Why The Good Doctor Decided To Kill Off That Character

The Good Doctor Shaun Murphy ABC

Spoilers for Part 2 of The Good Doctor’s Season 4 premiere are discussed below.

The Good Doctor moved into the second half of its two-part Season 4 premiere by not pulling any punches. Not too long after Dr. Melendez died in last season’s finale, the medical drama killed off yet another character. Thus, begging the million-dollar question – why? Executive producer David Shore has the answer.

Since returning, The Good Doctor has acknowledged the real-world fight around COVID-19. In doing so, the show lost one of its own as it killed off Nurse Deena Petringa. The character was a casualty of the coronavirus in the second half of the Season 4 premiere two-parter. In the first half, The Good Doctor had set the stage for tackling the subject. As for why the show decided to kill her off in the first place, executive producer David Shore told TVLine:

It was important to us to show lives lost [during the pandemic]. Look, doctors are heroes. Everybody who works in a hospital is a hero, for crying out loud. We owe them a debt that much more during this time because they are literally risking their lives, every single one of them. And, you know, when you’re doing a dramatic show, if somebody’s risking their life, somebody’s got to pay a price. We wanted to embrace that.

In short, killing off Nurse Petringa was fueled by The Good Doctor feeling it would be disingenuous to not have someone die while depicting the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the question is if she will come back as a vision akin to what Dr. Melendez has done for Claire in Season 4? Fans of The Good Doctor will have to watch and see. My guess is no.

Now that the show has lost a character to COVID-19, will it also say goodbye to Dr. Melendez for good? Whatever happens, The Good Doctor undoubtedly felt the cost of the coronavirus by losing one of its own in the battle. David Shore went on to confirm that focus would shift away from the pandemic without ignoring it altogether.

It is undoubtedly a landmark time for the film and TV industry. Television is continuing to sort through how to address the coronavirus on-screen while working overtime to guarantee the safety of its cast and crew off-screen. The Good Doctor joins fellow ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in incorporating the coronavirus into its storytelling. Grey’s Anatomy has already shown the first look at its hospital, Grey Sloan, confronting the pandemic.

The Good Doctor’s stance comes after NBC’s New Amsterdam opted out of airing an episode coincidentally centered on a flu epidemic in the spring. Upon realizing that it hit too close to home too soon after the pandemic had begun, the episode was scrapped. How it and others would proceed had been a topic of conversation. Whatever happens, fans will be holding on to see how their favorite medical show deals with it.

In some uplifting news, at least The Good Doctor is giving Shaun and Lea something to celebrate on the relationship front. Stay tuned to find out what happens with the rest of the cast. The Good Doctor will continue Season 4 with new episodes airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. In case you need more medical TV-related drama, the medical show will be joined by a lot more premieres this fall.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.