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    Dr. Shaun Murphy 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f518d5a0_f9f5_11e9_b6e2_c151979c4eac_800_420.jpeg
"The world is sad and very complicated. I wish it wasn't"
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.


  • Abusive Parents: Shaun's father was an alcoholic who physically and emotionally abused Shaun, even killing his pet rabbit. Shaun's mother loves him, but she was negligent, cowardly and too loyal to her husband to intervene on behalf of her son.
  • Adorkable: Shaun is awkward around others, but is a nice guy. At least when you don't press his Berserk Button...
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In "Heartbreak", after drinking a few drinks at a bar, Shaun has the worst possible idea for how to deal with his rejection by Lea: smashing her car with a baseball bat. He gives up on the idea at the last minute, but unfortunately, he ends up meeting Lea and ends up saying unpleasant things to her.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Shaun has feelings for Lea, but she only sees him as a friend, more or less.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: A rare case where the person did not want (or expected) his love interest to hear. In "Hurt", while Shaun is rescuing a woman named Vera from a collapsing building, the two talk about their lives. Vera reveals that she was only at the place (a charity event) hoping to win back her ex boyfriend. She then says that Shaun should move on and give up on Lea. Shaun then says he doesn't want to give up on Lea because she made him discover worldly pleasures that he never would have imagined and makes him feel like a better person. What Shaun doesn't know is that Lea is listening to everything he says on a connected walkie-talkie, and is clearly touched by his words (he had already confessed that he loved her, but not in those details).
  • All Take and No Give: Played with. Initially Carly complains that she has to work hard to make their relationship work, while he can't do something as simple as seeing her for more than 15 seconds, eventually he decides to make real efforts.
  • Berserk Button: Shaun hates being pressured to do something he doesn't want to do.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Shaun is pure and friendly, but you definitely won't like to see what happens when you push all of his buttons.
    • In "Friends and Family", Shaun initially does not forgive his dying father, shouting that he deserves to die for being a terrible father.
    • In "Heartbreak", Shaun acts like a Jerkass towards Claire and Melendez in the aftermath of Lea's rejection of him at the end of the previous episode. In the end, Shaun prepares to demolish Lea's car with a baseball bat, having watched the scorned girlfriend of a Patient of the Week do the same to her cheating boyfriend's car, when Lea shows up and asks what he's doing. He honestly states his intentions but can't go through with bashing up his friend's car, so instead, he drops the bat and tearfully blasts Lea with one hell of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before walking off, leaving Lea in tears.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Shaun and Lea end the finale of Season 3 by giving each other a passionate kiss, after three seasons of Will They or Won't They?, and allow the episode to end of a hopeful note after almost forty minutes of tragedy.
  • Broken Ace: A good person and a brilliant doctor who had a terrible childhood, courtesy of his abusive parents and the tragic death of his brother. During the quarantine, he suffers from major 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?"
  • Chick Magnet: For someone so shy and introverted, he manages to attract the attention of some women: Lea, Carly, a nurse.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "Fixation", Shaun tries to convince Lea that he can change his behavior and that dating would work. For this, Shaun asks Lea to show up at his apartment in the middle of the day, to show that he doesn't care about cans out of alphabetical order and the position of the toilet paper. Lea is not at all impressed and makes Shaun realize the paradox of the situation.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the Writer: One of the first episodes of Season 1 states that Shaun does not answer when questions are asked directly to him. You can imagine how often this doesn't happen on the show.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Despite not being as extreme as other examples, Shaun often seems to have that attitude towards Lea.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Shaun does not usually drink, but unfortunately he has a habit of doing so when he is in a desperate situation. He does this after being fired from the hospital at the end of Season 2 and after being rejected by Lea in Season 3. In both cases, it ends up causing Shaun to do stupid acts.
  • Easily Forgiven: At the end of the season 3 Lea doesn't seem to hold any kind of grudge against Shaun, despite the fact that he humiliated her and almost broke his car days before.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Even though he initially acts like he doesn't mind, he ends up admitting that he hates seeing Lea with other men.
