist might exhibit autistic traits. But most of the time, those elements of his character take a backseat to his officially confirmed diagnosis of dyslexia, even though some feel that the series doesn’t get much right about that either.

Will Trent is streaming now on Hulu.

Read more about Will Trent on the Direct:

Full Cast of Will Trent Season 2 Episode 6: Guest Stars, Actors & Characters (Photos)

Full Cast of Will Trent Season 2- Every Main Actor Character & Actor Who Appears (Photos)

Will Trent: New Season 2 Release Date Schedule of Episodes on ABC & Hulu (Confirmed)

- In This Article: Will Trent
Release Date
February 20, 2024
Cable TV
Erika Christensen
Ramón Rodríguez
- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.