Dr. Robert Ellman is a main character in the fourth season of "13 Reasons Why". He's portrayed by Gary Sinise.

He's a compassionate, incisive, no-nonsense adolescent and family therapist who works to help Clay battle anxiety, depression, and grief. Formidable, intense, and deeply humane, Ellman is steadfast in guiding Clay to accept the help he needs so desperately, to come to terms with the trauma in his past, and begin the process of healing. [1]

Early Life[edit | edit source]

Dr. Ellman grew up in Evergreen County. He was a troubled kid; he stole things, did drugs and was going down a dark road until a high school teacher took interest in him and encouraged him. Years later he started to help kids like himself.[2]

Throughout the Series[edit | edit source]

Season 4[edit | edit source]

Dr. Ellman is introduced when Clay returned back to therapy; Dr. Ellman has been his therapist since middle school.

At therapy, Clay spoke to Dr. Ellman about being in control. He said if he loses control things get ugly. His panic attacks lately are one manifestation of this.[3]

Dr. Ellman asked Clay about the reason he skipped the college tour and go upstairs after the drunk girl. Clay explained that he started only thinking about sex at the time and not about the girl being unconcious. Clay asked if Dr. Ellman isn't supposed to help with his panic attacks and intrugal thoughts instead of asking about this, but Dr. Ellman explained that they're supposed to ask these questions. He also told Clay that it gets worse before it gets better.[4]

At a therapy session around Valentine, Dr. Ellman asked Clay if he has ever been in love. Clay denied this. Dr. Ellman asked about Hannah and what the difference between thinking you're in love and being in love is. Clay thought love is a lie; he thought he loved her, but didn’t actually know her. Dr. Ellman wondered if he does believe in love and that he loves so fiercely that it hurts; and he’s afraid of that hurt.[5]

Clay confided in Dr. Ellman about feeling scrutinized by his friends. Dr. Ellman suggested speaking to a chaperone about the football team in case they try to do something worse to him on the senior trip. Clay refused to, saying it would be the dumbest thing to do. He said that adults overestimate how helpful they can be, but they are good at listening. Dr. Ellman then advised that to face his anxiety instead of running from it.[6]

Dr. Ellman asked Clay about why his drug test tested positive and told him that he can't tell his parents what they talk about. Clay insisted he didn’t take drugs. Dr. Ellman thought he was paying a high price for keeping secrets, which he doesn’t yet know.[7]

After a stop-the-bleed excersise at school, Clay told Dr. Ellman that he thinks the focus is on the wrong place; the schools should be trying to prevent school shootings from happening, not training kids on how to cope under such conditions. Dr. Ellman empathized with Clay, saying it must be upsetting to go through that training. He asked if helping people is important to Clay and said that sometimes he himself can't help people besides trying everything he knows.[8]

After Clay freaked out after a shooting drill at school, he was taken to a hospital. Dr. Ellman told the Jensens that they thought Clay was at risk of self harm and it'd be better to keep Clay at the hospital to observe him. However, Clay escaped and showed up to Dr. Ellman's house at night. Dr. Ellman told him it was inappropiate to be there, but Clay begged him for help. They talked in the office about how afraid Clay felt. Dr. Ellman encouraged him to remember the feeling of being safe and to believe that there are people who want him to do well. [9]

After The Student Riot, Dr. Ellman asked if Clay still felt like he could tell him anything and revealed that Principal Gary Bolan had reached out to him. He then showed Clay security footage of him setting Clay's car on fire; Clay said that he didn't remember. Dr. Ellman then said that means they have a problem here.[10]

At another therapy session, Clay told Dr. Ellman that he still hasn't told anyone about the graffiti, smashing of the cameras or the incident at Burnham Woods all due to his dissociation. Dr. Ellman thought he should tell them as it may help alleviate his anxiety.[11]

Dr. Ellman asked Clay about how he felt about Justin being in the hospital. Clay got angry and said that they just talk and they don't get anywhere. He felt selfish to talk about feelings when Justin is going through worse, but Dr. Ellman asked if his life doesn't hang in the balance too. Clay agreed to keep talking.