  • 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.
  • Hates Being Alone: Shaun is completely terrified that his autism and his personality will inevitably one day cause all the people he loves to abandon him.
  • 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.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: His best male friend is Dr. Glassman, although their relationship is also as a father and son.
  • 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).
  • Introverted Cat Person: Shaun likes cats. When he meets Lea at Season 1, there is a cat on the balcony of his apartment and she advises him not to feed him, otherwise the cat will never leave. Shaun feeds the cat anyway. In Season 2, Shaun tries to convince Lea to adopt a cat, but she is allergic.
  • It Was a Gift: In Season 1, he receives a baseball as a gift from Lea when she moves to another city. She makes him promise that he will return it to her when she returns one day. Shaun immediately places the ball next to his photo with the late brother, which shows how important it is to him. In Season 2, when Lea returns, Shaun tries to return the ball, but she refuses saying it was a gift. In many moments of Season 2 and Season 3 it is possible to see that Shaun still keeps the ball in his room.
  • Just Friends: Shaun and Lea decide to be just that in Season 2, mainly because they live together and don't want to ruin their wonderful friendship. This falls into ruins in Season 3, when a series of events force them to admit that they are in love with each other. At the end of Season 3, they finally become a couple.
  • Kick the Dog: In "Heartbreak", Shaun discounting his anger and frustration at Lea, even throwing in her face the fact that her professional and romantic life is a disaster, is the kind of horrible attitude we could expect from Gregory House, not Shaun Murphy.
  • 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.
  • Manly Tears: A lot.
  • No Social Skills: He isn't completely lacking, but finds it hard to empathize, which is especially key in surgical social interactions.
  • Odd Friendship: With his neighbor Lea. Her personality is the exact opposite of Shaun's personality, and yet (or perhaps just because of that) they are each other's best friends. And at the end of Season 3, they become a couple.
  • Official Couple: With Lea at the finale of Season 3.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "Heartbreak", Shaun is so depressed at being rejected by Lea that he acts like a complete asshole to his co-workers during the entire episode, including Claire, who was the first in the hospital to support him from the start. The situation is so bad that none other than Melendez is forced to give a What the Hell, Hero? speech to Shaun. Everything gets worse at the end of the episode, when Shaun ends up drinking too much and tries to break Lea's car with a baseball bat, only to give up at the last minute and make a brutal and bitter "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Lea, ruining any chance of reconciliation between the two.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Thanks Melendez for a snippy comment about him being a good hire, etc.
  • Self-Deprecation: Shaun knows he is an intelligent doctor, but when it comes to friendships and dating, he is harshly critical of himself.
  • 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: A variation — 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.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: In the last episode of the third season, Shaun decides to give up on obtaining Lea's love, he ends up obtaining it anyway.
  • 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.
  • Troubled, but Cute: In addition to being autistic, Shaun is also an insecure person and knows how to be quite unpleasant when he wants to. This does not stop women like Lea and Carly from becoming interested in him.
  • 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.
    • He is, however, quite obviously Lim's favorite.
  • Verbal Tic: He has a sing-song cadence when he speaks and uses inflections and meter that sound odd to many English speakers.
  • You Are What You Hate: In "Heartbreak", Shaun ends up drinking too much and humiliates Lea in a cruel way that unfortunately resembles his drunken, asshole father.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Hurt", Shaun risks his life entering the basement of a building ruined by an earthquake, hoping to save Lea, who is missing. During the journey, he has an imaginary conversation with his late brother Steve, who scolds him harshly for risking his life in a pathetic and desperate attempt to win the love of Lea, who has already made it clear that is not interested in him.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Lea in the first three seasons. In the finale of Season 3, they finally become a couple.
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    Dr. Neil Melendez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/melendez.jpg

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.


