HomeTelevision‘The Good Doctor’ Star Freddie Highmore and Co-Showrunners on the 100th Episode...

‘The Good Doctor’ Star Freddie Highmore and Co-Showrunners on the 100th Episode and the Power of Neurodiverse Storytelling

The Good Doctor has been a compelling and emotionally charged staple for ABC on Monday nights, breaking floor with its depiction of the autistic Dr. Shawn Murphy navigating a prestigious hospital in addition to fraught office and private drama.

But the present, which marks its a hundredth episode Nov. 14, had a protracted path to air, with Daniel Dae Kim, who purchased the rights to the 2013 Korean sequence of the identical identify, purchasing it for a number of years earlier than it lastly landed with House creator David Shore and Sony Pictures Television.

Now six seasons in, with Golden Globe nominee Freddie Highmore within the starring position, it has been a scores success (per Nielsen, its season-six premiere rated tops within the 10 p.m. hour within the 18-to-49 demo) and began new conversations about illustration of neurodiversity. Co-showrunners Shore and Liz Friedman, together with Highmore, spoke with THR concerning the present’s success, depictions of neurodiversity and what followers can anticipate from the remainder of season six.

Can you share what the influence of constructing it to 100 episodes means to you?

FREDDIE HIGHMORE I really feel general, as I’ve all the time felt with this present, very fortunate and lucky that we’ve been capable of get up to now and that individuals have linked with the present and with the character that I get to play. It is more and more uncommon in at present’s world to have a present that goes this size of time. It’s undoubtedly surpassed my expectations.

LIZ FRIEDMAN It’s such a pleasure. We have nice characters, and we get to inform these terrific tales and comply with them as they play out over the long run — and comply with Shaun’s [played by Highmore] growth. Also, the truth that we get to maintain working with these unbelievable folks — from the writers to the crew and the solid — is terrific.

DAVID SHORE Freddie’s been the perfect from day one. He hasn’t modified or developed. (Laughs.) He simply stayed the perfect. You go to work and you’re employed onerous, and also you neglect to be proud, after which one thing like this comes alongside and reminds you to stay your head up and go searching and see what you’ve executed.

Do you recall the second whenever you realized there was a fandom behind the present?

SHORE There have been moments the place we’ve gotten letters or one thing the place we go, “Wow, this thing’s really struck a chord.” But from the beginning, we obtained a extremely good response as a result of we had been telling a narrative in an space about an individual that wasn’t represented on tv. People like this character, and other people responded and rooted for the character.

The a hundredth episode of The Good Doctor, which movies in Vancouver.

Courtesy of Jeff Weddell/ABC

Freddie, you might have such a accountability in portraying somebody who’s autistic. What have you ever realized from Dr. Murphy and the autism group?

HIGHMORE Our representing autism was all the time going to be the largest problem of this present and the factor that we most wished to get proper. We had the understanding that we had been solely telling Shaun’s particular person story and he would by no means signify everybody on the spectrum, however on the similar time, hoping he can be a significant character and a strong portrayal of the group.

That’s one thing that’s struck me now that we’ve reached 100 episodes: If, by doing this present, now we have modified even one particular person’s notion of autism and challenged stereotypes, then that’s definitely the factor that I’d be most pleased with.

Diversity and illustration have been paramount in The Good Doctor from the pilot. Why has that been so vital for you?

FRIEDMAN That is what the world is, and it’s nice to have an opportunity to signify that. I believe it’s additionally actually fascinating to see how varied characters from varied backgrounds join with Shaun. To be capable to have these characters bounce off of one another offers you nice alternatives.

SHORE People undergo their lives in bubbles to a sure extent. When we meet folks from outdoors that bubble, it’s eye-opening, and TV can replicate that have. One of the nice issues TV can do is make folks have a look at one thing they thought they knew in a brand new manner.

HIGHMORE I additionally suppose that by celebrating and representing range, it’s been a present that, in a really divisive time, has hopefully proved that we’re extra the identical than totally different.

SHORE It’s an oversimplification of the reality, however the director of the pilot, Seth Gordon, stated he realized midway by that “everybody’s fucked up. Shaun just has a diagnosis.”

Freddie, what do you would like you had identified whenever you began the present?