Clay told Dr. Ellman about his freak-out at the police station and how it felt like Sheriff Diaz was worried about him besides arresting him once. In another session, Clay felt like he couldn't give a graduation speech as there's no future. When Dr. Ellman asked a question, Clay got angry at him for using a calm tone. Dr. Ellman continued talking calmly told him that it's okay if he loses it a little bit.

Dr. Ellman told Clay that he was being lazy and asked him a number of questions. Clay got angry and asked why he cared. Clay started yelling that none of it mattered now Justin is dead. He said that he didn't understand Justin didn't tell anyone what was wrong when it would have been so easy to save him. Dr. Ellman suggested that Justin might've felt like he wasn't worth saving or loving. He pointed out that Clay also has a hard time opening up and letting people care for him. Dr. Ellman then told him about his troubled youth, which all changed after a teacher who helped him get better. Clay then said down and told him about everything that had happened.

At the end of the season, Dr. Ellman told Clay that he'll survive. Clay suggested to facetime when he's off to college. Dr. Ellman told him that's fine and that there are resources at his new college, and said goodbye.[12]

Personality[edit | edit source]

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Physical Appearance[edit | edit source]

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Appearances[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

Season 2[edit | edit source]

Season 3[edit | edit source]

Season 4[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

I was going down a dark road, and then a teacher in my high school saw something in me. Saw me. She believed I had something to offer. She was an English teacher. She thought I could write. And I said something to her very much like what you said to me. Nothing makes sense. None of the pieces fit together. And she said to me "Try." She said "Begin." So I began. And years later I found myself back here, in my home town, to help kids like me. Like you. I can't promise the story has a happy ending, Clay. What happens to us, it may only have the sense that we make of it. But I do know that it's in telling the story that we learn who we are. And maybe see who we might become.
— Dr. Ellman to Clay[src]
Dr. Ellman: "You will you know. Survive."
Clay: "Yeah. I know it now."
―  Dr. Ellman and Clay's last conversation[src]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also: Category:Images of Dr. Robert Ellman

"Winter Break"

"College Tour"

"Valentine's Day"

"Senior Camping Trip"

"House Party"


"College Interview"




References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Deadline (deadline.com) - ‘13 Reasons Why’: Gary Sinise To Star In Fourth & Final Season Of Netflix Series"
  2. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Yorkey, Brian (director). (June 5, 2020). "Graduation". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 10.
  3. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Mulcahy, Russell (director). (June 5, 2020). "Winter Break". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 1.
  4. MacDonald, Allen (writer) & Mulcahy, Russell (director). (June 5, 2020). "College Tour". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 2.
  5. Tyler, Hayley (writer) & Sucsy, Michael (director). (June 5, 2020). "Valentine's Day". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 3.
  6. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Sucsy, Michael (director). (June 5, 2020). "Senior Camping Trip". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 4.
  7. Malone, M.K. (writer) & D. Gonzalez, Franky (director). (June 5, 2020). "House Party". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 5.
  8. Ordaz, Evangeline (writer) & Strong, Brenda (director). (June 5, 2020). "Thursday". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 6.
  9. MacDonald, Allen, Tyler, Hayley, Ordaz|Evangeline (writer) & Gonera, Sunu (director). (June 5, 2020). "College Interview". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 7.
  10. Jahani, Sahar, Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Gonera, Sunu (director). (June 5, 2020). "Acceptance/Rejection". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 8.
  11. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Lohmann, Tommy (director). (June 5, 2020). "Prom". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 9.
  12. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Yorkey, Brian (director). (June 5, 2020). "Graduation". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 10.
  13. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (May 18, 2018). "The First Polaroid". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 1.

See Also[edit | edit source]

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