ABC’s new show, “The Good Doctor,” has been playing for five weeks now and has already been declared as the Number One Drama on network television. According to vulture.com, “The Good Doctor” is “the most-watched series — new or returning — in the time period since “CSI: Miami” in 2006–07.” Why is this?
“The Good Doctor” depicts the struggles of Shaun Murphy as the first autistic resident surgeon at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Despite his savant knowledge of the human anatomy, his superiors discriminate against him because of his autism and struggles to understand basic communication skills. Both funny and heartfelt, the show is one of the first to accurately depict autism without mocking those on the spectrum.
“It makes me mad,” one viewer said. “He’s so sweet, and they treat him so badly. I wish they’d just treat him like a normal person.”
Dr. Murphy, portrayed by Freddie Highmore, doesn’t see his autism as a disability. He is hyper-aware that he does not perceive the world as the neurotypical characters do, but he doesn’t let that stop him.
“The Good Doctor” allows other autistic people-people like me-to hope that one day, we will be accepted as just as important to society as other people are. In the words of Murphy’s mentor, Dr. Aaron Glassman (played by Richard Schiff):
“Aren’t we judged by how we treat people? I don’t mean as doctors. I mean as people. Especially those who don’t have the same advantages that we have. We hire Shaun and we give hope to those people with limitations that those limitations are not what they think they are. That they do have a shot! We hire Shaun and we make this hospital better for it. We hire Shaun and we are better people for it.”
With an 8.4 on IMDb and a 9.2 on TV.com, “The Good Doctor” has won Americans over. As a viewer and an autistic person, I would highly recommend it to anyone either looking for a new show to watch or trying to understand autistic people better.