Was that The Good Doctor? There was very little medicine involved in this story.
The Good Doctor Season 6 Episode 16 was a backdoor pilot for its spinoff, The Good Lawyer. The entire hour was devoted to a new law firm and the lawyer with OCD that Shaun wanted to take his case.
This new series was only tangentially related to the original but was relevant enough to keep viewers’ attention.
Most of the hour was devoted to introducing the new characters and creating a parallel situation to Shaun’s situation at St. Bonaventure.
Like Shaun, Joni is a neurodivergent person whose condition may interfere with her ability to do her job — and her mentor has played a similar role throughout her life as Glassman has for Shaun.
Oddly, Glassman never mentioned this, even though he’s known Janet Stewart for years and relies on her for all his legal needs.
Glassman: She’s good. She’s smart. She’s been helpful whenever I need it.
Shaun: How many times have you been sued?
Since Glassman’s relationship with Janet is strictly professional, he might not have been aware. But I’d think the two would have compared notes when Glassman referred Shaun to Janet’s law firm!
Janet should have been prepared for her new client’s idiosyncracies, and it would have been the perfect time to share her similar history with Glassman.
Glassman was more or less there only to support Shaun. He didn’t try to advise him in any way or explain to Janet how to handle Shaun’s insistence that Joni tries his case.
Glassman’s not usually shy about trying to help Shaun, so it was weird how hands-off he was. It would have added something to the story for Glassman to put his two cents in, especially given the parallel between him and Janet.
Of course, neither Glassman nor Shaun will be a regular part of the cast once The Good Lawyer begins. (ABC has no word yet on when that will be.)
Janet’s involvement in Joni’s childhood case was meant to be a surprise, but it felt somewhat tacked on. Supposedly, the only reason she kept Joni on at her firm was that Joni threatened to sue, and Janet didn’t know Joni considered her a mentor.
Those things felt incongruous after the reveal that Janet had taken Joni and her sister’s case. Surely that past relationship had something to do with why Joni was working for her now!
New shows always have some of these types of plot holes, so they’re not a dealbreaker by any stretch of the imagination.
This story had a lot going for it despite these hiccups.
One of its best aspects was how it depicted Joni’s intrusive thoughts. Using a high-volume voiceover while everyone else kept talking in the background was the best illustration I’ve ever seen of how these types of thoughts can distract and overpower someone.
Lea: OCD? You mean she’s neat and organized?
Shaun: No. That is not OCD.
Shaun dispelled a common myth about OCD almost immediately while talking to Lea, and Joni’s behavior and reactions were realistic for someone with this disorder.
Many viewers only know OCD through the character of Monk, who ironically often acted like he was on the autistic spectrum. While Monk was a groundbreaking show in many ways, Joni’s behavior felt like a more accurate depiction of OCD.
Janet was an interesting character I couldn’t decide whether I loved or hated.
Her constant insistence that Joni couldn’t do the work aggravated me.
She was worse than Dr. Andrews was about Shaun way back when, and that’s saying a lot!
But I can’t be the only one who cheered when Janet accepted a fine for contempt to force a squeak out of the opposing counsel’s chair and get Joni unstuck!
Janet stood up for Joni against a lawyer who was purposely triggering her OCD to sabotage her case, and it almost made up for her earlier behavior.
The chair squeaking issue could have been made a non-issue if anyone had spoken to the judge beforehand. If Joni can’t function around squeaky chairs, then those types of chairs should be removed from the courtroom before she enters it.
Of course, that costs money that courts don’t always have. But under the ADA, Joni is entitled to accommodations to help her do her job.
Conversely, the judge could have ruled that leaning back in squeaky chairs is not allowed when Joni is in court or ordered the lawyer to squeak three times. I don’t know if a judge would be willing to do that, but again, Joni is entitled to accommodations.
And maybe if people with severe OCD were given them, it would normalize that and other types of neurodivergence so that people wouldn’t risk being judged for being different.
I wonder if we’ll meet Janet’s unseen partners when The Good Lawyer premieres.
Janet said they all wanted Joni off the case, but who were they? And how did she explain the decision to reverse course and let Joni handle Shaun’s case after all?
Finally, Park’s testimony during the deposition was interesting. Did he remember telling Shaun not to amputate because of a possible basal spasm, or did he just think he did? It might have gotten in his head if he knew the other side would claim that.
Park disappeared after giving this testimony. I would have liked to know more about his thoughts and feelings about the lawsuit and his role in it.
What did you think, The Good Doctor fanatics? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!
Don’t forget you can watch The Good Doctor online whenever you’d like.
The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST / PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.