Sequel to the announcement that ABC was developing a spin-off to The Good Doctor titled The Good Lawyer, the network has now revealed it has ordered a backdoor episode to set up the potential series with an air date also set. The legal spinoff of the hit medical drama was originally planned to be introduced in an embedded pilot, and it is exciting to see ABC progress with its development. The Good Lawyer will feature female leads with actresses Kennedy McMann and Felicity Huffman cast to portray a unique boss-subordinate relationship similar to that between Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) and Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff) in the parent show. McMann and Huffman will first be introduced to fans of the show in guest capacities in an upcoming episode of The Good Doctor.
The episode titled “The Good Lawyer” will see Dr. Murphy select a young lawyer named Joni DeGroot (McMann) over a more experienced one to help him win a case. DeGroot battles with obsessive-compulsive disorder which proves a blessing in disguise as it sharpens her eye for detail giving her an edge over her more experienced colleagues. Similar to The Good Doctor where the lead character is on the autism spectrum, the spin-off will equally explore how living with some form of invisible disability affects one’s professional and private life. ABC describes DeGroot’s character as “a brilliant, funny, and self-aware lawyer who is relatively new to her prestigious law firm when she takes Shaun’s case. Living with OCD, Joni has never wanted to be treated differently. While her symptoms take a toll on her personal and professional life, her attention to detail allows her to see cases through a different lens.”
Huffman will be stepping into the role of Janet Stewart, DeGroot’s boss who is recommended to Dr. Shaun by Dr. Glassman as the legal representative he should look to for the best chance at winning the case given her impeccable track record working for Glassman. Dr. Shaun, however, puts his money on DeGroot. Described as “a highly regarded attorney” who possesses “a fierce intellect and dry wit,” Stewart seems a sharp contrast to Glassman’s kinder disposition.
Since her days as a child actor, McMann has been vocal about her struggles with OCD, and it will be interesting to see her draw from real-life experiences to portray this new role. She is best known for playing the titular role in CW‘s Nancy Drew. She recently appeared in a recurring role in the Hulu series, Tell Me Lies. Huffman is an ABC staple known for her parts in American Crime, Sports Night, and Desperate Housewives for which she earned an Emmy Award. She recently starred in the Netflix series, When They See Us.
The Good Doctor co-showrunners David Shore and Liz Friedman penned the screenplay for the backdoor pilot from which Ruben Fleischer will direct. The medical drama from Sony Pictures Television and ABC Signature is executive produced by Shore, Friedman, Highmore, Daniel Dae Kim, Erin Gunn, Thomas L. Moran, David Hoselton, Peter Blake, among others.
Good Lawyer pilot will air as part of Season 6 of Good Doctor and will premiere on March 6.