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    Dr. Shaun Murphy 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/img_0216.PNG
Played by: Freddie Highmore, Graham Verchere (young)

A young autistic doctor who joins the residency program at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, but not without resistance. Whilst some doctors see him as having deficits, others see him as remarkably gifted.


  • Broken Ace: During the quarantine, he suffers from a huge amount of sensory overload and his visualization ability does not work correctly.
  • Brutal Honesty: Shaun's idea of small talk over the operating table is "You're very arrogant... does it hurt you as a person?"
  • Covert Pervert: He pipes up that some porn pieces do have good stories when Jared wonders about it, plus he used to read porn magazines with his brother when he was younger. Jared's shocked, but as Claire points out, just because Shaun's autistic doesn't mean he lacks a sex drive.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Suffered physical and emotional abuse from his dad who killed his pet rabbit in a fit of anger, and witnessed his brother die.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite his autism, he tries to rush a security guard (twice!) to save a child's life. That takes balls anyway, and a lot of overcoming of social perceptions for Shaun.
  • Humble Hero: Despite being a medical genius and saving several lives (either personally, or by suggesting a diagnosis and/or treatment that nobody else would have thought of), it never occurs to Shaun that he should take credit for his accomplishments. After Jared claims credit for one of Shaun's ideas, Shaun even asks Glassman why it matters.
  • The Intern: Even though he's one of the most talented surgical residents, he's given all the scut by Melendez, probably as a double whammy: be mean to Shaun and keep him away from patients (Melendez believes he's too socially blind to do good work at all).
  • Lack of Empathy: Not in a psychopathic way; in fact, quite the contrary. Shaun's more concerned with saving lives, not protecting feelings, and has trouble understanding why it's even necessary to take the feelings of others into consideration. Jumping the gun and giving false hope, for example, is something he has no problem doing since it might save a life, regardless of how much more painful it would be for those involved and ultimately is.
  • Like a Son to Me: Shaun is this to Glassman, which Jessica subtly points out to Glassman, implying that Glassman mentoring Shaun is his way of becoming the good father he wishes he had been to his own daughter Maddie, who tragically died.
  • No Social Skills: He isn't completely lacking, but finds it hard to empathize, which is especially key in surgical social interactions.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Thanks Melendez for a snippy comment about him being a good hire, etc.
  • Spock Speak: Vocabulary-wise, Shaun has trouble with colloquialisms and isn't very emotive.
  • Super Senses: Part of Shaun's Disability Superpower is enhanced perception, like noticing a millisecond of altered heart activity that monitors didn't pick up. Also provides him with:
    • Hyper-Awareness: As seen at the airport, Shaun picks up on the sound of something and his eyes dart to it, flitting all around the airport as he is trying to look at everything.
    • Photographic Memory: Can seemingly recall every page of his medical textbooks by image, with his brain automatically conjuring the appropriate parts for the situation.
    • Vein-o-Vision: Of a variant — because he can visualize the veins so well and has almost microscopic enabled perception, he can map a patient's system and pick out the best vein/artery to use with just a glance.
  • Tastes Like Purple: He has synesthesia, with the title of the first episode taken from his speech about why the board should let him remain at the hospital. "On the night that the rain smelled like burnt toast, my bunny went to Heaven."
  • Terse Talker: Sometimes will only provide forceful assertions without explanation, speaking imperatively, then stopping as fast as he started.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He loves pancakes.
  • Twofer Token Minority: He has autism and is Caucasian (compared to the Ambiguously Brown-ness of all the other surgeons).
  • The Un-Favourite: Of Melendez's residents.
  • Verbal Tic: He has a sing-song cadence when he speaks and uses inflections and meter that sound odd to many English speakers.

    Dr. Neil Melendez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/melendez.jpg
Played by: Nicholas Gonzalez

An attending surgeon at St. Bonaventure who gets his ego bruised early on when Shaun spots something he doesn't and saves the patient's life.