  • Anyone Can Die: He dies at the end of season 3, from injuries sustained in an earthquake.
  • 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.
    • Is a completely different person by the time of season 3. The antagonism towards Shaun, the pettiness, the egotism? All gone.
  • 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.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Claire confesses to Melendez that she loves him when he is about to die at the end of Season 3. Melendez also says that he loves her.
  • 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.

    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.


  • Aborted Arc: After being sexually harassed by Dr. Coyle, Claire vowed to ruin his career by tracking down former female colleagues of his. At the end of "Seven Reasons", she meets one who confesses that she was also harassed by Dr. Coyle, and it is implied that the women will work together to expose his behavior. This plot is never mentioned in any subsequent episodes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Season 3 episode "Claire" focuses on her. So far, it is the only episode in the series where the protagonist Shaun has a secondary role.
  • Decomposite Character: From Dr. Chan in the Korean version. She is basically an adaptation of the character, but with the role of neighbor, best friend and love interest given to Lea.
  • Deuteragonist: It can be argued that she is this, since Claire is the only character besides Shaun who appeared in all the episodes of the show so far (Melendez too, but he dies at the end of Season 3), has a lot of screentime and is also the only character who had an A Day in the Limelight episode exclusively focused on her and in which Shaun clearly played a secondary role.
  • 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.
  • Ship Tease: With Melendez in Season 3. They confess their feelings to eachother at the end of season 3, but by then it's too late. Melendez has sustained fatal injuries in an earthquake and passes away soon after.
  • 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.
  • The Not-Love Interest: She is the Deuteragonist and one of the female characters to have a closer relationship with Shaun (probably only surpassed by Lea), but their relationship does not go beyond a simple friendship.

    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.

    Jessica Preston 
Played by: Beau Garrett
The hospital in-house attorney and Vice President of Risk Management. She is the granddaughter of the hospital founder and a friend of Dr. Glassman.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She breaks up with Melendez because she doesn't want children but he does. Although he insists there is no problem with them not having children, she still knows that he will regret it in the future.
  • Put on a Bus: She leaves the show after Season 1.

    Dr. Marcus Andrews 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hill_harper_dr_andrews.jpg
Played by: Hill Harper

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


  • Aborted Arc: A couple of Season 1 episodes have subplots featuring Andrews and his wife visiting specialists to overcome fertility issues so they can have a child. The situation is never mentioned in later seasons and Andrews has made no mention of having any children since then, suggesting that either they were unsuccessful or that their plans for having children were put on hold once Andrews was promoted to President of the hospital.
  • 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.
  • Character Development: Like Melendez, he grows out of his jerkass behaviour and becomes a much better person.
  • 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.
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    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.
  • "The 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.

    Allegra Aoki 
Played by: Tamlyn Tomita
The Chairwoman of the San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital Board and Vice President of the foundation that controls the hospital's funding.
  • Put on a Bus: She leaves the show after the premiere of Season 3.

    Dr. Alex Park 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/yun_lee_dr_park.jpg
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.
  • Men Don't Cry: According to Park his father had a mantra of "be like stone, never cry" whenever he was emotional as a child. Unfortunately this led him to develop a wall around his heart which eventually drove his wife away from him and made him move away from his family instead of fight for him. Park admits this is a flaw to his son and takes steps to work on it.
  • 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.
  • Parents as People: Park cares a lot about his son but admits to him that he wasn't a good father or husband and didn't fight hard enough to be with them. And while he does better in season 3 it becomes clear that his workaholic tendencies mean he can't connect fully with his son. After being emotionally haunted by a patient who died before he could reconnect with his father Park decides to move back to Phoenix to be with his family.
  • Promoted to Opening Credits: Becomes part of the main cast in season 2 after appearing in the final few episodes of season 1.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Park has a pretty bad case of this in his backstory. Part of the reason that his wife divorced him was because he changed careers without telling her and spend more time training to become a doctor then being with his family. Park admits to his son during the quarantine that he didn't try hard enough to be with his family and he wasn't a good person. After helping a boy around his sons age die happy by pretending to be his father Park decides to move back to Phoenix and reconnect with his family.
  • Younger Mentor, Older Disciple: He is older than Melendez.

