The Good Doctor season four spoilers follow.
The Good Doctor star Freddie Highmore has said that season four of the ABC medical drama will bring big challenges for his character, Dr Shaun Murphy.
The actor told ET that Shaun and his girlfriend Lea Dilallo (Paige Spara) will face some major hurdles in their relationship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the show has written into its storylines for the new season.
Season four's opening episodes have shown the staff at San Jose St Bonaventure Hospital trying to deal with the upheaval that the pandemic has brought them. Shaun was shown to be very concerned about Lea's health and safety in the season four premiere after he treated a coronavirus patient.
"That's definitely a challenge for Shaun and Lea at the beginning of season 4," Highmore said. "Now that they've just about figured out that the two of them want to give their relationship a go and move it past the early stage of a relationship into something a little bit more mature, there's a much bigger obstacle that comes up and is put in their way.
"It will be challenging for them as they try to embark on a relationship amidst a pandemic. But that's something that everyone has been dealing with and feels very relatable, whether it's a romantic relationship as it is with Shaun and Lea at this moment in time, or whether it's those platonic relationships and close friendships and how we've all been reevaluating them.
"And I think also reevaluating the people we choose to spend time with now that we have a forcibly close group of people. I think all of the doctors on the show are thinking, 'Well, who is it that I want to spend my time with? Is it worth including this person in my bubble or not?'"
Highmore, who also produces the show, added that it felt "important" to pay tribute to real-life healthcare workers who have been responding to the pandemic, saying that the producers and writers have tried to highlight moments of hope.
"Even in those first two episodes, it's also about finding hope and looking towards a future where we can get back to," he said. "It won't ever get back to normal, but get back to some sense of normal.
"That's been important for us too, to continue to find those little helpful moments in life even amongst dark times that the show has always been very good at doing."
Season four's premiere episodes also provided a big surprise for viewers, as Dr Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) made a reappearance on the show, despite the fact that Neil sadly died at the end of season three.
Highmore teased that there could still be more to come from Neil, saying that the show "will be dealing with the aftermath of his death" and that "his presence is certainly still going to be around for a little bit longer".
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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