All good dramas have a struggle between a protagonist and an adversary at the center of them. The Good Doctor follows this model, but in its own way. The series opened with Dr. Shaun Murphy, intricately played by Freddie Highmore, being questioned by the board of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital as to why him being autistic and having savant syndrome shouldn’t deter them from making him a surgical resident.
Spoiler alert in case you have never seen the show before: Shaun is very persuasive and determined, so they hire him. Despite this victory, Shaun’s abilities are continuously questioned by his co-workers, members of the Board, and society. But clearly the writers didn’t think Shaun had enough people against him. So, in season 2 they added Dr. Jackson Han (Daniel Dae Kim, who also serves as executive producer). By the end of the season, Han has left the hospital but his actions and opinions could prove to have lasting effects. But does that mean Dr. Han has left The Good Doctor... for good?
Unfortunately for fans of Kim and his character, Dr. Han isn’t going to keep serving as a thorn in Shaun's side. When asked about Dr. Han’s fate after the season 2 finale aired in March, executive producer and showrunner David Shore told Entertainment Weekly it’s possible Dr. Han could be back, but that he's very much finished for now.
“I liked the character and had fun with it, and I thought Daniel did a great job,” Shore said. “The arc that we were dealing with is now complete, but that doesn’t mean the character can’t come back, and I very much would be open to that.” There is the consolation prize that is Kim's role as an executive producer; he is still involved with the show. We’ll just have to settle with him working strictly behind the scenes for now.
Dr. Han only appeared in four episodes last season, but he definitely caused quite a storm at the hospital. After learning Shaun told a mother that she was possibly responsible for her child having birth defects, Dr. Han decided Shaun should not interact with patients and transferred him to pathology. Shaun's subsequent emotional outburst lead to Dr. Han firing him.
If you recall, though, Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper) overruled Dr. Han, fired him, and rehired Shaun. Dr. Han is a uniquely written antagonist because he actually makes Shaun’s other opponents defend the surgical resident. Kim’s character is hard to like because he doubts and underestimates Shaun, but at the same time, his concerns are valid. Shaun does struggle to connect with patients and Dr. Han’s removal isn’t going to change that. The fired physician acts as a realistic but unfornature representation of a society that doesn’t believe Shaun is capable of being a surgical resident.
One of Shaun’s challengers might be gone for good, but Dr. Han’s concerns linger. In the trailer for The Good Doctor season 3 , it is highly suggested that Shaun’s position at the hospital will be questioned again. Lim (Christina Chang) reminds Shaun that he “has to be twice as good as everybody else.” At the end of the clip, a woman threatens to report Shaun to the Medical Board. It seems as though Dr. Han’s worries and the idea that people outside of the hospital will be less understanding of Shaun’s methods will continue to be an issue in the new season — with or without Dr. Han.
There are bound to be more naysayers ahead, but this season will have more people on Shaun’s side and a possible new love interest. We think Dr. Murphy will be just fine, but we won’t know for sure until The Good Doctor returns on September 23.