    Dr. Morgan Reznick 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/150183_0281_1014x570.jpg
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.
  • Break the Haughty: Season 2 has a long string of such incidents against Morgan, from her hesitation in having a patient she befriended's finger amputated results in the loss of an entire arm, to a man she had a romantic connection with dying from a infectious disease, likely as karmic punishment for her arrogance in the previous season.
  • Career-Ending Injury: In Season 3 Morgan develops rheumatoid arthritis that causes her severe pain. While she tries taking various prescriptions to dull the pain it gets worse and the possibility that she might have to retire from surgery becomes more and more likely. Near the end of the season Morgan decided to have a synovectomy done on her hands so she can still have ten good years as a surgeon. However during the earthquake she is forced to perform emergency surgery which saves the patients life but does permanent damage to her joints which Andrews tells Morgan may have prematurely ended her career as a surgeon.
  • 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.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her rude and arrogant demeanor is likely caused by her mother never treating her like she was good enough.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: No one in the hospital makes a point of hiding that they consider Morgan to be an unpleasant person, although Morgan doesn't care too much and feels the same way about her co-workers. Even Lea, with whom she has exchanged only half a dozen words in her entire life, hates Morgan because of the way she treats Shaun and because Morgan constantly tries to separate the two. The situation improves a little in Seasons 2 and 3, with Claire becoming friends with Morgan, and Shaun getting used to her personality.
  • Hate at First Sight: To no one's surprise, Lea and Morgan barely exchange half a dozen words and already hate each other.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Morgan rarely, if ever, sugar-coats her words and can be a major ass to her peers some of her advice is actually useful.
    • In "Heartfelt", she points out to Shaun, with regards to the hospitals gala, that everyone is uncomfortable with sucking up to people but its a necessary part of the job and using his autism as a crutch not to do something uncomfortable is just an excuse.
    • In "Fractured", Morgan tries to convince Shaun not to end his relationship with Carly, and cruelly insults Lea (a person she only met once), stating that she is a complicated person who is complicating Shaun's life. Shaun tries to defend Lea at first, but listens to most of Morgan's speech silently and reflecting.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ultimately earns this title in season 3. Despite all her flaws, she is shown to genuinely care about her patients, love her jerkass mother, and consider Claire and Shaun to be friends.
  • 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.
  • Promoted to Opening Credits: Is made part of the main cast in season 2 after being in a recurring role in season 1.
  • The Rival: Quickly sets herself up as Claire's main rival once she becomes one of Melendez's residents reasoning (not inaccurately) that since Shaun is likely safe from being kicked out of the program, and Jared is the Black Sheep after what he did to get his job back, any victory she scores is one against Morgan.
  • Shipper on Deck: Becomes one for Shaun and Carly during season 3 even telling him that he should stay with her after Shaun's feelings for Lea become prominent again.

    Dr. Audrey Lim 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/7143bd40_f495_11e9_903e_a5378988746a_800_420.jpeg
Played by: Christina Chang
An attending doctor and trauma surgeon at St. Bonaventure. Later becomes the Chief Surgeon.
  • The Ace: Lim is one of the few doctors on the show that can rival Melendez with him in one episode drawing comparisons between her and Shaun in their ability to win cases. Come the end of season 2 she is the one who is chosen to become Chief of Surgery.
  • Biker Babe: Lim is often shown driving around on a motorcycle and is a very attractive woman.
  • Official Couple: With Melendez in Season 2. They break up in Season 3.
  • Promoted to Opening Credits: She becomes a main character starting in season 2 after multiple appearances throughout season 1.
  • Rank Up: After Han is fired at the end of season 2 she takes over as the new Chief of Surgery.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She is undoubtedly one of the most responsible doctors in the series, both for the health of her patients and the emotional state of her co-workers.
  • The Rival: Lim has been Melendez's rival ever sense their residency and the two of them get very competitive with each other.
  • Team Mom: is very nuturing to the residents, especially Shaun.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: That being said, she does have to occasionally reprimand Shaun and the other residents for any mistakes they might make from time to time.
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    Lea Dilallo 

