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Pirate 'survives' Redemption Island

By Christos Paizis
On February 9, 2011
"Survivor Redemption Island," the series' 22nd season, premieres Feb.16 at 8 p.m. on CBS. One of the 18 castaways is David Murphy, an attorney from California who received his law degree at Seton Hall University School of Law. The Pirate alumnus is excited and ready to take on Survivor.

Before applying, Murphy had never watched the show before.  He was selected to compete on his first try.

"The appeal was the challenge in that it is the ultimate test of pushingstrategies yourself to the limits," Murphy said.  "You do not realize how mentally and physically demanding it is until you get out there. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that only a small group have done before."

Not having seen a season before fi nding out he was selected, Murphy watched 11 seasons of "Survivor" in the two months leading up to the show. "I wanted to get a full understanding of the game and the strategies," he said. "I thought I was very well prepared for what it takes to win."

While preparing for the show, Murphy strategized on how he wanted to play the game.

"I did not want to emulate anyone because I wanted to be myself. You look at people's games and you see what they do well and work those strategies into my own," Murphy said. "I wanted to go into the game open minded. You can't have a static plan because that is a recipe for disaster."

Murphy also realized it would be hard to hide the fact that he was a lawyer.

"When talking to people they realize that I analyze situations much more than the average person," he said.

Murphy has the highest IQ of any competitor in the history of "Survivor," but he said he did not want to let that define how he competed.

"Intelligence is only one aspect of the game," he said.  "You can't win if you don't have…intelligence, social ability, and physical ability. So, it was important to show them I was a worthy competitor."

Murphy said that he preferred puzzle challenges over physical ones because it was a way for him to contribute and prove his ability.

"Redemption Island" is changing some of the rules of past Survivor seasons.  Typically, when a competitor is voted of he/she is sent home. Now, when one is voted off, the competitor is not automatically out of the game. Instead, the competitor is taken to Redemption Island where the game continues.

As castaways get voted off, they will challenge one another and only the winner will remain on Redemption Island. At some point, a voted-off castaway will have the opportunity to come back and get a chance at the title of "Sole Survivor."

"It makes me have to be cautious of when you get rid of someone because if they come back they will know you were responsible for getting them out and will come after you," Murphy said.

This season of Survivor will also feature two of the greatest survivor castaways of all time: Boston Rob, who will be a part of his fourth "Survivor" season, and Russell, the genius game-player, who will be in his third season.  Both contestants are looking for their first "Survivor" crown.

To the Seton Hall students Murphy says, "Students in the undergrad, stay there as long as you can. I wish I could have and had more fun before entering the real world."

Will David Murphy outwit, outlast and outplay 17 other castaways to become the Sole Survivor? Students will have to see for themselves how David fares on the show.

Christos Paizis can be reached at

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