Have you watched The Good Doctor (2017-)? #302

“The Good Doctor (2017-) follows Shaun Murphy, a young autistic surgeon with savant syndrome, as he navigates the daily life of a surgeon. This American medical drama is based on a South Korean series of the same name from 2013. I discovered this show after watching Dr. Mike, a real-life doctor and YouTuber, react to the medical scenes in the pilot episode. I’ve watched seasons 1 through 4 and would like to share some highlights from each season along with my thoughts on the main characters.”

Shaun’s Troubled Past

We learn about Shaun’s traumatic childhood memories throughout multiple seasons. Shaun’s parents didn’t know how to care for an autistic child. His father couldn’t understand why he had trouble making friends and, in frustration, threw away his pet bunny and scolded him. This caused Shaun great pain, and he fled with his older brother to live in an old school bus. While playing with other kids one day, Shaun’s brother died in an accident. Though eventually discovered by his parents, Shaun refused to return home. Dr. Glassman met young Shaun and decided to raise him as his own son.

Relationship with Dr. Glassman

In a chaotic world, Dr. Glassman was the one who truly understood Shaun both medically and emotionally. Despite being autistic, having Savant syndrome helped Shaun excel as a surgeon. Dr. Glassman had great confidence in Shaun’s abilities and encouraged other doctors to look beyond their prejudices as well. Watching their relationship was fascinating; most of the time, Shaun turned to him for advice and help, both formal and informal. When Glassman fell ill with terminal cancer, Shaun made sure he received the best possible treatment. Although clueless about social interactions most of the time, Shaun even found him a girlfriend when he was alone. (Glassman’s wife and daughter passed away long ago)

Shaun in Love

To be honest, I’m not sure how difficult it is for an autistic person to navigate the world of love and relationships. Shaun’s first love was his neighbor Lea, who became his good friend and roommate. She understood him in ways nobody else could. Although she had feelings for him, she continued dating other guys because she wasn’t sure about dating someone with autism.

Shaun’s first girlfriend was Dr. Carly, another doctor at his hospital who had an autistic sister herself and was therefore more receptive towards Shaun than others might have been. They achieved many relationship milestones together but eventually broke up as Shaun was only infatuated with her.

After some detours, Shaun and Lea started dating each other. They constantly challenged each other in different ways but couldn’t stay apart for long. Personally, I find this story more dramatic than realistic.

Shaun’s Dynamic with fellow residents

Shaun had a hard time being accepted by his colleagues and superiors. He needed to prove himself more than other doctors in order to gain respect. Eventually, Claire became a close friend who helped him with social interactions while he expanded their imaginations. Even the skeptical senior doctors started taking Shaun seriously after seeing his skills as a surgeon. The show portrays Shaun as almost superhuman, often making experienced surgeons look inferior to make him seem like a hero.

Shaun’s personal and professional growth

In later seasons, Shaun’s mentors pushed him to grow as a “good doctor.” In his personal life, he had to learn to make room for his partner and be attentive to her needs. Professionally, he had to own his shortcomings and misdiagnoses – something that season 1 Shaun couldn’t do.

Some side plots

With new medical cases on every episode the side plots made the show all more interesting to watch.

Claire: Claire, a talented resident and woman of color, grew up with an alcoholic single parent. Despite her difficult past, she became a doctor without limitations. Claire’s strong suit was empathy which complemented her hard work and talent.

Dr. Lim, Dr. Melendez, Dr. Marcus:  The senior doctors were constantly in a power struggle, not just treating patients but also dealing with ethical dilemmas, legal issues, cover-ups, workplace romance, mental health concerns and more. Although highly competitive most of the time, they agreed to put aside their differences for the best interest of their patients every now and then.

Lim’s PTSD plot after covid was definitely a valuable addition to the plot.

Dr. Melendez, the senior doctor who was skilled but arrogant, had trouble finding love. Despite having many love interests, he secretly loved Claire, which touched my heart. He hesitated to confess his feelings to her because it could affect their professional relationship, but he supported her and trusted her medical abilities even more than his own at times. I was shocked by Melendez’s death – I really wanted this couple to be together!

Dr. Alex and Dr. Morgan: Alex, an army veteran, was in residency with Shaun. He was separated from his wife and had a teenage son. Dr. Morgan started as an over-achiever and highly competitive resident but grew to be an invaluable part of the story alongside Alex throughout the seasons.

I really loved the format of the show, you can pick any random episode and watch… each episode has their own short story- a unique medical problem to solve. I liked the first 3 seasons more… All in all I would rate the series 3.5/5.

Thumbnail Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Season 6 of The Good Doctor is coming soon, on Oct 3rd, 2022 on TV.

Thanks for reading, check out my other blogs…

Post Author: Molten Cookie Dough

A typical Pisces person.

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