Played by: Paige Spara
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_good_doctor_season_3_lea_1582833437.jpg
"Are you a good doctor? Because when I think of you, I think you are"
Shaun's neighbor, with whom he forms a burgeoning friendship and possible romance.
  • All There in the Manual: Her last name has never been given on the show and was only revealed in a tweet by Paige Spara.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: At the end of Season 3, after surviving an earthquake, Lea finally admits to Shaun that she loves him.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Lea almost dies in the earthquake in "Hurt" and spends a few hours among the rubbles of a building... and she remains beautiful.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She is friendly and adorable, but be careful if you make her angry. Not even Shaun escapes that sometimes.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Shaun and Lea end the finale of Season 3 by giving each other a passionate kiss, after three seasons of Will They or Won't They?, and allow the episode to end of a hopeful note after almost forty minutes of tragedy.
  • Breakout Character: Lea was originally supposed to appear in just two episodes of Season 1. The positive reception of fans added with the writers enjoying the performance of Paige Spara and her chemistry with Freddie Highmore caused an increase in her appearances in the first season, and in her promotion to the main cast in Season 2.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being absent during the second half of the first season because she moved out of the city, Lea returns at the first episode of Season 2.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Lea's dialogues with Shaun suggest this. On more than one occasion, Lea says that Shaun is the only person in her life who never lied to her. She also frequently mentions that her brother blames her for the bankruptcy of his shop, although she never comments in detail what happened.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially with Shaun and Glassman.
  • Decomposite Character: From Dr. Chan in the Korean version. More specifically her role as neighbor, best friend and love interest, while most other aspects were given to Claire.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: It's subtle, but her first scene in the episode "Hurt" shows her buying two glasses of drink. When questioned, she says she had a difficult week, but when you remember that her last scene in the previous episode "Heartbreak" showed her being verbally humiliated by Shaun...
  • First Girl Wins: Technically, Shaun met Claire and Carly before Lea, but the feelings between him and Claire never went beyond pure friendship, and he fell in love with Lea before dating Carly. As such, Lea was Shaun's first love, and the two become a couple at the end of Season 3.
  • First Love: Shaun even points out that Lea was the first woman for whom he felt romantic feelings.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Carly (The lover) had a one-sided rivalry against her (the friend) with respect to Shaun, even though Lea actually supported their relationship.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: In the first two seasons, Lea interacted with only two of the dozens of characters in the main cast, Shaun and Glassman. Shaun's coworkers only know about Lea's existence because he keeps talking about her. This is justified by the fact that Shaun is not a very sociable person, rarely meeting with fellow doctors in situations outside the hospital. In Season 3, she starts working at the hospital and finally interact with the co-workers of Shaun. She gets along with most of them... except Morgan. The two immediately hate each other.
  • 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.
  • Hate at First Sight: To no one's surprise, Lea and Morgan barely exchange half a dozen words and already hate each other.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Lea desperately tries to convince Shaun to give up the idea of being roommates just because she fears the possibility that they will fall in love with each other and ruin his friendship. She finally gives in, but what she feared ends up happening in S3, and she again uses this trope to convince Shaun to give up the idea of investing in a romantic relationship with her.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Rejects Shaun's Love Confession despite her own feelings for him, because she belives he won't be happy with her.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Despite her feelings for Shaun, she fully supported his relationship with Carly.
