‘The Good Doctor’ Boss & Freddie Highmore Answer Our Burning Season 4 Questions

Freddie Highmore The Good Doctor Season 3 Finale Shaun Murphy
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ABC/Darko Sikman

Aftershocks reverberated from an earthquake that flattened a brewpub during an event attended by members of St. Bonaventure’s staff in last season’s finale of The Good Doctor.

Lives were upended and many characters were left in flux. But there was also a long-awaited, heartwarming moment: When Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) finally emerged from the rubble, the woman he’d been pining for, exuberant Lea Dilallo (Paige Spara), pledged her love to her former roommate with a kiss that was definitely more than just a “happy to see you.”

Exec producer David Shore and Highmore, who plays Shaun, a brilliant young surgeon on the autism spectrum, preview Season 4.

Does the story pick up right where we left off last season?

Pretty soon after, but don’t expect resolutions immediately. “The very dramatic things and big questions about where we’re going to go from here got eclipsed by the real world,” Shore explains.

Indeed. The season opens with a pandemic-focused two-parter “taking place over the days, weeks and months that we’ve all been dealing with this and portraying how everything changed,” he says. Adds Highmore: “We’ll do our best to pay tribute to our real heroes by reflecting their experiences as best we can.”

What’s happening with Shaun and Lea?

“Their relationship is less about the emotional swings of early dating and instead about the more mature, complex highs and lows that arise over time,” says Highmore. After experiencing a lot of romantic “firsts” last season with former girlfriend Carly (Jasika Nicole), including having sex, Shaun is ready to take committed romantic love to the next level.

(ABC/Darko Sikman)

Shaun, who struggles with interpersonal skills, is now supervisor to first-year resident applicants. Can he handle his eager new flock?

Shaun never expected to be a mentor, but this is where he finds himself as a fourth-year resident. “His new role requires him not only to impart his medical wisdom and experience,” says Highmore, “but also to help the residents deal with more personal matters as they settle in. He’ll have to rise to that challenge.” Highmore promises that Shaun’s “unique insight will help them become better people as well as better doctors.”

How are surgical resident Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) and chief of surgery Audrey Lim (Christina Chang) coping since the quake cost them the man they both loved, attending surgeon Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez)?

Though Lim was Neil’s ex and, it seemed, Claire his future partner, the two women have become fast, if unexpected, pals. Says Shore: “It’s going to be really interesting to see the friendship between these two people who have had challenges in life, being females of color who have probably been marginalized and underestimated, as well as having suffered a big parallel loss.”

(ABC/Jack Rowand)

We last saw Dr. Alex Park (Will Yun Lee) on an emotional phone call with his ex-wife about moving back to Arizona to be closer to their teenage son, Kellan (Ricky He). Has he left?

Not yet, though in the premiere, he’s still planning to move. Touched by a boy he treated at the quake site whose father wasn’t with him, Park really wants to connect with Kellan, whom he sees infrequently. His plans, however, are stalled by the COVID-19 crisis.

Skilled surgeon Morgan Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) had a risky operation to repair her hands, damaged by rheumatoid arthritis — then stubbornly performed an emergency surgery before they had healed. Is her career over?

“She is with us, but she’s going to be in a different capacity this year,” says Shore. “There will be ups to that — and downs.”

We know that Reznick performed admirably when she had to take over the ED during a crisis last season, so could she secure an administrative position? Hints Shore, “During COVID, everybody’s doing whatever they can.”

The Good Doctor, Season 4 Premiere, Monday, November 2, 10/9c, ABC