My name is Melissa Reiner, and I am the Autism Consultant on ABC’s show, The Good Doctor. I work with the writers and producers to help ensure that the role of Dr. Shaun Murphy, as well as all of the other characters who may interact with him, is portrayed with a level of authenticity and specificity. Having a diagnosis of autism is one aspect of who this individual is, but it is imperative that we are also able to fully reveal who this impressive young man is, as a doctor and as a person first. The notes that I contribute often shape the way a scene is written, and in some instances, the way a scene is rewritten. The integrity of the show is paramount, and I am honoured to be involved in such an important show. Here are a few examples of how my input affected change in certain scenes from each episode in Season 2 of The Good Doctor.
Lea finally has had it with Shaun pointing out everything she does that he doesn’t like. Shaun becomes visibly upset at this. He has become stuck in what we call “static thinking.” When the world feels overwhelming, we revert to a static system— something that is predictable and something that we can control. Shaun’s static system is becoming disrupted, and in this scene, we find that their relationship is suddenly at risk because of it.