On the Season 3 finale of The Good Doctor, Dr. Neil Melendez dies from septic shock. But is he really dead?
Unfortunately for all those Melendez fans out there, it appears that the fan-favorite actor will not be returning to The Good Doctor; his character is, in fact, dead.
Nicholas Gonzalez Opens up About Leaving the Show
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, actor Nicholas Gonzalez shared that he found out Melendez was going to die two-thirds of the way through the season; “so it was pretty much right after the new year I was informed.” He expressed to TV Line that it wasn’t his decision to leave; it was a creative decision that “just kind of came at a good time.”
Asked about his reaction to his character’s death, Gonzalez said, “Part of me is sad to see a character I respected a lot go, 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, as much as can be in a show like ours where we’re still a procedural as well… This has been an amazing whirlwind ride, and I’m sad to see him go. I think there’s definitely going to be a void left there, but I’m excited to see what everyone does with it.”
Gonzalez went on to explain that the punch was all the more difficult given the fact that his character’s death came just a couple of episodes after Claire realized she’s in love with him.
As for the filming experience– Gonzalez said it was emotional. “Every take, every bit of film that was going through the camera, was me slowly saying goodbye to something that felt like home, it feels like, for longer than three years. So that last day of work, [director and showrunner David Shore] very graciously had everything in order for the most part, and my last scene was the last scene of the episode, and it was a very tear-filled goodbye with a lot of people that I loved creating with over these last three episodes.”
Gonzalez, who played Alex Santiago on the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd, kicked off his career in 1998 after moving to Los Angeles. He played Fidel Castro’s son in the Lifetime film My Little Assassin and appeared in the film Scenes of the Crime, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001.
His leading role in Showtime’s Resurrection Blvd premiered in June 2000. He has since appeared on a number of popular shows, like Walker, Texas Ranger, That ’70s Show, Off the Map, and Melrose Place.
The actor tells TV Line, “I’m immensely proud of how incredibly received [the show] has been. When I am stopped about the show, it’s not just because I’m “that guy” on the show on TV. It’s because everybody’s got a story — a personal story on why this show has hit them so hard, or what it means to them or a family member, with or without autism. To be a part of something like that, that felt bigger than all of us, yet so small when we were together making it, is probably one of the most unique experiences about this.”