Primetime TV is full of new medical dramas, and most of them are on their way to a mid-season finale. Between Fox's The Resident, NBC's New Amsterdam, and ABC's The Good Doctor to name a few, super-fans of the genre have a lot of dates and times to keep up with as the fall television season comes to an end. One TV doctor of many, Dr. Shaun Murphy and his crew of fellow physicians at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, will be taking a break from the screen over the holidays, the mid-season finale airing on Monday, December 3. When does The Good Doctor come back, you might ask? Even ER docs need time off, but fear not, he will be in again soon.
According to a November 29 press release published by ABC, The Good Doctor will return following its winter finale after the new year on January 14, 2019 at 10 p.m. ET. The same press release also commended its success and popularity, announcing that the show was nominated for a Humanitas Prize earlier that month. In case you didn't know, Humanitas Prizes are awarded to film and TV writers "whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way," per the organization's website. The Good Doctor indeed promotes inclusion in its overarching narrative that stars a doctor with autism and savant syndrome, which has resonated with viewers and resulted in rising ratings in its one and a half seasons thus far.
"The Good Doctor’s message of inclusiveness resonates with our viewers and is a hallmark of what we aim to accomplish here at ABC,” Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment said in a March press release. “This series has quickly joined the zeitgeist and broken records in the competitive television landscape."
As if its main character didn't challenge popular notions of inclusion enough, the episode leading up to the winter finale, titled "Empathy," takes that mission to a whole new level. It follows the treatment of George, a man diagnosed with the psychiatric disorder of pedophilia, who, knowing his impulses are immorally wrong, feels trapped by his condition and ends up taking his own life. Because the doctors aren't able to fully empathize with George's state (even though he had harmed himself in an effort to escape it before), he loses his life. His story asks viewers to reflect on their own definition of empathy.
Regardless of opinions regarding that particular episode, though, according to ABC, The Good Doctor "ranks among the season’s Top [three] broadcast gainers in delayed viewing among Adults 18-49." The show averages 12.6 million viewers per broadcast.
The mid-season finale, titled "Quarantine," follows Dr. Murphy and Dr. Lim as they treat two patients who collapse at an airport amidst holiday travelers. They discover the patients' symptoms could be related to an airborne infection that could spread throughout the hospital to other patients, and even the doctors themselves. They're forced to quarantine the patients and, hopefully, keep them alive to enjoy the holidays with their families.
Here's to hoping The Good Doctor himself doesn't fall ill, because he has a Season 2 to finish and many more lives to save.