  • Character Development: He grows to not hate Shaun.
    • Overcomes his initial bias against Shaun for being autistic and comes around to (at the very least) respecting Shaun's judgment as a gifted individual, and even wanting his input (e.g. in "Intangibles") once Shaun proves himself.
    • Defends Shaun's capacity to properly treat his comatose gunshot-wound patient against the objections of the patient's date.
  • Dr. Jerk: His initial role as the antagonist. He's very good, but is full of himself. Not only is he not very friendly, he's also deliberately mean.
  • Evil Is Petty: His pettiness knows no bounds, going out of his way to give unpleasant work to people who do things he doesn't like, even if these actions have no effect on him and the person is warm towards him — like with Claire just for being friendly to Shaun.
  • Failed a Spot Check: He can't work out what background condition could be making a patient's BP very gradually drop, even though there was glass in his body and it wouldn't be ridiculous for some to be stuck near the heart. Shaun picks up on a tiny arrhythmia that lets Claire reach this conclusion.
  • Jerkass: Tries to argue with Shaun about being five minutes late because of a slow bus, which is a pedantic argument in the first place and seems to just be an excuse to pick on Shaun. He really becomes a jerk when he phrases it like Shaun being late is killing patients, and using language attacking his autism, clearly wanting to hurt him. However...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He seems to be getting better. By episode 6, he seems to be taking Shaun's opinions VERY seriously and saying he has good ideas. Although this could just be recognizing genuine talent after finally coming to trust him, rather than being a Nice Guy underneath, he still doesn't play nice and may still have jerk tendencies.
    • In Episode 8, he sticks up for Shaun when the date of a gunshot victim who was shot partly because of Shaun's reaction to the gunman objects to him treating her, saying, "And you don't know him like I do." And, unlike an earlier episode, this time around he wasn't under pressure from Glassman to defend Shaun against the prejudice of the victim's relatives/friends. He did it on his own accord.
      • Although Melendez still did this only when Shaun wasn't in the room to hear him defend him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Habitually being late to work is frowned on in most professions, and most professions don't have people's lives on the line.
    • He's not wrong about it being irresponsible to give false hope to people by saying that the chronic health conditions in their loved ones can be cured before all the proper tests have been completed and evaluated.
  • Pet the Dog: When Shaun realizes that he was wrong about why his gunshot wound patient's blood pressure was dropping and admits that Kalu was right, Melendez doesn't rub it in and simply says that what matters is that Shaun did (eventually) figure out the right answer and revised his recommended treatment.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He may be curt and bluntly dismissive, but when someone (usually Shaun) suggests an out-of-the-box or difficult solution to a seemingly impossible-to-solve problem, he usually lets them make their case and is willing to try it if there are no viable alternatives.
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    Dr. Claire Browne 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/claire_9.jpg
Played by: Antonia Thomas

Another young resident of St. Bonaventure. She quickly forms a bond with Shaun and vouches for him frequently.


  • Friends with Benefits: With Kalu.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Her face says it all when she learns that she accidentally killed a patient in "Not Fake."
  • Nice Girl: She is perpetually friendly and well-mannered to everyone; she is initially rude to Shaun when he shows up, but as a child's life was in danger and she was under stress, it's an understandable exception. Later on, she puts more effort in getting to know and understand him, and stands up for him frequently to Melendez and Kalu.
  • Number Two: She's Melendez's favorite resident, and he doesn't mind showing it. He also doesn't mind showing when her standing in his estimation fluctuates.
  • Stepford Smiler: Claire's reaction to making a mistake that kills a patient is to smile, coop it up, and pretend it never happened. This explicitly worries Glassman, who recommends her to a therapist, who then tells her that it's very unhealthy behavior.

    Dr. Alex Park 
Played by Will Yun Lee

A much older student who was formerly a cop. He is often cynical and can tell when people are lying.


  • Chekhov's Skill: His experience as a cop is sometimes useful, such as when he immediately noticed that a patient's ID was fake.
  • Luxurious Liquor: He prefers to bet with expensive booze instead of money.
  • Papa Wolf: He steals a stun stick from a security guard and breaks in to the quarantine area to save his son, who is having an asthma attack.
  • Younger Mentor, Older Disciple: He is older than Melendez.

    Dr. Aaron Glassman 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/glassman.jpg
Played by: Richard Schiff

The former President of St. Bonaventure who brings Shaun in to be a surgical resident there. He has known and mentored Shaun since he was 14, helping him find a stable life and purpose.


