ABC’s new medical drama, The Good Doctor, has premiered and it is already off to an amazing start! The first episode of the new series was intense, funny, and suspenseful, which is all the makings of a promising show.
The series is based on the Korean drama of the same name, which follows a high-functioning autistic surgeon, Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), as he navigates his way through life and surgical residency at St. Bonaventure Hospital.
We are first introduced to Shaun as he arrives at an airport in San Jose as he is on his way to meet with the board of St. Bonaventure Hospital for an interview. We are instantly treated to how amazing Shaun can be as he works to save a young boy named Adam whose body has been sprayed with glass after a sign falls. He is able to quickly to determine that the boy’s lungs are in distress and performs impromptu surgery to get him breathing on his own again.
Jumping over to the St. Bonaventure’s boardroom, Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff), president of the hospital, is engaged in a debate over his decision to hire Shaun. This debate brings up important questions—can an autistic person be trusted with surgery? Will they have the bedside manner necessary to discuss life and death situations? Only time will tell.
And as with any medical drama, we have the usual hooking up happening in the on call rooms! This time, however, Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) may have left her lover, Dr. Jared Kalu (Chuku Modu), feeling bitter after explaining to him that it’s only sex and there is no relationship. This resentment shines through when Jared upstages Claire by getting the informed consent from a patient she was supposed to get.
Meanwhile, Shaun manages to stabilise the boy by the time paramedics arrive and he goes on with them to St. Bonaventure’s Hospital. As usual in this day and age, his astonishing performance at the airport was captured by onlookers and uploaded to YouTube. The video garners media attention and it ends up making its way to the boardroom of St. Bonaventure’s. Essentially, this only prolongs the discussion giving Shaun time to make an appearance.
Once Shaun arrives at the hospital, he is introduced to Claire as she takes over Adam’s admittance into an operating room. She is initially rude to him, dismissing his concerns that there is still something wrong with Adam’s heart (based on Adam’s EKG line tracings), and eventually has him removed from the hospital when he becomes irate over her ignoring him.
However, Claire’s attitude shifts towards Shaun when the attending surgeon, Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), stops mid surgery after noticing the same thing on Adam’s EKG as Shaun. They bring Shaun into the fold and together he and Claire manage to figure out that a piece of glass is stuck behind Adam’s heart.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that there has been flashbacks, throughout the episode, into Shaun’s past giving the audience insight into what made him who he is—such as the death of his pet rabbit, an abusive father, running away from home with his younger brother, Steve Murphy (Dylan Kingwell), and ultimately his younger brother’s death.
When asked by the board members why Shaun wants to become a surgeon, he spins all this events into a beautiful answer about wanting to help people. Needless to say, he is hired on the spot.
The episode ends in almost a perfect way. When Dr. Melendez is explaining to Shaun that he will never do more than help with suction during a surgery, Shaun responds by saying “You are a very arrogant man, does it make you a better surgeon?”—highlighting the changes and challenges Dr. Shaun Murphy will bring to the table as part of this hospital’s surgical team.
And Shaun will certainly challenge the other doctors in later episodes in many ways. Will they be able to accept him? Will they view him as an equal? Will they be able to trust him? We’ll have to keep watching to know!
What did you think of the series premiere? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!