'The Good Doctor' Freddie Highmore on Portraying Autism, Fighting Critics, and Luck

After only 2 episodes of The Good Doctor, ABC picked up an entire season. The show was officially a hit. And now six episodes in, fans are all in.

The show stars Freddie Highmore, who landed the literally three days after he finished Bates Motel. From a hit show to another hit show? Yeah, Freddie’s a pretty lucky dude and he knows it. While on the press tour, he said,

“It was a pretty quick turnaround. I guess I couldn’t be luckier to finish a run with one amazing character, to start with another so quickly afterward.”

The Good Doctor‘s main hook is a savant doctor who happens to have autism. Honestly, if you replace the autism with arrogance, it’s basically House (no coincidence that David Shore created them both). But obviously, autism is a much more sensitive topic and must be handled with care. Highmore says he did his best to prepare, as did the cast and crew, so he could accurately portray the illness. He told the NY Post,

“I did research and watched documentaries [on autism] and we have a full-time consultant on-board.”

And now, a few episodes in, critics and fans alike are starting to wonder just how accurate Freddie’s portrayal is. But the truth is that accuracy will always be an issue as autism doesn’t affect everyone the same way. As Highmore told EW back in September,

“It’s an impossible task and somewhat ignorant to try and claim that we’re going to be representing, through one singular individual, all people who are on the spectrum and tell everyone’s stories.”

And as the show continues, autism will only become a part of the story.

“I’m building him as an individual — he’s only defined in part by his autism. It’s a big story worth telling beyond the personal satisfaction [in playing the role]. I think it’s more than that — I think it’s because Shaun isn’t a stereotypical person with autism. He’s not emotionless, and I think that’s how people with autism have unfortunately been portrayed at times.”

The Good Doctor airs Mondays at 10 PM on ABC.

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.