New spin on medical drama leaves audiences rushing to the operating room

Alexis Martinez

“We need an O.R quick! Nurse hand me a 10 blade please, patient’s in cardiac arrest! We’re losing them!” We’ve listened to these medical phrases through series after series on the television screen. One would think Americans would be sick and tired of rewatching the same storyline play over and over again, but a new medical drama The Good Doctor has added a new twist to the story.

Dr. Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore),is a new surgical resident at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital and is autistic. People with autism frequently have difficulties with social skills, speech, and nonverbal communication.

However, Shaun Murphy also has Savant syndrome, a condition where a person demonstrates one or more extraordinary talents in certain areas. Shaun’s exceptional talents include photographic memory and ability to note microscopic details, making him valuable as a surgeon. Although he has unique abilities, many members of the medical board at the hospital are against an autistic doctor becoming a surgeon. It isn’t until till later in the pilot episode that Shaun’s talents save a young boy’s life that he is accepted into the hospital, but he walks on very thin ice.

I was shocked Freddie Highmore was cast to play the lead role of Dr. Shaun Murphy in The Good Doctor. His previous work, such as the psychological horror drama television series Bates Motel as Norman Bates, wasn’t his best performance and made me question his acting abilities. Yet seeing him play this quiet, sweet, autistic doctor made me second guess my previous assumption and gave me hope that he could flawlessly play this role. It was nice seeing actor Richard Schiff play as Dr. Aaron Glassman, president of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital because he skillfully portrays a mentor to Shaun and fights for him to become a surgeon despite his medical condition.

A reassuring aspect of The Good Doctor is seeing that they went for not-well-known actors to play in the show, gave the audience a much needed break from famous actors and actresses everyone know and loves. Instead of adding a well known five star celebrity into the mix just to increase views for the show (*cough* Grey’s Anatomy *cough*.) Instead, producers trusted that a fresh new cast would be more beneficial for the show.

The Good Doctor over-all creates a new intriguing narrative of TV medical drama by adding a mentally handicapped doctor into the plot and the challenges he will face throughout his career. It’s not very often that television shows showcase a character with a mental disorder that’s not some kind of superpower or them being overly charismatic. Never are they a sweet, shy, autistic male trying to achieve the unthinkable. This show is one that I will definitely be following for future seasons and waiting in anticipation for a new episode.