We knew that mourning Neil Melendez was going to be a big part of The Good Doctor season 4 premiere on ABC tonight. With that being said, we did not expect an appearance from him in the flesh.
In the closing seconds of the episode, a grief-stricken Claire was greeted by the vision of her late colleague, who she had developed serious feelings for during their time together. He made it clear to her that things were going to be okay, and we definitely do hope that this is the case.
Speaking to TVLine, show executive producer David Shore had the following to say as to why the decision was made to bring Melendez back, so soon after Nicholas Gonzalez’s character was written out at the end of last season:
…Claire’s storyline is very much about trying to bring solace to people who have lost somebody [and] doing what you can do. Melendez is one those people [for Claire], more so than anybody else in our hospital at that moment, given the way we ended last season. Of course, we did not anticipate any of this at the end of Season 3. Liz Friedman, who cowrote the episode with me, called me up one day and said, “I think we should see Melendez,” and I went, “That’s a good idea.” We’ve done this before, obviously, with Shaun and his brother, and it seemed like an interesting way for this [grief] to manifest.
I will also add that even when I was talking to Nick towards the end of last year, I said, “This is the type 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.
Shore added that Gonzalez was very much on board with the idea upon being approached with it — we do think it helped to give at least a little more closure to his arc. We’ll have to wait and see how much more of Melendez we see on the show, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there is at least one or two more opportunities. Remember that the premiere is just part one of an two-part event, and that does certainly leave the door open to a little bit more very soon.
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What did you think about tonight’s The Good Doctor season 4 premiere?
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