When The Good Doctor returns Monday, Shaun's (Freddie Highmore) job will be in jeopardy after admitting to Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper) that he made a potentially fatal mistake during a surgery. That's only the beginning of the drama on the second season of last year's highest-rated new drama, though.
Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) will be taking a leave of absence from the hospital to begin radiation treatment for his brain tumor, which Good Doctor showrunner David Shore teases will be front and center in the show's sophomore season. There will also be some tearful exits from the show, returns for fan favorite characters and the introduction of Lisa Edelstein as Glassman's oncologist, Dr. Blaize.
TV Guide talked to Shore about all of the upcoming developments and allowing Highmore to write the premiere episode. Keep reading to see what he had to say.
Freddie Highmore wrote the premiere. How did that come to be?
David Shore: He came to me in the first season even before he started and said he was interested in doing this sort of thing. Then we talked about it during the first season and then ... during the hiatus when the writers room was getting back together, he joined us for a while. We sat there and we collectively talked about what the first story should be and worked it out a fair bit and then he went off and worked on it. Then he and I worked on it together a little bit to get ready. He did a great job.
How soon after the Season 1 finale are we picking up with this first episode?
Shore: Basically right away... I thought what we set up at the end of last season — I didn't want to jump forward. I wanted to follow up on that. I wanted to see the fallout of where we left it at the end of last season. Both professionally, the changing of the guard in the hospital and how that impacts all our people, and probably more importantly personally, Glassman's diagnosis and how that's going to impact on Glassman and on Shaun.
We know that Jared is going to be leaving this season, but he's all over the Season 2 premiere trailer, so what can we expect from that goodbye?
Shore: We wanted to give him a good send off. We knew he was leaving but we didn't want to do it at the end of last season because I thought we had a tremendous story to end it on with Dr. Glassman getting the diagnosis he does, the impact that has on Shaun and the fallout from all of that. I didn't want to throw [Jared's goodbye] into the middle of that and muddy [Glassman's storyline] up...[Jared]'s been great. Chuku is tremendous, great person and I really love the story and I really love the moments between him and Dr. Murphy as we say goodbye to him.
Jared is leaving, but we also know that we should expect to see Lea back. How long do we have to wait before that happens?
Shore: We don't have to wait very long... I saw a screening the other day and the room kind of exploded when she appeared on screen. I think they knew she was coming back, but were surprised when it happened, and so I want to keep the surprise a little bit, but you know, it's OK to mention it, but you don't have to wait long.
Another highly anticipated arrival this season is Lisa Edelstein as Dr. Blaize. People are obviously familiar with her as Dr. Cuddy. How is this character going to be different from Cuddy?
Shore: What I love about Lisa is she's capable of going toe-to-toe with excellent actors, and Richard is certainly that. Dr. Glassman is a force and we wanted a good strong actor to be able to stand up to him, and we have a little fun with that and I think it challenges Dr. Glassman but it also is very entertaining.
The great thing about second seasons is that you did all the work in Season 1 of building this world. How are you going to challenge these characters in the second season?
Shore: It's two steps forward, one step back. I mean, I think we want to continue to deal with Shaun's strengths and his weaknesses. That has been our intention from the beginning. Like all of us, he has strengths and he has weaknesses and I don't want to turn him into this guy that just everything works out for. I don't want to turn him into somebody that everybody accepts. I think one of the challenges that people with Autism face is the judgments around them and I want to continue to deal with that and I want to continue to deal and focus more on his challenges, his difficulty communicating, his difficulties in reading people. How that impacts him and how he can potentially rise above it and where he can and where he can't or where he succeeds and where he fails and then tries again.
The other aspect of this is ... Dr. Glassman's illness. We want to take that through honestly and we want to deal with what it's like to be a patient. We're dealing with doctors. They deal with patients, but I really want to explore the patient experience, particularly somebody we care about. And I think a key component of that is, I think we're doing a bit of reversal as we go along this season in the Glassman-Murphy relationship, where Shaun is going to be challenged to be a caregiver to some extent to Dr. Glassman.
The Good Doctor Season 2 premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 10/9c on ABC.