As you prepare for the season 4 finale of The Good Doctor tonight, know this in advance: It’s the end of the road for Antonia Thomas. The original cast member is leaving after the episode entitled “Vamos,” which likely comes as a surprise to many out there. She’s one of the show’s more-prominent cast members, and Dr. Claire Browne has been an essential colleague to Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) from the beginning.
In the end, though, this was a decision that Thomas needed to make for herself. In a new interview with Deadline, the actress confirms that it was her decision to depart the show, and a lot of it stems from being satisfied with the character’s arc from start to finish:
it was a really, really difficult decision, and leaving, I have to say, is a bittersweet thing for me because the last four years have been absolutely incredible. I feel so lucky and basically indebted to David Shore and the writers for having the experience to play Claire, who has just been a wonderful, wonderful character to explore, so layered and complicated and flawed, the kind of character that I think an actress dreams to be able to play. I think, ultimately, for me, it’s about coming to the point where I think we’ve really run the gamut of different things that Claire can have gone through, and I’m now really excited to explore different creative opportunities. For me, as an actress, having versatility and creativity has been something that’s been really, really important. I’ve come from the British system where you play a role, you film it for a couple of months because seasons are only six episodes long, and then you can do something else, and I think after dedicating four years to Claire and her journey and really, really exploring the character, I am just now ready to try something new, ultimately.
Everything that Thomas says here makes perfect sense, and we understand that four years is a long time to play any single character in this industry. She noted that she first had conversations with Shore about an exit after season 3, and they found a way to build towards a proper goodbye this year. She does remain open to coming back down the road, and even suggested that if she was able to do both this show and everything else she wanted to do, she probably would not exit at all.
Ultimately, we’re happy for Thomas … but still sad to see her go.
Are you going to miss Antonia Thomas on The Good Doctor?
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