The Good Doctor: Season 6/ Episode 16 “The Good Lawyer” – Recap/ Review

This episode acts as a backdoor pilot for “The Good Lawyer,” which leads to the question: Will that potential show be worth seeing?


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Joni saying "We can’t change what’s happened, but maybe, just maybe, we can change what will happen."

This episode acts as a backdoor pilot for “The Good Lawyer,” which leads to the question: Will that potential show be worth seeing?

Aired (ABC) March 13, 2023
Director(s) Ruben Fleischer
Writer(s) David Shore, Liz Friedman
Newly Noted Characters
Joni’s Sister Bethlehem Million
Joni DeGroot Kennedy McMann
Janet Stewart Felicity Huffman
Previously Noted Characters
Shaun Freddie Highmore
Dr. Glassman Richard Schiff
Alex Will Yun Lee

Recap

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

A Little Background – Joni, Janet, Joni’s Sister

Joni and her sister had a hard childhood. Their dad died in a car accident when Joni was 8, which triggered her developing OCD. Shaun makes clear when Lea thinks it is just her being organized; it isn’t how most people misuse the term “OCD.” Joni has the kind of OCD where she often has to do or see something be done three times, or she’ll lock in place like the Tin Man without an oil can. Mainly because she thinks something bad will happen.

This, compounded by her mother’s drinking, the social workers, ending up with foster parents, and more, only further complicated Joni and her sister’s life. But then Janet, Joni’s future boss, took one of her cases, which helped things. It isn’t clear what the case was, the agreement, or any details most would want to know. However, this did inspire Joni to become a lawyer and work for Janet.

Background On The Case – Joni, Janet, Dr. Glassman, Shaun, Alex

So the gist of the case is, Alex and Shaun were in a car after a night out, and they came upon the plaintiff and their sister, who were in an accident. The sister was still in the vehicle, but due to the brother driving 70 in a 40 and not having their seat belt properly on, they were ejected from the vehicle. From Shaun’s examination, he saw a laceration which led him to believe the only way to save the plaintiff was to amputate his hand. The lawsuit deals with the question of whether that was medically necessary.

Originally, Shaun was advised to use Dr. Glassman’s lawyer, Janet, but with Janet talking about a settlement that includes six months of being supervised by another doctor and some form of admitting he is wrong? Shaun isn’t for that. When his license is threatened, he relents until he meets Joni.

Joni, who has a secluded office, is mainly a researcher because it isn’t believed she can be a good lawyer. We’re even told the only reason she still has a job is the threat to sue under the ADA. Yet, Shaun notes how detail-oriented she is, her knowledge of the law, and her understanding of his point of view regarding the implications of the trial. So, he advocates for her, repeatedly, to be his lawyer, even when she makes mistakes or her OCD causes her to stumble.

The Good Lawyer – Joni, Janet, Shaun

Felicity Huffman as Janet Stewart and Kennedy McMann as Joni DeGroot after Joni wins her case
“Felicity Huffman as Janet Stewart and Kennedy McMann as Joni DeGroot after Joni wins her case,” The Good Doctor, “The Good Lawyer,” directed by Ruben Fleischer, 2023, (ABC)

Ultimately, Joni does prevail, but not without the opposing counsel trying to use her OCD to throw her off. Also, she has the task of making the plaintiff look like an ungrateful ass and Shaun like a good, which she makes an easier task than it would be for most. But, it is because she gets Shaun. Heck, she gets him in a way that, if introduced earlier in the series, you’d think she would become his love interest.

That aside, Janet is quite proud of Joni, and considering Janet irrevocably changed Joni’s life as a child, this is high praise. But, it remains to be seen if Janet knows about her impact on Joni’s life beyond her ups and downs at Franklin, Maxwell, and Associates.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Would “The Good Lawyer” be on when “The Good Doctor” isn’t on, act as a lead-in, or what?

What Could Happen Next

  1. We likely won’t see a cross-over episode again for quite some time.
  2. We also won’t see a lawsuit again, probably ever

Collected Quote(s)

We can’t change what’s happened, but maybe, just maybe, we can change what will happen.
— Joni

Review


Community Rating: 100% (1 votes)


Highlights

A New Underdog/ Representation

Like Lea, I’d submit most people have the oversimplification that OCD means being anal about being organized. However, as McMann exhibits and Shaun explains, there is more to it than that. Which, sets up a wonderful new character to not only provide representation but, as shown with Shaun, depict how a system can adapt but simply doesn’t choose to.

Heck, if anything, it will try to keep you from having a front-facing role and relegate you to a task that you might be good at but doesn’t allow you to learn, grow, and be stimulated. But, rather than rehash Shaun’s situation, we have Joni dealing with not only having OCD but being a woman and in the legal field to top it all off. Which, as shown by opposing counsel, has no issue fighting dirty, especially when dealing with someone who may know the law better but has exploitable characteristics.

On The Fence

Not Fond Of The Sob Story

Is it wrong to wish that, when we get new depictions of representation, whether it is neurodivergent people, a person of color, or someone who isn’t cis-gendered, they didn’t have to have a sob story of some kind? This isn’t to downplay how Joni’s OCD was triggered by trauma and how others likely identify with that. It’s just it seems like between the death of a parent, poverty, or something like that, that’s the go-to so that a viewer can get emotionally invested – and it feels cheap in a way.

Almost as if, if the character didn’t have a rough upbringing, it would lead to an uphill battle of sorts for a viewer to connect with them. Which pushes the feeling of the actor not being trusted to pull off a compelling character without a crutch.

Wishing The Build Up Was Better

To me, they could have built up to this episode better. Shaun had his medical license threatened, yet that gets resolved in one episode. Never mind, they could have built up the plaintiff’s story and even why Shaun and Alex were hanging out. Not that it hasn’t been established that they talk, but I wouldn’t say they are hang out late at night type of friends. And it is with each detail so much feels rushed.

Bethlehem Million as Joni's Sister
“Bethlehem Million as Joni’s Sister,” The Good Doctor, “The Good Lawyer,” directed by Ruben Fleischer, 2023, (ABC)

I mean, even with Joni, what is her sister’s name? Are we going to get some idea if her sister is adopted or biological through her mom dating another man? You can’t just pop up a sister who clearly looks different and use that as a “Well, you have to watch the series to find out the answer to that question.”

[ninja_tables id=”46813″]

Joni saying "We can’t change what’s happened, but maybe, just maybe, we can change what will happen."
The Good Doctor: Season 6/ Episode 16 “The Good Lawyer” – Recap/ Review
Overall
While this backdoor pilot does present a potentially interesting series, regarding the series it is spinning off of, this by no means was one of the better episodes of the season.
Highlights
A New Underdog/ Representation
Disputable
Not Fond Of The Sob Story
Wishing The Build Up Was Better
77

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