“The Good Doctor” is emotionally charged, sheds light on autism spectrum disorder


Anna Barrett, Staff Writer

ABC Network’s hit series “The Good Doctor  has had an overwhelming amount of fascination from viewers all over who have had very positive reviews of the show, including myself. The show has successfully portrayed something that is very rarely brought to the spotlight of national television—the social differences that a surgeon with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) faces.

As with any new show, what you see is what you get in the pilot episode since they pack as much as possible into it, in order to gain viewers. “The Good Doctor” opens with Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), a young surgeon with autism, earning his spot in the residency program in a San Jose hospital. Many of the top officials of the hospital held a board meeting to decide whether or not Dr. Murphy is even fit to be a surgeon.

The first episode is definitely a lot to take in. From the start of the episode, Murphy has flashbacks to his childhood, which allow the viewers to understand how he overcame difficulties, like making it through childhood without parents and the death of his brother, and turned them into something of which to be proud; he wasn’t able to save his brother, but he wanted the opportunity to save others. They continue throughout every episode, helping to develop his character. These flashbacks also explain how he crossed paths with Dr. Richard Shiff (Aaron Glassman) who is the president of the hospital board and put his job on the line to give someone who faces social differences a chance.

A show like this has huge amount of potential for two main reasons, the first being the fact that the main character has ASD, a group of developmental, social and behavioral disorders. It does not receive much spotlight in primetime television so it would be interesting to find out how much light will be shed on Shaun’s diagnosis. Even though Highmore doesn’t have autism in the real world, he portrays the character in a very realistic way that sheds light on the adversity one might face on a daily basis. Second, it’s not your typical medical drama like “The Night Shift” where it is nothing but drama throughout the entire show. Instead, this show is focused more on the main character and allows the viewers to see how his team learns to adapt to someone different from them.

“The Good Doctor” definitely has so much potential, and I would recommend it to anyone. Highmore has so much to show and teach the world about individuals who face social adversity. As the series progresses, more light will be shed on the adversity that is experienced for someone with ASD throughout life. It is an awe-inspiring show, serving a great purpose.

5/5 stars.