The Good Doctor final episode leaves fans in tears with another major death

After seven seasons, The Good Doctor has wrapped up its final case and aired its last episode, with a major character death leaving fans in floods of tears.

It was announced in January that the popular US medical drama would be ending this year, concluding the story of Dr Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), a gifted surgeon with autism, and his colleagues at Saint Bonaventure Hospital.

Its final episode aired in the US on Tuesday evening (21 May), and included callbacks to previous seasons, triumphant plot shifts and a goodbye to another fan favourite, months after the tragic death of Dr Asher Wolke (Noah Galvin).

Spoilers to follow – you have been warned!

The series finale saw the death of Shaun’s longtime mentor and champion at the hospital, Dr Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff), who had previously shared that his cancer had returned. This time, however, it was terminal.

After trying to convince Glassman to undergo a rare treatment that could add a year to his life, Shaun eventually accepts his mentor’s decision to decline the procedure and enjoy the three to six months he had left with his family.

Later, Shaun and Glassman are seen riding a carousel, something that featured frequently in the show’s first season. Then a shot shows Shaun on it alone, indicating that Glassman has died.

The Good Doctor – Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy (ABC / screengrab)
The Good Doctor – Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy (ABC / screengrab)

A flash-forward to the future reveals that Shaun and his friend and colleague Claire (Antonia Thomas) run a foundation in their late teacher’s honour: the Dr Aaron Glassman Foundation for neurodiversity in medicine.

The episode wrapped with Shaun giving a TED Talk, in which he recalls how Glassman was a friend to him when others had doubts about whether he belonged.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t want me to be a surgeon – at Saint Bonaventure Hospital, or anywhere,” he told the audience.

“Because I was different. I couldn’t make eye contact. I didn’t know how to lie. I made people uncomfortable. But someone believed in me. Dr Aaron Glassman was my friend.”

The Good Doctor – Richard Schiff as Dr Glassman (ABC / screengrab)
The Good Doctor – Richard Schiff as Dr Glassman (ABC / screengrab)

In response, fans of the show have shared their tearful reactions on social media.

“The Good Doctor finale has me in shambles,” one person wrote on X, while another added: “The final episode of The Good Doctor is taking me out. Every 5 minutes I’m crying again.”

“If you didn’t cry, watching the finale of #thegooddoctor, then you watch television wrong,” a different viewer wrote on the social media site.

Another X user noted that the series had already seen its fair share of tragedy this year, with the death of Dr Asher Wolke (Noah Galvin) after a homophobic and antisemitic attack.

“I’m still grieving for Asher, why are y’all doing this,” the comment reads alongside a GIF of a woman wiping away tears.

The Good Doctor is available to stream in the UK on NOW, with some seasons on Channel 4 and Prime Video.