  • Just Friends: Lea and Shaun decide to be just that in Season 2, mainly because they live together and don't want to ruin their wonderful friendship. This falls into ruins in Season 3, when a series of events force them to admit that they are in love with each other. At the end of Season 3, they finally become a couple.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Lea constantly appears with several boyfriends who never last long and with a generic characterization (to the point that some don't even have names mentioned). She even points this out to Shaun before they move in together. In Season 3, she finally admits that she has been in love with Shaun for a long time, but that she is terrified of starting a relationship because she thinks it is too problematic to deal with his autism. The two finally become a couple in the finale.
  • Love Epiphany: In the two-part finale "Hurt" and "I Love You", after surviving an earthquake, listening (accidentally) to Shaun's confession of love and almost losing him in the earthquake, Lea finally realizes that she really loves Shaun and wants to have a serious relationship with him.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: For the first three seasons, she doesn't seem to decide if Shaun is just a friend or if really have feelings for him.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In the episode "Friends anf Family", she has a scene in which she takes off her pants before throwing herself into a lake.
  • Nice Girl: She rolls with Shaun's quirks and doesn't seem at all put off by his Brutal Honesty. She is also Brutal Honesty sometimes to Glassman's anger, but Shaun has no problem with it and even admires her for it. Unfortunately, she also represents the bad aspects of this trope. She is passive-aggressive, Innocently Insensitive, and afraid of commitment and confrontation. The result is that her actions end up confusing or hurting Shaun even if it is not her intentions.
  • Odd Friendship: Shaun and Lea are the complete opposite of each other, and against all possibilities, they are each other's best friends. And at the end of Season 3, they become a couple.
  • Official Couple: With Shaun at the finale of Season 3.
  • Out of Focus: She suffers this in the first half of Season 3, missing six of the 20 episodes. It is justified because she is the only character who does not work in the hospital and Shaun's girlfriend, Carly, has reservations about the friendship between them.
  • Promoted to Opening Credits: Goes from being a recurring cast member in the first season to a main character in the second season.
  • Put on a Bus: Moves to Hershey, PA in "Islands." And then she returns at the beginning of Season 2.
  • Sad Clown: She constantly makes jokes and loves to play games. However, when you take off her mask, you are shocked to realize that she is broken, full of insecurities and with a messy life, using humor as a defense mechanism.
  • Self-Deprecation: Lea is the first to admit that her professional and romantic life is a mess.
  • Unknown Rival: Carly sees her as a possible rival in a "friend vs. lover" (or even a Love Triangle) situation, even when Lea has no problem with her.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Lea is introduced as the Girl Next Door to Shaun, providing him with some much needed companionship outside of work and helping him with various emotional problems. There is also a sexual tension between them, and they even kiss on two occasions. However she moves out of the city about halfway through the first season and when she comes back in season 2, after fighting and reconciling with Shaun, they decide that their are Better as Friends. They also decide to live together and help each other in their personal, professional and romantic lives. However, some of the co-workers of Shaun and even his girlfriend, Carly, don't seem to believe that they are only friends. Finally in Season 3, Shaun is forced to admit that he has romantic feelings for Lea. He finds out that Lea also has romantic feelings for him, but she is afraid to start a relationship because of her troubled personality and because of Shaun's autism. At the end of Season 3, after the two survived an earthquake, Lea finally decides that she doesn't want to waste another second and she and Shaun finally become a couple.

