Good Physician Premiere: EP David Shore collapses [Spoiler]& # 39; s Stunning Return in Pandemic-Themed Opener
At the start of the fourth season of Good Doctor, not only one, but two former series regulars returned.
In addition to Beau Garrett's previously reported (and all too recent) comeback as St. Bonaventure's in-house attorney Jessica Preston, the pandemic-focused premiere welcomed Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Neil Melendez back – but how exactly?
Melendez was killed at the end of season three after succumbing to internal injuries sustained in a partial collapse of the building. Following Monday's episode, a grieving Claire was ready to rummage through piles of belongings belonging to COVID patients when she suddenly heard a soothing voice in the distance.
"Things will be fine," said the man. Then the fourth year resident turned to see that she passed away – and yes, he is still very much passed away – that the love interest stands before her and sets the stage for Episode 2.
Below, executive producer David Shore, who confirmed that Melendez is just an invention of Claire's imagination, breaks down the first half of the two-part premiere.
TVLINE | Let's start at the end. Why did you choose to bring Melendez back?
Some of these (pandemic) episodes are about stress – the real stress that the last (several months) have put on real doctors out there. We tried to (include) all aspects of it, from the frustration of not knowing what the answer was or how to help people from the start, to the frustration of being apart from loved ones.
Claire's plot is all about comforting people who have lost someone (and) are doing what they can. Melendez is one of those people (for Claire), more than anyone in our hospital at this moment, given the way we ended last season. Of course, by the end of season three, we didn't expect any of this. Liz Friedman, who wrote the episode with me, called me one day and said, "I think we should see Melendez," and I said, "That's a good idea." We've had that before with Shaun and his, of course Brother made, and it seemed like an interesting way this (grief) manifests itself.
I'll also add that even when I spoke to Nick late last year, I said, "This is the kind of show where even death doesn't stop you from being here." I always thought it would be nice to have a moment to bring him back and bring Melendez's spirit back in some way.
TVLINE | Was Nicholas Gonzalez on board when you presented the idea to him?
He was on board immediately. He may have been surprised it was so soon, but he didn't hesitate. It was wonderful.
TVLINE | Speaking of returning cast members, you've got Beau Garrett back for a zoom cameo – her first appearance since she left the show as a regular series at the end of season one. Is that all we'll see of Jessica or will she be back? this season?
I don't want to promise too much on this front. She's still technically the hospital's in-house attorney. We don't have any plans on this, but it felt natural to have them there.
TVLINE | Your first episode focuses on the gradual severity of the virus over time. Has there ever been a point where you thought about jumping into the present instead of reliving the early days of the COVID-19 crisis?
Yes. We had a number of discussions in the writer's room at the beginning. We (also) have the serious disadvantage that we don't know how this will end. When we first talked about it in April and May and we knew we'd be on the air in October or November, we assumed that – not the assumption, but we all certainly hoped this would all be behind us then or until then largely behind us.
It was tricky … you don't want to get stuck in this thing forever, but there is real drama here and there are real heroes and it affects each and every one of us. It just felt dishonest not to tell this story.
TVLINE | Not only did we see the doctors handling the uncertainty at the front, but we followed some of them home, including Dr. Lim and Andrews. Was it important to you to show how your personal life worked?
We wanted to represent as much as possible. I mean, we completed two episodes (focusing on COVID). We thought we were going to do one, but it quickly seemed to me that it wasn't going to be enough. But yes, we wanted to see (the doctors) at home. We wanted to see people in the hospital. We wanted to see patients. We wanted to see patients and their families. We wanted to see patients who were better off and we wanted it to arrive close to home the way it was.
TVLINE | The premiere features a handful of guest stars, including popular veterinarian Carly Pope as the wife of a patient who appears on FaceTime. How were these scenes filmed? Were they filmed on a remote set or was she filming her scenes from home to limit the number of people on the set?
Carly shot on one of our sets, it was just separate (from everyone else).
TVLINE | The episode also shows how the new couple Shaun and Lea overcome this real obstacle to being together – at least in a physical sense. Do you think that final hurdle is actually doing good for this relationship and the story you are trying to tell with that relationship?
Look, I don't sit back and leave. "Gosh, I wish COVID hadn't happened so I could start Shaun and Lea on better foot." (Laughs) There are many bigger reasons to wish COVID hadn't happened. I am proud of these two episodes. (Being separated from loved ones) is a reality that we all face, and I made it a reality that Shaun and Lea face.
TVLine will find out more about our conversation with David Shore after Part 2 (broadcast next Monday, November 9th). Meanwhile, Hit the comments (and weigh yourself using the poll below) to give us your thoughts on the season 4 premiere and Melendez's shocking return.