The Good Doctor is Remarkably Good Television

The Good Doctor is a television drama about Shaun Murphy, an autistic surgical resident at fictional San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. The series stars Freddie Highmore as Dr. Murphy.

While Highmore drew rave reviews for his previous starring role on Bates Motel from 2013-2017, I was not familiar with his work until seeing him in The Good Doctor.

I have autism in my family. I can tell you firsthand that Highmore does an amazing acting job in The Good Doctor. He is 100% believable as a highly functioning autistic person. He is always in character and shows a real understanding of the challenges and joys of autism.

I do not understand how Highmore hasn’t been nominated for an Emmy for Best Actor in a Television Series. In my opinion, Highmore does an even better job as an autistic savant than Dustin Hoffman, who won an Academy Award for his performance in the 1988 film Rain Man. That is not an insult to Hoffman; he fully deserved the Academy Award. Highmore deserves an Emmy.

The Good Doctor is one of my favorite current television shows. I look forward to a new episode each week. Yes, Highmore’s performance as Dr. Murphy is impressive, but that’s not the only appeal of the show. You don’t pay money to watch someone act. You pay money to watch people tell a story.

The storylines on The Good Doctor do not focus simply on autism. That may prove interesting for a certain number of episodes, but the longevity of a series depends on its ability to stay relevant by the standards of today’s audiences.

David Shore, the creator of House, developed the series after Executive Producer Daniel Dae Kim brought the project to network attention. Shore knows how to create a hospital drama. He has the pedigree.

While I might have tuned in at first because the concept of an autistic doctor was interesting to me. Now I tune in for the riveting storylines and exceptional acting from the entire ensemble.

The other week, the network aired an episode of The Good Doctor that could have been ripped right from today’s headlines. In the episode Waiting, children of two mothers protesting on opposite sides of an issue are shot when temperatures start to flair. The writers of Season 4, Episode 15 (David Hoselton and David Shore), created one of the most moving episodes of a network television drama in recent history.

The consistently excellent ensemble cast includes Antonia Thomas as Dr. Claire Brown, Fiona Gubelmann as Dr. Morgan Reznick, Will Yun Lee as Dr. Alex Park, Christina Chang as Dr. Audrey Lim, Paige Spara as Shaun’s girlfriend Lea Dilallo, Hill Harper as Dr. Marcus Andrews, and Richard Schiff as Dr. Aaron Glassman – Shaun’s mentor.

For those of us in the orbit of someone with autism, it’s wonderful to watch The Good Doctor and imagine the possibilities for anyone who puts their mind to it. But you don’t have to know anything about autism to enjoy the show. The storytellers explain autism to you in weekly lessons. Not all of them are pretty, but some of them are pretty inspirational.

If you enjoy medical dramas, I suggest you get into The Good Doctor. Like most shows, it’s best if you can start from the beginning. With the show in its fourth season, you’ll have plenty of episodes to binge watch.

After you’ve seen a few episodes, come on back and leave your thoughts in the comments.  I want to hear if the show is as magical for you as it is for me.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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