'The Good Doctor' Showrunner Reveals Series Ending With Season 7 Wasn't Their Decision

The Freddie Highmore-starring series' seventh and final season premieres on ABC on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Dr. Shaun Murphy's career at the prestigious San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital could have continued "forever." Opening up about The Good Doctor's abrupt cancellation at ABC after seven seasons, series co-showrunner and executive producer Liz Friedman revealed that the decision to end the hit medical drama was the network's and "ABC told us it was time."

"Why end it now? Well, ABC told us it was time to end it," Friedman told TV Insider. "I mean, I feel like I could tell stories about Shaun forever. Certainly, as long as the amazing Freddie Highmore was interested in playing him, I was happy to write for him."

Friedman's co-showrunner and executive producer David Shore mostly agreed with that take. Asked during the drama's panel at Saturday's Television Critics Tour whether the show was naturally reaching its end or if its cancellation was solely a network decision, Shore admitted that "it was a bit of both, I guess." Shore explained that "years ago, when I was doing another show, I was asked, 'Do you know how this show is going to end?' I was asked that early on. And I said, 'Yes, I know exactly how this show will end. One day, I will get a phone call from the network telling me the show is ending.' And that they just will milk it for all it's worth, but on that show and on this show, we've been lucky enough to be able to plan the ending we want to do."

Originally debuting on ABC in 2017, The Good Doctor stars Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young autistic surgeon who relocates from a quiet country life to join the surgical unit at the prestigious San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Despite being a hit for the network, ABC confirmed on Jan. 11 that The Good Doctor had been canceled and would conclude with Season 7.

Although Shore admitted Saturday that "only doing 10 episodes is unfortunate," with Friedman explaining that they "were initially planning for 13, and then we ended up doing 10," they both said that they are happy they can end the series on their terms. Speaking with TV Insider, Friedman said, "We are very grateful that they told us that in a timely manner, which allows us to decide the terms that we're going to end it on to craft a great ending and a great culmination of Shaun Murphy's story, but that's how that came about." 

She added that while The Good Doctor is coming to a close, "to me the way I look at this is Shaun Murphy's adventures are going to continue in the universe. I just have to find a way to close the sense that he's doing it for us. But in my mind, Shaun is going to be out there forever doing the amazing things that he does and seeing things in his totally unique way."

Along with Highmore, The Good Doctor stars Richard Schiff, Fiona Gubelmann, Will Yun Lee, Christina Chang, Paige Spara, Bria Samoné Henderson, and Noah Galvin. Season 7, the final season, is scheduled to premiere on ABC on Tuesday, Feb. 20.