'The Good Doctor' Finale: Creator David Shore Explains 'Horrible Decisions' to Kill off Major Character

The Good Doctor showrunner David Shore is opening up about Monday night's tragic Season 3 finale. After a major earthquake hit San Jose earlier in the season, Monday night's newest episode ended on a somber note when not every character survived, something that Shore said was a "horrible decision" to make.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Good Doctor Season 3, Episode 20, "I Love You."

While beloved characters like Dr. Shaun Murphy managed to walk away with minimal injuries, the same could not be said for surgical attending Neil Melendez. After collapsing following an aftershock in the first part of the season finale, Melendez succumbed to internal injuries in Monday night's newest episode, sending shockwaves through social media. Speaking with TV Line, Shore explained why Melendez was written off.

"Look, I'm not going to give you a good answer, but Nick has been great. He was so great going down the final road here," he told the outlet. "These are the horrible decisions you have to make when you're running a TV show. You want to tell honest stories. You want to tell stories of life and death, and that includes your regulars on occasion, and on occasion you have to make the bad choice because otherwise you don't have credibility. In order to keep the show honest, every now and again the worst has to happen, and we wanted to throw our characters into this situation, and we wanted to be honest about it. We wanted to see the fallout from that. That's the extent of the answer I can give you."

Shore went on to admit that he and the other writers "second-guessed this decision constantly, still do."

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"Look, we loved throwing him in this world [of the earthquake] at the end and it worked for so many great stories. We've got four parallel but different stories going on in these last two episodes — five, actually — and once we were in this world, this is the one that worked for Melendez," he said. "But it wasn't like we were planning for his exit. It was more, 'This was the world we were in, and this is the story we were telling, and this is what worked within that world.'"

ABC has already greenlit The Good Doctor for a fourth season, though it currently does not have a premiere date, and it remains unclear if the coronavirus pandemic will impact production as it has with several other series.