Shaun’s Still ‘Devastated’ Medically & Personally When ‘The Good Doctor’ Returns

ABC/Jeff Weddell

Due to ABC’s new drama Promised Land‘s abrupt move over to Hulu, fans of The Good Doctor won’t have to wait any longer to check in with Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) as the medical show is returning from its long hiatus on Monday, February 28, rather than the originally-planned April 4.

That’s a really good thing since we’ve been worried about  Shaun for far too long.  When last seen, he was in a bad way due to the combination of his father figure Dr. Glassman’s (Richard Schiff) decision to move to Montana, and his fiancé Lea’s (Paige Spara) admission that she changed Shaun’s dismal patient appreciation scores to make them more positive. In response, he called off the wedding in a rage. Adding to his stress: a preemie he was treating died due to expired meds thanks to budget cuts by hospital administrator Salen Morrison (Rachel Bay Jones).


ABC/Jeff Weddell

He’s still in precarious shape. “Shaun has been devastated by what happened medically and personally,” says executive producer David Shore. “Lea thinks it just going to blow over. A patient died and she made a little mistake… But it’s not a little mistake.” Though they are still talking, Shaun has not changed his mind about marrying her. “How she tries to make that right, and Shaun’s reaction to her inability to make it right is a big part [of the episode],” he adds.

As his personal life falters, so does his professional situation as even more goes wrong in the OR. “How our doctors deal with the cost-saving mistake, including Shaun, is a big story moving forward,” Shore previews. Salen may be the villain, but she’s not a simple mustache-twirler, “she’s somebody who genuinely believes that she can do good through this. Her point of view is that the idea that you can do unlimited good at a hospital without worrying about money is naïve. But her approach and her priorities are different than our doctors.”

So what to do about the boss, whose defense for the baby’s death is “we all screw up”? The docs “see it as a deeper problem than that,” the EP explains. “But who is willing to confront Salen and challenge the status quo? To take risks, however deep those risks might be. And they get deeper and deeper.”

After all, Salen is an expert in all things bureaucratic and managerial and she has the power. “There will be threats and there will be fallout. A price will be paid,” Shore teases. Though someone may bravely start the rebellion against her, we suspect it will take many more to win this war.

Also in this episode? A debate about the value versus dangers of plastic surgery gets hot and heavy when a patient comes into St. Bonaventure after a disastrous attempt at a Brazilian butt lift. “That leads us to tell a very interesting story about how much we as a society value appearance and what price we are willing to pay and risk we are willing to take in pursuit of that,” says Shore. “The truth is complicated.”

The Good Doctor, Mondays, 10/9c, ABC