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David Shore took his first crack at a medical procedural with the Fox hit House. And now he’s returning to the subject with ABC’s The Good Doctor, about a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome.
During a panel Sunday for the upcoming series at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, the creator of both shows explained how the dramas — and their respective protagonists, Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) — are actually very different.
In response to a question from a reporter about House possibly being on the spectrum, Shore acknowledged that there was certainly speculation during the show’s run and that the writers didn’t shy away from it. “The characters ultimately couldn’t be more different and yet they’re essentially asking many, many of the same questions,” he said. “They’re asking, ‘Why do we do the things we do?’ Dr. House, whom I love, was asking from somewhat of a cynical, challenging point of view. Dr. Murphy, whom I also love, is asking from a innocent, non-judgmental point of view.”
Shore — who also co-created Sneaky Pete with Bryan Cranston, though he no longer remains involved with the Amazon drama — went on to say that he doesn’t think there’s ever been an autistic character that is the lead of a broadcast show. “He is an atypical doctor, but in a way they’re all atypical doctors. That’s what I really want to get into,” he added. “He’s a catalyst for change within the other doctors, and his different way of looking at the world will inspire them.”
The Good Doctor is based on a South Korean format and follows Dr. Murphy, who is recruited into the pediatric surgical unit of a prestigious hospital. The question it centers on is: Can a person who doesn’t have the ability to relate to people actually save their lives? Former Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim, who serves as an executive producer on the drama, fell in love with the original Korean drama on which the show is based and endeavored to bring it to the U.S.
“The primary thing that made me really want to purse this show and bring it to American audiences is the fact that the character of Shaun is someone who was born with a set of obstacles — the obstacles were not put in his own way by his own choices. And in so many dramas that we see today, we see people getting in their own way. But Shaun is not one of those people,” Kim explained. “Shaun is trying to overcome his challenges in a way that I wholeheartedly root for. And that is a really positive message that I think is particularly resonant given these political times.”
The Good Doctor hails from Shore’s Sony Pictures Television-based Shore Z banner and marked a key sale for independent studio Sony TV, which also has The Goldbergs at ABC. The drama’s cast also includes Richard Schiff, Antonia Thomas, Nicholas Gonzalez, Hill Harper, Irene Keng, Beau Garrett and Chuku Modu.
As for Bates Motel grad Highmore, playing a doctor instead of a murderer is a welcome change for him. “It’s nice to save people after all the years of killing them,” he quipped.
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