  • Dead Person Conversation: After his brain surgery, he begins seeing and speaking to his dead daughter.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: During high school, when people would make nicknames based on the first letter of their first name and anything close to their last name, he got stuck with the reverse, giving him the nickname "Glaaron Assman."
  • Good Is Not Soft: According to Aoki, he is never a pushover and will always fight to get his way.
  • The Mentor: To Shaun. Unusual in that this relationship was established prior to Shaun starting work.
  • Nice Guy: Glassman is generally a kind and sweet man.
  • Parental Substitute: To Shaun. Jessica even implies this.
  • Pride: His Fatal Flaw. He never wants to appear weak, to the point that he pushes others away after his surgery.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Lea in "Quarantine Part Two".
    Glassman: You whisk him away on a road trip, kiss him, and then leave town. Now you pop back into his life, move in with him. Shaun's not some hamster you get to play with and then not think twice about it when you forget to feed him. You're gonna hurt him again. You know that.

    Dr. Marcus Andrews 
Played by: Hill Harper

The Chief of Surgery at St. Jose St. Bonaventure. He becomes the President in Season 2 after Glassman steps down.


  • The Ace: Is the chief surgeon of the hospital and a very good plastic surgeon.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretends to support Shaun, but only in order to give him more responsibility in the hope that he messes up.
  • Break the Haughty: Goes through a mild case of this in Season 2. He dangles his old position of Chief of Surgery in front of Melendez and Lim only to then keep it for himself, only to later be forced to relinquish it to Han after the quarantine. In the Season 2 finale, he clearly sets aside his ego as he recalls Steve's long-ago words and, along with Glassman, sticks up for Shaun, a man he was initially opposed to.
  • Dr. Jerk: Initially goes out of his way to push Shaun into a position of responsibility for the sole purpose of making it more noticeable when he messes up and overreacts to Claire following his instructions to be more assertive.
  • Hypocrite: Tells Claire to be more assertive, then overreacts when she speaks out against his work hours policy, even though she did it in a calm and respectful way.
  • It's All About Me: In Season 2, he implies to Melendez and Lim that he's going to pick one of them to be the new Chief of Surgery, then he decides to keep the position for himself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a jerk mostly towards Shaun and Glassman, but is kind to his patients and genuinely cares about them. The "heart of gold" part becomes more apparent as time goes on, before coming out full-force in the Season 2 finale when he fires Han for wrongly firing Shaun.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Keeping the Chief of Surgery position for himself comes back to bite him after the quarantine when he's clearly forced to relinquish it to Dr. Jackson Han.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: He and his wife have trouble conceiving due to his low sperm count.
  • Pet the Dog: He gets a few moments of this with Shaun, the biggest examples being when he tells Shaun in the Season 2 premiere that he (Shaun) exceeded his expectations of him and in the Season 2 finale when he sticks up for Shaun against Han.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He seems to be better after becoming president, telling Shaun to communicate better, Claire to be more assertive, and Morgan to be more of a team player.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Usually wears a nice suit when he's not operating.

    Dr. Jared Kalu 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jared_3.jpg
Played by: Chuku Modu

A resident that doesn't seem to get in anybody's way, but will do anything to be the most successful surgeon — even if it's unethical.


  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He appears unassuming, but he can and will take advantage of others if they let him.
  • Character Development: Like Melendez, Jared becomes a good friend of Shaun's and even offers to take the fall for a mistake Shaun made.
  • Friends with Benefits: With Claire.
  • Jerkass: He isn't outwardly jerkish, but he does a lot of unsavory stuff, like stealing credit for a treatment option that Shaun came up with.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Claire confronts him over stealing Shaun's idea, Jared asks her why she didn't immediately tell Melendez.
    Jared: Is that fair? My idea if it fails, but Shaun's if it succeeds?
  • Lonely Rich Kid: His childhood.
  • Nice Guy: To his patients, even when they lash out at him for trying to treat them. He probably has the best bedside manner of all the doctor characters and he genuinely cares about his patients' welfare.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Kalu didn't have to expend the effort to become a doctor given that he is technically already rich from his family's wealth. He says to one of his patients that he did it to become his own man and make something of himself. It's clear that money (whether having a shortage of it, or a surplus of it) is not what motivated him to become a doctor.
  • Parental Abandonment: When Kalu came home from boarding school, he found that his parents had moved house when a stranger answered the door to the family home.
  • Put on a Bus: Moves to Denver at the beginning of season 2.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He gets his burn victim patient into an experimental trial program being conducted at another hospital in San Diego, that treats burns with grafts of tilapia skin in order to improve the healing process and reduce scarring, by making a generous donation to said hospital from his own family's foundation.
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    Lea Dilallo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/img_0262.JPG
Played by: Paige Spara

Shaun's neighbor, with whom he forms a burgeoning friendship and possible romance.


