First Thoughts on The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor is a medical drama that airs on ABC and which features a doctor with autism. It is based on an earlier South Korean series. At this point I have only watched the first two episodes and will comment further after watching the first season. These are only my preliminary thoughts.

There have been plenty of medical dramas on television, from House to ER to Grey’s Anatomy. Some better than others. But there are only so many twists that can be performed on the theme.

The Good Doctor does take a fresh approach by having the main character as someone with autism. I will say that I have so far enjoyed Freddie Highmore’s portrayal of Dr. Shaun Murphy. Murphy is hired at a hospital as a surgical resident. Although extremely talented, he is very socially awkward. He also faces significant prejudice as certain people at the hospital are actively working to have him removed.

There is plenty about the series that I enjoy so far. There are some comparisons to the BBC Sherlock Holmes in the way that he processes data. There is lots of humour as well, mixed with some sad moments.

Of course my interest is in the autism connection. Yes, there are plenty of stereotypes in the series (see my post Disability Stereotypes in Movies). Murphy is not a typical person with autism (as if there was a typical person with autism) in that he is a savant. The idea that most people with autism are savants is an unfortunate stereotype. However, his savant abilities are what end up making the series interesting.

The president of the hospital who fights to get Dr. Murphy hired points out to the board that there were times when the hospital did not hire black or female doctors. One of the board members is outraged that he would compare being black or female to having autism. If found that reaction to be quite interesting.

I will keep watching the series and will write a full review once I have completed the season. But so far I like The Good Doctor.

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2 thoughts on “First Thoughts on The Good Doctor”

  1. Hi Steve, I have watched the first season. I have found it to be good. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and he said he could identify with some of the traits that Shaun Murphy exhibited. It is interesting to see how others deal with the issue of autism in the mainstream. As you know, autism never demonstrates the same in two people, so assumptions made about one person may not apply to another. As the season goes on, you will see different scenarios played out, including one with a romantic twist. It is interesting! Keep watching.

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