Good Doctor EP reflects the milestone of Shaun and Lea – and say goodbye to Claire before season 5 season
The Good Doctor’s bittersweet finale marked the departure of a loved one and a new beginning for practically everyone.
After Claire’s decision to take on a surgical position at a rural hospital in Guatemala (Antonia Thomas’ serial exit was announced on Monday), Lea Shaun proposed marriage – and he said yes!
Elsewhere on the front of the couples: Morgan and Park profess their love; Andrews revealed that his wife Isabel (previously played by Marsha Thomason) had left him for another man; and Mateo (the new rising star Osvaldo Benavides) decided to return to the States to be with Lim … and face a decade-long arrest warrant.
Below, executive producer David Shore weighs the status of The Good Doctor’s many couples, reflects on Claire’s exit storyline (and her possible return), and looks ahead to Season 5.
TVLINE | Before we talk about Shaun and Leaa’s engagement, let’s discuss the tragedy that almost tore them apart. Why did you choose Lea’s miscarriage? Why does this couple share this particular trauma at this point in their relationship?
We were just not sure yet whether we wanted to take the path of parenting. There were things we wanted to explore in their relationship before we started exploring them. The other thing was that for people going through something like this it felt like the right barrier to explore. When something like that happens it’s amazing what you suddenly hear, like this scene [where Nurse Villanueva tells Lea, “It also happened to me”]. And we wanted to dramatize this pain, this particular pain, and not neglect it. Run it over multiple episodes [and see how it impacted this couple]. It’s an unusual bit of grief that people go through.
TVLINE | Why was it important for her to propose marriage to Shaun after seeing Lea mourn several episodes?
One reason she proposed to him was what she saw of him on that episode and how much he supports him. I mean, he is literally waiting with her in the episode [at the hospital]. They sat there all night and slumped the child. And he’s waiting [Lea] be ready [to move forward in their relationship]. It was important that it was on her schedule, not his.
TVLINE | Knowing this would be Antonia Thomas’ final year, did you have a particular path in mind for Claire in season 4?
I went into this season hoping that she would change her mind. [Laughs] That didn’t happen, which wasn’t too surprising. She was very grateful and I know she had a great time on the show. She tells me that she is grateful for the opportunity and that we will miss it. But we’ve been through this character so much, and each time she has grown to take the opportunity. Antonia has been so good and I am really looking forward to watching her with everything she does next.
TVLINE | What about Claire’s exit storyline?
We didn’t want the ending to be another blow [to the character]. I wanted her to run towards something, not away from something. We wanted to find a point of contact for her that suits her.
TVLINE | Did you discuss alternative exit strategies? This season, Claire met her father again. She also thought of a trip to Paris …
We discussed a few things, but we never felt each other [anything else was right]. It’s not like [the trip to Paris] was something we had planned [for her exit]. That would have been their escape. [Accepting the job in Guatemala] I felt like walking towards something … It was the first and only idea I discussed with Antonia and she was very excited.
TVLINE | Antonia said she was “absolutely” open to reviving her role as a guest star. Hope to see Dr. Browne stop by and see how she is doing in Guatemala? Or maybe bring her back to Shaun and Leaa’s wedding?
Yes, we would love to find places to bring them back. She is such a part of this world and always will be a part of this world so it will be nice to see her [Claire]to bring us a story or just to experience the high points of people’s lives.
TVLINE | Among his colleagues, Claire was always the person Shaun asked for advice. Do you see Shaun relying on another colleague to take on this role in her absence? Or do you think he’s got to a point where he doesn’t need that role anymore?
We all need that role to some extent. And Shaun is [less reliant on her], in a way. I think the rest of our characters carry a bit of Claire with them, so I think they all have a bit of that [wisdom] in them now to give what Claire gave in the past. But it would be foolish to design a character who tries to be Claire 2.0.
TVLINE | At one point, Glassman admitted that Shaun needs him less and less these days. How will her momentum develop in Season 5 as Shaun prepares for marriage?
He needs it less, but he needs it differently, more still. Shaun is growing, as are we all. It’s the classic parent-child relationship. As your children grow up, they need you less for many things, but they never completely stop needing you. That is the purpose of the parents: to bring the child to a place where they are independent and can stand on their own two feet. I think Glassman did a wonderful job with it, and Shaun did a wonderful job himself.
TVLINE | Why did Glassman keep his breakup with Debbie a secret from Shaun? I half expected him to say something during her Zoom call.
The simple answer to that question is: Shaun did [embarked on] one of the most important weeks of his life [on this surgical mission], and Glassman doesn’t want to blame him for that. We will certainly have to contend with the aftermath of what happened, but this was not the time.
TVLINE | Andrews’ impending divorce shouldn’t have come as a surprise – we haven’t seen Isabel since season 1 – but it still surprised me. Did a lack of storylines for this relationship influence your decision to end it off-screen?
That’s exactly right, yes.
TVLINE | In the finale, we saw Morgan on a more vulnerable side. She allowed herself to open up to the park and a healthy, engaged relationship. Will we see more of Morgan in this new light in Season 5?
Look, Morgan will always be Morgan. She always will [vulnerable] Side by her side, but we’ve always seen her, and I think Fiona did a great job turning her into a full-dimensional character. [She] don’t want to show her these pages, but they are there. She chooses to emphasize one side, and that side is likely to be more pronounced in her than in many people. [Laughs] But yeah, she’ll likely be a little more wary, especially with Park – and that could prove to be a challenge in that regard.
TVLINE | Similarly, Dr. Lim Mateo about her PTSD. Now that she has faced her trauma, can we expect sunnier days for the chief of surgery – especially now that Mateo follows her back to the States?
I think we can definitely expect a few sunnier days. Of course, these are doctors who deal with death, with challenges in their own lives, and this is not going to stop. But that is certainly a sign that she is on the way to recovery, or at least is learning to deal with it.
TVLINE | Besides his relationship with Lim, what role will Mateo play next season?
I love that he comes from another place, another world and has a different point of view. He’s been through very different things. It’s diverse in many ways, and that excites me. The writers’ room is just getting started, and we’re going to explore that.
TVLINE | And will he work at St. Bonaventure?
I think that’s safe to assume, yes.
TVLINE | How we get weed with its legal problems? Will these be explained in a few sentences or will this be an ongoing act?
Probably more the latter than the former.
TVLINE | In every season Shaun has embarked on a new journey, so to speak – whether he has his first romantic relationship in season 3 or takes on more responsibility as a senior resident in season 4. What journey will he take in season in? 5?
We are exploring different ways of adopting the themes [of Season 4] and to take them to an even higher level that is monitoring [interns]but also his professional independence. He’s now reaching the end of his residency, so what does that mean? So far he has been in a safe place to a certain extent. In the beginning it was certainly not safe, but we want to mess things up a little and make security less safe for him and see how he feels up to this situation, because he will no longer be an assistant doctor anytime soon. And personally we wanted to go further, that’s the commitment.