ABC medical drama The Good Doctor began expanding outside of Dr. Shaun Murphy's hospital stories with a potential spinoff earlier this year. The backdoor pilot for The Good Lawyer introduced the character of Joni DeGroot, a lawyer struggling with OCD who helped Shaun after he was sued for malpractice. Nancy Drew alum Kennedy McMann and former Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman were slated to headline the show if it got a series order. Unfortunately, the end of the actors strike didn't mean the offshoot would move forward, as the project joined other TV shows in being cancelled.
Due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA writers strikes, many scripted TV shows in production were put on pause. Then, there were shows that were still waiting to get greenlit. If you’d been holding onto hope for The Good Doctor legal spinoff, then you'll surely be disappointed by the recent cancellation news. It was Deadline who reported that The Good Lawyer will not be moving forward. The backdoor pilot was an episode of the parent show's sixth season, which bore the same name.
As for why the show isn’t getting greenlit, Soaps says The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger wanted to cut $2 billion in costs with scripted series, as they are pricier to produce than unscripted. There’s seemingly a limited amount of shelf space for new shows right now. The only new scripted series that’s been saved from being axed by ABC is High Potential, based on the popular French detective series HIIP. But that upcoming series won’t be launched until next fall.
The Good Lawyer is not the only show that faces cancellation after the strike. Months after its Season 1 finale on ABC, The Rookie: Feds has been cancelled. I can imagine this being distressing news to fans who loved watching all 22 episodes of Niecy Nash playing Simone Clarke. The spinoff may not have ended on a cliffhanger, but it still felt like something was missing with the need for closure before being forced to say goodbye to Nash's Clarke. Hopefully, her character could still make appearances on its parent series, which has been renewed for its sixth season.
There are more new ABC drama projects that won’t see the light of day. The medical drama The Hurt Unit, about a team of trauma nurses and surgeons who treat patients not making it to the hospital in time, is a pilot that won’t move forward. The legal series Judgment is another pilot that hasn’t been greenlit as well as Public Defenders. Keeping It Together, the U.S. remake of the British comedy series Motherland, has also been passed on by ABC. While good things are expected to come from the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike, it’s a shame that so many pilots were lost.
While The Good Lawyer has fallen in line with other pilot episodes that won’t get a series order, I do recommend using a Netflix subscription to watch The Extraordinary Attorney Woo which features Woo Young-woo, a great TV character on the spectrum, working through her ASD struggles to be a great attorney. With almost the same plot as TGL, it has been renewed for Season 2 and is expected to arrive in 2024. Keep an eye out on your 2023 TV schedule so you don’t miss out on any premieres.