By: Billy Cushing – Dec. 2017
When Bates Motel ended its 5-season run in April, it didn’t take long for its star, Freddie Highmore, to get another gig. Now he is starring on ABC’s excellent new series, The Good Doctor.
The Good Doctor comes from creator David Shore, the same person who created the long running medical series House. You can definitely see some similarities between the two shows and the two main characters.
Highmore plays Dr. Shaun Murphy, an autistic surgeon with savant syndrome. Because of his autism, he has a lot of difficulty communicating with his colleagues. They, along with his patients, have a lot of problems trusting and respecting him at first. They are trying to figure him out at the same time he is trying to find his place.
The show also stars the always excellent Richard Schiff (The West Wing) as Dr. Aaron Glassman, the president of the St. Bonaventure Hospital. Dr. Glassman is a kind of surrogate father to Shaun. Having taken him under his wing when he was younger, and he spends the majority of the pilot episode convincing the board that Murphy is hirable and high-functioning. The episode shows us how Dr. Murphy deals with a medical emergency at the airport. Scenes of his highly improvised ways to rig up life-saving devices are intercut by the animated debate between Dr. Glassman and St. Bonaventure’s hierarchy. It turns out that Glassman made a unilateral decision to hire Shaun. Now he’s facing strong opposition.
“He’s not Rain Man. He’s highly functioning,” Glassman pleads. “He sees things and analyzes things in ways that are just remarkable. In ways that we can’t even begin to understand.”
Shaun’s brilliance and his way of analyzing things is presented to the viewers by showing the images he is seeing in his mind whenever he is searching for the right piece of information that will help him solve whatever medical mystery he’s currently facing. We are also shown a series of flashbacks that establish his rocky childhood, and his very close relationship with his younger brother. His childhood sets the tone for his history with Dr. Glassman.
The Good Doctor has been the best new drama series on network TV, delivering great performances and touching stories so far early in its first season. Highmore plays the role to near perfection and should be a lock for an Emmy nomination when the time comes. He was ignored for years while playing Norman Bates, but now with a higher profile show on a major network, that should no longer be a problem.
Adapted from a same-named 2013 South Korean series, The Good Doctor is co-executive produced by Daniel Dae Kim. He previously worked for ABC as a co-star on Lost, and then starred on CBS Hawaii Five-O.
It is the highest rated new drama on TV and it has already been renewed for a second season.
The Good Doctor airs Mondays at 10 on ABC.
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