Why The Good Doctor Fans Shouldn't Expect Resolutions From Last Season Early In Season 4

the good doctor season 3 finale freddie highmore shaun murphy abc
(Image credit: ABC)

The Good Doctor ended the third season on some extreme highs and extreme lows with the two-part finale that delivered a big death and a big step forward in a relationship. Dr. Melendez died from the injuries he sustained during the earthquake, while Shaun escaped what had seemed like certain death to get a big kiss from Lea. Any fans who have spent the last seven months waiting to see the aftermath should prepare for Season 4 to start without giving much in the way of resolutions early on, according to executive producer David Shore.

Like other medical dramas that are returning to TV this fall, The Good Doctor will address the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive producer David Shore explained to TV Insider why the pandemic will get the early focus in Season 4:

The very dramatic things and big questions about where we're going to go from here got eclipsed by the real world. [First a two-parter] taking place over the days, weeks and months that we’ve all been dealing with this and portraying how everything changed [will air].

The Good Doctor stands as one of the relatively few broadcast network shows that actually managed to end the 2019-2020 TV season as intended, as production on the final episodes was completed before the shutdowns throughout the entertainment industry. Fortunately for the show (and fans), Season 3 didn't end on a crazy cliffhanger that absolutely needs to be resolved in the first few minutes of the Season 4 premiere.

Starting Season 4 with a two-parter to tackle what happened in the real world doesn't mean that The Good Doctor won't move forward on the aftermath of Melendez's death, and the trailer reveals that Shaun and Lea's relationship will be addressed early on. They really came together after three complicated seasons, only for the pandemic to pull them apart! The Good Doctor star Freddie Highmore explained the goal with focusing on the pandemic early in the new season, saying:

We'll do our best to pay tribute to our real heroes by reflecting their experiences as best we can.

If the show can pull in the same kind of ratings with the Season 4 premiere that it did with the Season 3 finale, then plenty of people will see The Good Doctor paying tribute to the real-life heroes battling the pandemic. That said, the show will move into a status quo as the season progresses.

As a fourth-year resident, Shaun will have to become a mentor to first-year applicants, which would have been all but inconceivable early in the series. Thanks to help from his friends (including Carly, who won't be around in Season 4), he could be a valuable resource to young doctors looking to improve in the medical field.

As for Claire and Dr. Lim, their shared loss of Dr. Melendez will actually bring them closer, even though Lim actually had a relationship with Melendez and Claire was only getting close by the time of his death. They could be a formidable team to the patients of St. Bonaventure, both battling COVID in the early days and when things get back to relative business as usual.

Fortunately, the long wait for The Good Doctor to return is almost at an end. Season 4 premieres on Monday, November 2 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, beating some of the other biggest medical dramas back to primetime. Chicago Med returns on November 11, and Grey's Anatomy will be back on November 12. For more debut dates in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).