Richard Schiff Praises ‘The Good Doctor’ for Going Beyond ‘Celebrating’ People With Autism

We all know The Good Doctor’s Freddie Highmore has assimilated what it’s like to be autistic on a level no other actor has ever accomplished. While we’ve heard a lot of comment from him on his approach and the impact, it’s always insightful to hear from other cast members to see what their perspective is.

Richard Schiff (who plays Dr. Glassman on TGD) has some real-life, personal connections to knowing people with autism, something that attracted him to the show.

Schiff also says he’s happy about TGD going beyond just celebrating people with autism and more into showing the realities of what they go through in everyday life situations.

It makes us wonder what more we’ll see in what Dr. Shaun Murphy deals with and his almost father-son relationship with Glassman.

Richard Schiff
Richard Schiff | David Bukach via Getty Images

Schiff says ‘The Good Doctor’ is different from most medical shows

During an interview Schiff did with Deadline last year, he said he didn’t want to do a medical show initially because he wasn’t a fan of the genre. When he saw the dynamic between his Dr. Glassman and Shaun Murphy, he changed his mind.

Thanks to some personal experience being around those with autism, Schiff says he knows all the different challenges each person faces. Thanks to Highmore’s astute acting ability, he’s able to correctly portray the reactions to different situations, including falling in love.

For the first time, we’ve seen how an autistic person can live a useful and almost normal life. However, you have to argue without Schiff’s Dr. Glassman keeping Murphy in line, the latter character might have been let go from St. Bonaventure Hospital.

A reportedly good relationship between Schiff and Highmore helps make the relationship between Glassman and Murphy more believable. What would happen when or if Glassman dies due to an inoperable glioma he was diagnosed with in the first season?

The fatherly relationship Glassman has with Shaun is continually insightful

Those of you who watch TGD regularly know that Shaun doesn’t always reciprocate the fatherly advice Glassman gives to Murphy. One reason is Murphy wants to be independent of someone holding his hand while working as a surgeon.

This alone is just one insightful aspect of many TGD continues to explore about autistic people rather than merely celebrating them. There’s a conscious effort in telling us autistic individuals want to function as normal people in society, which many of them can.

Yet, the relationship between Glassman and Murphy is emotional enough where we have to wonder how Murphy will react once Glassman eventually dies. Schiff acknowledges in interviews he probably won’t be with the show forever since his character is terminal.

Seeing how Shaun Murphy processes the death of someone close to him would be another fascinating element in how autistic people have more emotion than many realize.

Glassman and Murphy may draw closer in the meantime

For Season Three of TGD, we’ll be seeing more explorations of Murphy possibly getting into serious romantic relationships. Whether Glassman will intervene with relationship advice this season will be interesting to watch. If this happens, we might see Murphy again rebuffing Glassman for telling him what to do.

Nobody can blame Schiff’s Glassman for wanting to be a father figure since it’s well-known he’s kind of lonely with his wife and kids walking out on him. The greatest aspect is Glassman has known Murphy since he was a teenager, meaning he may know Shaun better than anybody else we see in the cast.

Like all father figures, though, there’s going to be some dissension. When it involves romantic relationships, we’re going to be entering new territory on how autistic people think and act in similar situations.

Whether Schiff stays with the show or not (hopefully Glassman will go into cancer remission), let’s all hope for at least ten seasons so we can finally make sense of what autistic people are really like around us. Pop culture has given a too basic view for too long.