If you’re like me, you have watched (and re-watched) every single episode of "House" and its ending (no spoilers ahead) left you wanting another show like it. Well, ABC has finally answered our wishes and released a hard-hitting medical series.
The story follows the journey of Dr. Shaun Murphy who is a new surgical resident at St. Bonaventure Hospital. Sounds like another prosaic medical series right? Well...IT IS NOT. Although the plot is similar to many other series, the tagline highlights Dr. Murphy’s struggle to fit in with the “normal” staff at St. Bonaventure as he is diagnosed with autism and savant syndrome. His diagnosis leads many of the prestigious board members of the hospital to believe that his condition will put him at a deficit, due to his inability to interact appropriately with patients. However, this so-called “deficit” lends Dr. Murphy a sixth sense which many of his superiors failed to have acquired despite their experience.
With his unique perspective, he single-handedly and cunningly goes above and beyond normal guidelines and is not afraid to propose ideas that seem preposterous to his seniors. Despite the fact that his ideas get ridiculed, in the end, they yield promising results for his patients. The character’s resilience is echoed within the support and advocacy he receives from the president of the hospital, Dr. Glassman, who pushes his board to give people like Shaun a chance so that “[They can] give hope to those people with limitations that those limitations aren’t what they think they are.” That statement wowed me and won me over. Dr. Glassman’s insistence to stand up for Shaun makes this show AMAZING. It shows a unique and positive perspective on what our society views as “limiting.” It destroys the normative stereotype of autism as something which is anything but limiting.
Aside from the medical references, the show goes on to portray doctors for what they really are, humans. Dr. Murphy hesitates to send some of his patients home because he doesn't have a clear-cut answer when asked: “Am I OK?” Murphy lingers with that question because he isn't sure. His honesty makes him question himself in the regard that the patient has been treated for the symptoms that they initially presented with, but are they really OK? His hesitance highlights the truth behind what many people fail to acknowledge: it is OK for a doctor to not know the answer to everything. That, dear readers, is the truth. It is impossible for a doctor to have immediate answers for every situation that a patient presents with.
Straying further away from a typical medical series, ABC’s “The Good Doctor” also paints Shaun’s childhood. That picture is something that I highly appraise ABC for. I keep on insisting that on the journey to med school almost every single doctor I have known forgets why they are in it in the first place; they get so lost in their books that they forget themselves. But, Dr. Murphy does not. In fact, he keeps an orange, toy scalpel (presented to him by his younger brother) with him at all times to remind himself where he started from and how hard he had to work to get here. Most of what Dr. Murphy knows about life is taught to him by his younger brother; basic interactions and social skills, as well as life lessons that he continuously reminisces about to give himself encouragement. Aside from his commitment as a doctor, Shaun’s backstory also helps him stay anchored to his mission statement: he wants to help save people.
I cannot wait for the next episode. And if you cant either, “The Good Doctor” airs on ABC every Monday night at 10 p.m.