At first glance, The Good Doctor seems like a pilot for a TV series we've seen seemingly dozens of times -- most successfully in E.R.
You've got the earnest, ambitious young resident, Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom -- and what happened to his career?), dealing with his new assignment at a hospital in Los Angeles. He's got himself a condo at the beach, which he is slowly furnishing and decorating. No real friends yet but, hey -- he's British and good-looking. Which means that a) he's new in town and b) that accent should be a real girl-magnet.
But the longer you watch The Good Doctor, the more something seems off about Dr. Blake. He finds himself drawn to a teenage patient named Diane (Riley Keough), hospitalized for a kidney infection that's easily treated with antibiotics. She obviously has a crush on him, which seems to supersede the relationship she has with her self-involved boyfriend.
But then she's released from the hospital -- and Dr. Blake finds his life consists of dealing with a demanding nurse (Taraji P. Henson) and patients who don't fawn over him the way his teen charge did. So he accepts an invitation to dinner at her house, where the girl's grateful parents want to thank him and where, he believes, he'll have a chance to re-engage with Diane.
She's not there, however, having gone out with her swinish boyfriend. So Dr. Blake does something unethical -- indeed, unconscionable -- that causes her infection to flare up, landing her back in the hospital.
Lance Daly's film builds from there into any medical consumer's nightmare: the doctor, a figure of authority, abusing his access and privileges for his own personal ends, putting the lives of others at risk, all while maintaining the guise of the concerned healer.
Not that he doesn't face jeopardy: While he doesn't actually get caught when things go drastically wrong, he does confront a threat in the form of a sleazy orderly (Michael Pena), who momentarily gets him over a barrel.
Bloom, seemingly bland and affectless (except when he's sucking up to his supervisor, played by Rob Morrow), keeps you watching exactly because he keeps surprising with the drastic and unexpected steps this doctor takes. He shifts from sneaky to haughty with a look.
And director Daly uses that chilly exterior to hook you into the often preposterous doings of The Good Doctor. It's just plausible enough to give you a good case of the chills.
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