With New Season, ‘The Good Doctor’ Adds Character With Autism

Freddie Highmore plays Dr. Shaun Murphy, a surgeon with autism, on ABC’s “The Good Doctor.” In its final season, the show will add a new character with autism played by an actress who is on the spectrum. (Jeff Weddell/ABC)

An actress with autism will take on a prominent role in a primetime network drama.

Kayla Cromer, who is on the spectrum, will join ABC’s “The Good Doctor” for its final season.

The series focuses on the experiences of Dr. Shaun Murphy, a surgeon with autism. Cromer will play Charlene “Charlie” Lukaitis, a third-year medical student with autism. Charlie is excited to work with Murphy, whom she has idolized since she saw a viral video of him saving a child’s life.

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While “The Good Doctor” delves into how developmental disability affects Murphy, the show has been criticized for starring Freddie Highmore, an actor without autism, as Murphy.

Still, “The Good Doctor” has brought significant visibility to autism and the show has attracted more than 6 million viewers only during its 2022-2023 season. and a study 2019 found that watching even a single episode of the show provided more accurate and positive knowledge about autism than a university lecture on the topic.

Cromer made history in 2020 when she starred in Freeform’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.” With his role on the show, which lasted two seasons, she became the first person on the spectrum to play a character with autism in a regular role on an American television series.

“Words cannot express the overwhelming gratitude I feel in taking on the role of Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Lukaitis, on ‘The Good Doctor.’ I love her and I know you will too! Cromer recently posted. “It is truly an honor to provide authentic representation to the show and viewers.”

The seventh and final season of “The Good Doctor” will premiere on February 20 at 10 pm ET on ABC.

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