An earthquake that happened in the first part of Season 3 finale of The Good Doctor left fans worried about the fate of Dr. Neil Melendez, who suffered an injury to his abdomen.
Warning: Spoilers for the finale of The Good Doctor Season 3.
Our worst fears were confirmed last night in part 2 when Dr. Melendez (played by Nicholas Gonzalez) died of irreversible septic shock.
The crack surgeon was able to say goodbye to Dr. Claire Brown, who heartbreakingly failed to save him on the operating table and who had just realized she was in love with him a few episodes ago.
So why did Dr. Neil Melendez have to die?
The show’s runner David Shore has revealed that Dr. Melendez’s time was up as soon as the writers decide to injure him in the earthquake.
“I can tell you it was a really, really difficult choice,” to kill off Dr. Melendez, Shore told Entertainment Weekly, adding, “However, he also maintained that emotion had to be kept out of the decision. He argued that medical dramas need to have people die regularly; this includes both guest casts and regulars.
“Dramatically, that is what a medical show is all about. It’s all about the risk of losing somebody and what you’re willing to do in those circumstances,” he added.
He explained that losing someone that was so important and so loved on the show would enable the writers to explore themes involved with that kind of loss.
Speaking to EW, Nicholas Gonzalez said he first heard the news he’d be leaving the show about two-thirds of the way into the current season.
“It was pretty much right after the new year [when] I was informed,” according to the hunky actor.
Gonzalez admitted he was sad to say goodbye to Dr. Melendez after having spent three years working on the character.
He said Melendez was, “someone I felt that still had a lot more to say, but there wasn’t always that opportunity, and I feel like we really built a beautiful world around that character.”
In the end, the death was essentially down to a creative decision.
Fans were shocked at the death of Dr. Neil Melendez
Many fans took to Twitter to express their outrage at this “creative decision.”
A “fictional death I will never get over,” said one user.
Another fan refused to believe Dr. Melendez was dead until a funeral takes place.
I refuse to believe Neil @IamNickGonzalez is dead. Like wtf. Claire just walked out & cried & Lim just tells her “we should have a drink sometime”.. like wtf! He deserved the whole damn hospital in that room crying. So until I see a funeral I don’t believe it! 😤 #TheGoodDoctor
— grace_мarιe♡ (@_GMarie24) March 31, 2020
Fans also praised The Good Doctor actors for “how absolutely incredible and heartfelt performance this episode was. I am utterly speechless.”
Tonight, @WillYunLee hit me in the feels harder than anyone in ages and I’m still bawling. What an absolutely incredible and heartfelt performance this episode was. I am utterly speechless. #TheGoodDoctor pic.twitter.com/FodbV79TPP
— 🅃🄾🄼 🄰🄲 (@iamtomcee) March 31, 2020
Still another fan suggested she would not be watching any more without Dr. Melendez.
— Sierra Rose (@DiabeticRosie) March 31, 2020
The show has continuously and successfully struck a balance between handling medical emergencies and dealing with character’s stressful and upsetting personal issues.
Earlier in the season, Dr. Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore) had to deal with his father’s death.
The autistic Dr. Shaun has also grappled with developing romantic relationships this season.
The Good Doctor airs 10/9c on ABC.