    Dr. Carly Lever 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/content_pic.jpg
Played by: Jasika Nicole

A pathologist. She becomes Shaun's girlfriend at the end of season 2.


  • All Take and No Give: Played with. Initially she complains that she has to work hard to make their relationship work, while Shaun can't do something as simple as seeing her for more than 15 seconds, eventually Shaun decides to make more of an effort.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: A relatively benign example, but she shows somewhat irrational jealousy against Lea due to how comfortable Shaun is around her.
  • Friend Versus Lover: She (The lover) had a one-sided rivalry against Lea (The friend) with respect to Shaun.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: She has this attitude towards Lea and Shaun, even when Lea has never shown any intention of stealing Shaun from her. That said Lea does have feelings for Shaun, just buried, so Carly's insecurity's aren't unjustified.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: After she sees how intimate the two really are, and the strength of their connection, Carly voluntarily breaks up with Shaun after realising that he is in love with Lea and vice versa, even encouraging him to confess his feelings to her.
  • Love Epiphany: A rare case where it is a third person who realizes this about a possible couple. During the karaoke scene in "Unsaid", it's terribly obvious to Carly that Shaun and Lea are in love with each other, and worse, they both refuse to admit it. At the end of the episode, Carly breaks up with Shaun for that reason.
  • Nice Girl: One of the nicest characters in the series, as her kindness and patience with Shaun can prove. She even voluntarily breaks up with Shaun when she realizes that he and Lea clearly love each other, but are too insecure to admit it to each other.
  • Not So Above It All: Although she is usually a very nice girl, her jealousy against Lea brings out the worst in her, to the point of giving Shaun an ultimatum.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: At the end of Season 2.
  • Promoted to Opening Credits: At Season 3.
  • Put on a Bus: A strange case. Carly's last appearance is in the episode "Autopsy", where Shaun finally admits that he loves Lea and she encourages him to declare himself to Lea. After that, Carly no longer appears in the final four episodes of the season, and the showrunner revealed that the actress will not return to the regular cast of the series. Considering that Carly works in the same hospital as the rest of the main cast, it remains to be seen whether any explanation will be given for her absence.
  • Temporary Love Interest: Carly begins dating Shaun in season 3 and, despite a rocky start, the two form a powerful relationship with each other and which leads Shaun to go outside his comfort zone further then ever before. However Shaun's feelings for Lea, and vice versa, end up being far stronger then his feelings for her and so Carly breaks up with Shaun about three-fourths of a way through the season so that he can be with Lea.
  • You Never Did That for Me: In "Fractured" Carly gets upset after she finds out that Shaun and Lea hugged each other to sleep after his emotional confrontation with his father since Shaun had no trouble getting intimate with Lea, even when they needed weeks of hard work to accomplish the same.
  • You're Just Jealous: Several characters call her out for her jealous attitude towards Lea.

Secondary Characters

    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.

    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.
  • Evil Counterpart: "The Bad Doctor" to Shaun's Good Doctor.
  • Hate Sink: Easily the most villainous character in the show, along with Ethan Murphy. Morgan is a saint by comparison. (YMMV on whether he’s a villain or whether he’s completely in the right or somewhere in between)
  • It's All About Me: So much so that he skipped his own welcoming party.
  • Jerkass: To a degree greater than Melendez, Andrews, and Morgan combined. He even butts heads with Melendez in "Breakdown."
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While he's a complete douche about it, he does have a few valid concerns about an autistic person working as a surgeon.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: At the end of his introductory episode, Han commends Shaun for his skills...only to then announce he's transferring him to Pathology against Shaun's wishes. He is also a remembrance of Shaun's evil father, Ethan.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He's fired in the Season 2 finale after Andrews initiates a vote of confidence amongst the hospital board.
  • Noodle Incident: He knew someone with ASD who died.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While not a villain per se, he does exhibit a highly prejudiced attitude toward Shaun. It's best illustrated by this line:
    Han: [to Lim] No matter how hard he works, no matter how hard you try and help him, his limitations are not going to change. He's going to continue to inflict them on our patients all in the name of diversity and inclusion.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Classic example. He transfers Shaun to Pathology, shuts down any attempt by Claire and Lim to speak on Shaun's behalf; ignores Shaun's pleas to be moved back to surgery, and fires Shaun when he takes a stand against him and suffers a meltdown while he's at it.

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