After four years, Antonia Thomas is saying goodbye to her starring role of Dr. Claire Browne in ABC’s ‘The Good Doctor.’ This medical drama has been renewed for a fifth season, consisting of cast members like Freddie Highmore, Hill Harper, Richard Schiff, Christina Chang, Fiona Gubelmann, Will Yun Lee, and Paige Spara. With strength in its delayed viewing, at a rate of 397% above its live broadcast, and a following of 12.1 million viewers per episode in Season 4, the show’s renewal was no surprise.
The true shock to fans, however, is the news of Thomas’ departure from the cast. Despite her decision to leave Dr. Browne and ‘The Good Doctor,’ to “explore different creative opportunities,” including some behind the camera, Thomas has expressed willingness to return as a guest star in future episodes. The best way to describe her sentiments regarding this new chapter would be bittersweet: “It’s just been a whole different journey, a scary and a wonderful journey, and I’m really, really grateful to the show for giving me that because I certainly feel like a different person from the person that I was when I stepped into the pilot,” Thomas said.
As for the effect of this development, ‘The Good Doctor’ plans to promote two of its recurring actors, Noah Galvin and Bria Samoné Henderson, to series regulars in the coming season. Nevertheless, Thomas will be missed among cast and crew, alike.