  • Gamer Chick: She's introduced coming over to Shaun's apartment to borrow batteries for her game controller (and later dialogue from Shaun implies that she has done so again since). She apparently likes the Uncharted series.
  • Nice Girl: She rolls with Shaun's quirks and doesn't seem at all put off by his Brutal Honesty.
  • Put on a Bus: Moves to Hershey, PA in "Islands."

    Steve Murphy 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/picture1_9.jpg
Played by: Dylan Kingwell

Shaun's younger brother, who was his crutch and protector when they were young. He smuggled the pair away from their father, but died shortly after.


  • Big Brother Instinct: He was very protective of his brother. Inverted in that he's the younger brother.
  • The Bus Came Back: In a way. He isn't mentioned very much in Season 2, but it's his words that give Andrews the push to fire Han in the season finale.
  • Posthumous Character: In effect, since the story does not revert 10 years; only in flashbacks is he shown, after it's established that he died.
  • Promotion to Parent: Receives one probably as soon as he is able to look out for Shaun, culminating in him properly looking after Shaun when the latter is 14 and the abuse from their father reaches its peak.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: So far the kindest character on the show, but he died aged about 10.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Manages to outfit a bus to live in, is very kind to a relatively-incapacitated older brother, and even manages to buy him presents while doing anything to protect him because he believes Shaun is the smart one who's going to do something.

    Dr. Morgan Reznick 
Played By: Fiona Gubelmann

A new, ambitious resident at St. Bonaventure.


  • 0% Approval Rating: By the season finale, she is hated by the entire main cast.
  • Foil: To Claire. They are both ambitious female surgeons. However, Claire is kind, compassionate, and is a good friend to Shaun, while Morgan is rude, selfish, and frequently bullies Shaun. Also, Claire was poor and abused as a child, while Morgan had successful and loving parents.
  • Idiot Ball: In "Stories", she makes a bet with Park, the prize for whoever wins is a liquor of their choosing. Morgan, apparently believing that there's no way she'll lose, doesn't look up how much Park's prize is worth before accepting the bet. Turns out it costs $500, which she only discovered after it looked like she lost. Luckily for her, the bet ends in a tie.
  • Jerkass: Seems to insist on going out of her way to make those around her upset and is despised by the rest of the main cast.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Whenever it looks like she is going to have a redeeming characteristic, it is subverted.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She feels tremendously guilty after her reluctance to amputate a patient's finger results in the patient losing her whole arm.
  • Pet the Dog: In "Pain", she helps Kalu apply to a residency in another hospital.

    Kenny 
Played by: Chris D'Elia

Shaun's new neighbor after Lea moves away.


  • Chekhov's Skill: He breaks into Shaun's apartment to talk to him. Later, Shaun asks him to break into the pool.
  • Foil: To Lea. Where Lea is kind, Kenny is a selfish moocher who takes advantage of Shaun's autism.
    • This culminates in him turning his usual pizza night with Shaun into borrowing his TV without asking, having sports fan friends over to watch the big game, refusing to let Shaun in because of his autism, and taking the pizza from him.
  • Offscreen Karma: He was arrested for an unspecified crime.

    Dr. Jackson Han 
Played By: Daniel Dae Kim

The new Chief of Surgery at St. Jose St. Bonaventure after Andrews is forced to relinquish the position after keeping it for himself.


  • Asian and Nerdy: He's a doctor (which, so far, covers the "Nerdy" part) and played by Korean-American Daniel Dae Kim.
  • Bad Boss: Oh, yeah. Not only does Han treat Shaun abhorrently, he also shuts down any attempt by Claire and Lim to advocate for Shaun.
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