The Good Doctor is a heartwarming show


The moment I stepped into my home on a snowy Friday afternoon, I knew exactly what my plans for the rest of the weekend would be: throw on some pajamas, binge watch my favorite shows, and possibly leave my house once for a few hours.

Among my list of top shows is Parks and Recreation, Timeless, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. New to the list is a show worth the time it takes to watch 10 episodes in a row and then wait around until the season starts up again: The Good Doctor.

In essence, the show follows the journey of a surgeon named Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) as he works on his residency at San Jose Bonaventure Hospital and struggles to gain the respect of his peers with his condition.

Born with autism and savant syndrome, Shaun has been on an uphill battle to reach his goal of becoming a surgeon since day one. Though close to achieving what he’s worked so hard for, Shaun finds no shortage of obstacles in the forms of distrust and prejudice.

Now, backpedal to Sept 25– the airing of the first episode. Before the episode is halfway over, Shaun has already saved the life of a young boy at an airport with nothing but a pocket knife, straw, and a bottle of jack. During that time, the president of the hospital (Richard Schiff) is attempting to convince a board of directors to allow Shaun onto the surgical staff; however, they are reluctant to do so because of Shaun’s condition. Yet, he gets the position anyway, which is clearly evident by the continuation of the show.

To try and refrain from becoming attached to Shaun is like trying to hate oxygen; it’s impossible. His obvious discomfort with social situations conflicts with his drive to help people, and it’s easy to sympathize with him about that. He constantly strives to gain the trust and respect of his superior, Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), and when there’s an occasional instance in which that trust shines through, the appreciation for it is evident in Shaun.

The show is worth the while, not only because of the main character but also the supporting ones as well. The cast is full of so many diverse people, and they portray these characters with such powerful ambition. It seems like it would be a hard task to get into such characters; yet, they do it so effortlessly that you’d think the people the actors portray are real. A prime example would be Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas), a fellow residential surgeon alongside Dr. Shaun Murphy. Claire is the literal definition of a feminist. She’s surrounded by so many males in her line of work, and yet she shows no signs of intimidation. Instead of being portrayed as a meek prey animal, Claire is a lion, and the title of a permanent surgeon at the hospital is the prey she has locked in her sight.

In terms of accuracy, Freddie Highmore portrays the role of an adult on the autism spectrum quite well. Even within a few minutes of the first episode, it’s easy to notice some of the more common characteristics that accompany autism-like social awkwardness: lack of eye contact and fiddling with his hands in stressful situations. Not to mention the fact that the show breaks the stereotype that people who have disabilities, like autism, can’t build themselves a future with a good job, their own housing, etc.

As a show that mostly takes place at a hospital, it’s a relief that the characters use terms that are medically correct as far as I can tell. As someone who has some knowledge in terms of human anatomy and physiology, I can get a general idea of what the actors are talking about when they discuss things about their patients’ health and other things along those lines. I appreciate that the screenwriters (Freddie Highmore, Hill Harper, and David Shore) actually took the time to make the show as accurate as it is in a medical aspect.

I think this show can be inspirational not only for people with disabilities like Shaun’s, but for anyone. People sometimes believe that their “limitations” are what’s keeping them from achieving their goals. This show brings to light that people are not defined by their limitations, but rather they define their limitations. The characters and the plot show that working hard for what you want is the only way you will get to where you wish to be.

The cinematography of the show is pretty seamless. The camera work isn’t shaky at any point in time, and there’s hardly a difference- if any- between the green screen and real life, if there ever were any scenes with a green screen to begin with. The injuries that some patients at the hospital sustain are realistic enough that someone with a sensitive stomach might want to refrain from watching the show, or perhaps I’d suggest looking away at certain parts.

Overall, I love the characters, I love the plot, and I love the show. After only watching the first 10 episodes, I can’t wait for the show to return from winter break on Jan 8. I think that it’s definitely a show that’s not only entertaining to watch, but also a show that everyone can take something away from.