The good doctorThe bitter-final finale marked the departure of a favorite character and a new beginning for virtually everyone.
Following in the footsteps of Claire’s decision to have a surgical position at a rural hospital in Guatemala (Antonia Thomas’ series was unveiled before airing on Monday), Leah proposed to Sean – and he said yes!
Elsewhere in front of the couples: Morgan and Park professed their love for each other; Andrews revealed that his wife Isabel (formerly played by Marsha Thomason) had left him for another man; and Matteo (the newly-popularized regular series Osvaldo Benavides) decides to return to the United States to be with Lim … and to face a ten-year arrest warrant.
Below, executive producer David Shore assesses the status of The good doctoris a lot of couples, pondering Claire̵
TVLINE | Before we discuss Sean and Lea’s engagement, let’s discuss the tragedy that nearly tore them apart. Why did you decide to have a miscarriage? Why is this couple sharing this particular trauma at this point in their relationship?
We just weren’t sure yet that we wanted to go the way of parenthood. There were things we wanted to explore in their relationship before we started researching this. The other thing was that for people going through things like that, it felt like the right barrier to exploring. When something like this happens, it’s amazing what you hear all of a sudden, like this scene [where Nurse Villanueva tells Lea, “It also happened to me”]. And we wanted to dramatize this pain, this particular pain, not change it briefly. Spend it in several episodes [and see how it impacted this couple]. This is an unusual mourning that people go through.
TVLINE | After watching Lea grieve over multiple episodes, why was it important for her to propose marriage to Sean?
Part of the reason she offered him was because of what she saw from him in that episode, and how much he supported him. I mean, literally within the episode he’s waiting with her [at the hospital]. They sat and bagged this child all night. And he’s waiting [Lea] to be ready [to move forward in their relationship]. It was important to be involved her schedule, not his.
TVLINE | Knowing that this would be Antonia Thomas’s last year, did you enter season 4 with a special trip for Claire?
I entered this season hoping she would change her mind.[[[[Laughing]This did not happen, which was not too surprising. She was very grateful and I know she had a great time on the show. She tells me she is grateful for the opportunity and we will miss her. But we spent so much time with this character, and she got up every time. Antonia was so good and I look forward to seeing her in everything she does next.
TVLINE | What about the plot of Claire’s release?
We didn’t want the end to be another blow [to the character]. I wanted to run to something, no far away from something. We wanted to find a place for her that felt great for her.
TVLINE | Have you discussed any alternative exit strategies? This season he saw Claire reconnect with her father. She was also considering a trip to Paris …
We discussed some things, but never felt it [anything else was right]. It’s not like [the trip to Paris] it was something we planned to do [for her exit]. This would be her escape. [Accepting the job in Guatemala] I felt like I was running towards something … This was the first and only idea I discussed with Antonia and she was very excited about it.
TVLINE | Antonia said she would be “absolutely” open to repeating her role as a guest star. Do you hope to be able to register with Dr. Brown for a season or two and see how he’s doing in Guatemala? Or maybe bring her back for Sean and Leah’s wedding?
Yes, we would like to find places to return it. She is such a part of this world and will always be a part of this world, so it will be wonderful to see [Claire]to bring us history or just to get into the most important moments of people’s lives.
TVLINE | Among his peers, Claire has always been the man Sean turns to for advice. In her absence, do you see Sean relying on another colleague to fulfill this role? Or do you think he has reached a point where he no longer needs this role?
We all need this role to some extent. And Sean is [less reliant on her], to somewhere. I think the rest of our characters carry a little Claire with them, so I think they all have a little bit of that. [wisdom] in them now to give what Claire had given in the past. But it would be foolish to try to design a character to try to be Claire 2.0.
TVLINE | At one point, Glassman admitted that Sean needed him less and less these days. How will their dynamics develop in season 5 as Sean prepares to get married?
He needs it less, but he needs it in a different way, more. Sean grows like all of us. This is the classic parent / child relationship. As your children grow, they need you less for many things, but they never stop needing you completely. This is the parent’s goal: to bring the child to a place where he is independent and can stand on his feet. I think Glassman did a great job in that regard, and Sean did a great job himself.
TVLINE | Why is Glassman keeping his breakup with Debbie a secret from Sean? I expected him to say something during their call to Zoom.
The simple answer to this question is that Sean has [embarked on] one of the most important weeks of his life [on this surgical mission]and Glassman doesn’t want to throw that at him. We will certainly have to deal with the consequences of what happened, but it was not the time to do so.
TVLINE | Andrews’ impending divorce should come as no surprise – we haven’t seen Isabel since season 1 – but I was caught unprepared. Did the lack of storylines for this relationship affect your decision to end it off-screen?
That’s right, yes.
TVLINE | In the finale, we witnessed Morgan’s more vulnerable side. Allow yourself to open up to Park and to a healthy, dedicated relationship. Will we see more of Morgan in this new light in season 5?
Look, Morgan will always be Morgan. She will always have it [vulnerable] side next to her, but we’ve always watched her, and I think Fiona did a great job of making her a fully measured character. [She] he doesn’t want to show her these countries, but they are there. She chooses to emphasize one side, and that side is probably more noticeable to her than to many people.[[[[Laughing]But yes, it will probably leave her to guard for a little longer, especially with Park – and that can be a challenge in that regard.
TVLINE | In the same way, Dr. Lim turned to Mateo for her PTSD. After facing her trauma, can we expect sunnier days for the head of surgery – especially now that Mateo is following her back to the United States?
I think we can expect some sunnier days, absolutely. Of course, these are doctors who deal with death, deal with the challenges of their own lives, and that will not stop. But this is certainly a sign that she is on the road to recovery or at least learning to cope.
TVLINE | Aside from his relationship with Lim, what role will Matteo play next season?
I love that he comes from another place, from a different world and has a different point of view. He has experienced many different things. It is diverse in many ways and that is what excites me. The writers’ room is just beginning, and we’ll explore that.
TVLINE | And he will work in St. Bonaventure?
I think it’s safe to assume yes.
TVLINE | How will we get into the weeds with his legal problems? Will they be explained in a few sentences or will this be an ongoing storyline?
Probably more of the latter than the former.
TVLINE | Each season he saw Sean embark on a new journey, so to speak, whether he orientated himself in his first romantic relationship in Season 3, or took on more responsibility as a senior in Season 4. What path will he take in Season? 5?
We explore different ways to take the topics [of Season 4] and take them to an even higher level, which is supervision [interns], but also his professional independence. Now he is reaching the end of his stay, so what does that mean? So far, it has been in a safe place to some extent. It certainly wasn’t safe in the beginning, but we want to mix things up a bit and make things less safe for him and see how he rises to this occasion, because he won’t be a resident any time soon. And from a personal point of view, we wanted to go even further, so that’s the commitment.