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Freddie Highmore was determined that his TV show The Good Doctor would “reflect the reality” of the COVID-19 pandemic in its fourth season.

The two-part season premiere aired on Monday night and put the worldwide health crisis front and centre of the plot. Highmore, who stars in the series as Dr. Shaun Murphy and also produces the show, spoke to Entertainment Tonight about why he believes it was so important for the show to tackle the topic.

“Times have certainly changed since we last saw these doctors and we wanted to reflect that reality in Season 4,” he said. “The first two episodes deal very much head-on with the pandemic and how our doctors in the hospital… have been dealing with it over the course of several months, from the very beginning to where we are today.

“It felt important to us to pay tribute to the real-life health care professionals to the first responders to the doctors to everyone who has been genuinely dealing with this and putting their lives at risk as it’s been put into very clear perspective, only have to pretend to do it on television. It felt very important to pay homage and to pay tribute to them. Even in those first two episodes, it’s also about finding hope and looking towards a future where we can get back to. It won’t ever get back to normal, but get back to some sense of normal. That’s been important for us too, to continue to find those little helpful moments in life even amongst dark times that the show has always been very good at doing.”

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