Yet another medical drama has overtaken TV to join Grey’s Anatomy and House in the big leagues. After a long drought of a good new medical, we finally have The Good Doctor. With the former Bates Motel star playing the genius autistic doctor so convincingly, fans are wondering if Freddie Highmore is autistic. Read on for all the details.
|About Freddie Highmore
|Alfred Thomas Highmore
|February 14, 1992 Camden Town, London, United Kingdom
|Edward Highmore, Sue Latimer
|Actor, Producer, Writer
|Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Freddie Highmore’s representation of the autistic Dr. Shaun Murphy is so authentic that it can sometimes confuse fans of The Good Doctor. He plays a resident surgeon at a reputable San Jose hospital on the show.
Here are all the details about the currently most-watched TV show in America.
What Is the Plot of The Good Doctor?
The Good Doctor is based on a medical drama from South Korea of the same name that revolves around a resident doctor. In the U.S. version of the show, the doctor, Shaun Murphy, has autism and savant syndrome. The show grossed a whopping 16.1 million viewers just last week, proving that this medical drama is here to stay!
Those diagnosed with savant syndrome show almost prodigious capabilities. These include encyclopedic memory that is not seen in most people and falls in the autism spectrum.
Dr. Shaun Murphy, in this case, is an autistic savant with a vast knowledge bank and a passion for becoming a successful surgeon. The character was developed by House’s David Shore, who wanted audiences to love the doctor not just because of his disabilities, but because of his willingness to overcome the challenges they bring.
As a character, Shaun is highly intelligent, rarely makes eye contact, is great at what he does, and was hired after the hospital president persisted. In the show’s premiere, Shaun is seen as a medical hero who saved a little boy’s life after noticing something the attending physicians did not.
Shore made it clear that he did not want to make Shaun look emotionless or mindless. People’s perception of autistism is often incorrect, and Shore was determined to change that mindset.
On the show, St. Bonaventure is run by Dr. Aaron Glassman, who was well-known to Shaun since his teens. The hospital’s president secures Shaun a residency, but his attending surgeon, Neil Melendez, is not too pleased with having Shaun on his team.
Shaun Murphy’s disorder allows him to visualize a lot differently than others. How he sees things and can diagnose a patient is almost like working out a math problem in his mind. He is a witty guy, with occasional bursts of humor that will crack you as we learn more to understand his character.
Is Freddie Highmore Really Autistic?
Freddie Highmore revealed how he searched for a realistic approach to understanding Shaun and said, “I think it was important, in building out Sean as a character, to focus on his genuine struggle in having autism and being thrown into this new environment and bringing out his hopeful side—what makes him laugh, tick, etc.”
But the buck does not stop here, and Highmore looked for more research on autism to make his portrayal more authentic. He knew somebody with autism and wanted to do justice to his depiction.
Shaun Murphy has had a difficult childhood with an abusive father and bullies. But he was protected by his brother. Sadly, Shaun witnessed his brother die in a freak accident as a teenager.
As the show builds, we can see a different perspective of how Shaun thinks or behaves in a particular situation. And because of Highmore’s dedication and versatile acting skills, a lot more can come out of the story.
Freddie Highmore did extensive research on autism in preparation for his role on The Good Doctor. He met with people with autism, read books and articles about it, and even watched documentaries about the spectrum disorder.
In 2019, Highmore told the Los Angeles Times that he does not have autism but has researched the issue through speaking with people he knows who have autism and seeing films on the disorder. So, if you were asking yourself if Freddie Highmore has autism, it only means he played the character so well!
You can watch all the episodes of The Good Doctor at ABC.com and stream them on Hulu.