HIGHMORE (Laughs.) I wouldn’t threat rolling the cube once more or understanding one thing extra. Part of the stuff you study are in all probability needed alongside the best way to get us right here at present. It would maybe have been extra useful had I executed drugs and identified all of those phrases that all of us have to spend so much of time studying. It can be nice in the event that they rolled off my tongue simpler with out as a lot homework.

Star and executive producer Highmore (far right) in the pilot episode of The Good Doctor.

Star and government producer Highmore (far proper) within the pilot episode of The Good Doctor.

Liane Hentscher/ABC

What’s a surgical procedure or ailment you examine that was so intriguing that you simply needed to embrace it within the present?

FRIEDMAN There have been so many. We’ve obtained wonderful help workers and writers right here, all of us gather medical tales, and so they put out a digest each week. There’s a lot bizarre stuff that occurs. We have it floating round so we will go, “Oh, we can do this; we can do the virgin birth story here.” We’ve by no means executed that one, however there was somebody who obtained pregnant after being in a sizzling tub.

Is there a second from the primary 99 episodes that stands out to you or that has caught with you greater than another over time?

SHORE It’s the moments the place Dr. Murphy hugged any person for the primary time, held any person’s hand, kissed any person or had tequila [for the first time]. The private accomplishments which can be so enormous are those that stick with me.

HIGHMORE The finish of season two when Shaun knocks on Carly’s [Jasika Nicole] door [to ask her out for the first time]. I bear in mind considering on the time that it felt magical to finish in a hopefully satisfying manner, a TV season with such a small second that appears like sufficient to be a touchdown place for the tip of the present. I do know it’s in all probability stating the plain, however the pilot and sure momentous scenes for Shaun that had been extra emotional or larger all the time stick out as large turning factors.

Several castmembers have exited, then subsequently reentered the sequence. How do you method writing them out and in of the present?

SHORE We take the tales the place we really feel they may give us essentially the most dramatic fodder. It’s all the time troublesome, although. It’s all the time heartbreaking. But we by no means wish to draw back from heartbreak. It’s a present about hope. It’s a present about overcoming adversity. It’s a present about good folks doing their greatest, however it doesn’t imply it all the time works out for the perfect. We wish to discover the those that come and go from Dr. Murphy’s life. And whether or not they keep or they go, we get pleasure from having contemporary views towards Dr. Murphy and from Dr. Murphy.

What concerning the newcomers who’ve been added to the present lately? What do you search for whenever you wish to deliver an actor into an already well-established solid?

FRIEDMAN Well, it’s a daring selection, however we’re in search of good actors. (Laughs.) We’ve obtained an extremely nice {and professional} solid right here, so we’re in search of individuals who will method it with the identical veracity and decency.

Liz and David, have you learnt the place Dr. Murphy’s story will finish?

FRIEDMAN I used to suppose I did. (Laughs.)

SHORE I believe we’ll blow proper previous that and preserve going.

FRIEDMAN I’ve obtained some concepts. I wish to see what he does. Shaun’s grown a lot, and there’s extra to be executed.

SHORE Every season, we’ve recognized a brand new purpose for him or a brand new problem — only a common space and alternative. Until we run out of these, hopefully we’ll preserve going.

Can you share any teasers about what we will anticipate from the remainder of season six?

HIGHMORE What’s been thrilling for me this 12 months is Shaun getting his promotion. It felt like a little bit reset, having Shaun overseeing folks and being a boss. Being on this place of authority feels very significant and humorous to me due to how he’s studying these ropes. It has been enjoyable to play.

FRIEDMAN There’s some nice drama in how Shaun, Lim [Christina Chang] and Glassman [Richard Schiff] take care of the fallout of the surgical procedure that Shaun carried out on Lim. It creates actual emotional issues they’ve to seek out their manner out of.

SHORE It’s all the time fascinating to look at Shaun take care of emotional issues in his distinctive manner.

HIGHMORE This 12 months, with Shaun now married, it’s the very starting of a complete new life. It raises even larger questions. Similarly, I believe it is going to require a little bit of a readjustment with Shaun and Dr. Glassman as a result of, till this level, Dr. Glassman has definitely been an important particular person in [Shaun’s] life. Now the middle of his world has shifted towards Lea [Paige Spara]. So what does that relationship now turn into between Shaun and Dr. Glassman with this new life construction?

Interview edited for size and readability.

This story first appeared within the Nov. 9 challenge of The Hollywood Reporter journal. Click here to subscribe.



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