When The Good Doctor star Nicholas Gonzalez decided to pursue his love of acting and improv rather than something directly related to his English degree from Stanford University, he knew he had a long road ahead of him. What he didn’t know was that when he did finally land the Golden Ticket role 20 years later, he’d take a pretty deep dive into it.
That’s because playing Dr. Neil Melendez on the medical drama has basically had him believing he is a doctor at times… Or almost believing it at any rate.
We caught up with the actor this week, and we couldn’t help but ask him whether having played a doc for a full season made him feel like he knew anything more about the medical profession.
“Oh yeah, I feel like I know so much, which is probably really dangerous,” he revealed. “I do remember, even after the first season, there was a car accident and I just kind of raced to the scene thinking I was going to do something and very quickly realized that yeah, I actually don’t know this.”
What Gonzalez did know how to do is act calm and make everyone else around him relax some, which is often half the battle in a situation like that. After all, panicking never really helped anyone, although we imagine a couple of people might have been freaked out had Gonzalez actually rushed through the scene screaming, “I’m a doctor!”
“I almost did,” he laughed, recalling the incident. “It’s hard not to raise my hand when someone asks on an airplane or something.”
You can’t really blame him. His dad is a retired dermatologist while his brother specializes in bariatric surgery, so it seems like medicine runs in his family. That’s probably why he easily recalls his favourite surgery from the show’s first season, too:
“Probably when we removed the fetus from a mother’s womb, removed a tumour and put it back in. That was pretty amazing and the fact that they’re actually doing that kind of surgery blows my mind,” he says. “But now they’re doing it even differently where they’re doing it with a laparoscope, where they don’t even open the womb, they just puncture the womb with the tools.”
Obviously this is something of a dream job for Gonzales. While he’s also had roles on shows like How to Get Away With Murder, Pretty Little Liars, Narcos and Being Mary Jane in recent years, he admits that he’s taken some deep dives into the medical community after getting a new script.
“I’m super into it. Whenever I get these scripts, a lot of time I usually have my brother look it over too and we discuss what the actual procedure is and how it would work and all that,” he wraps. “It’s something I’m definitely interested in. It’s funny, when you watch the show it’s maybe not necessarily necessary, but to me for the representation in the world it is.”
Well it seems to be working for him so far—he is one of the show’s fan favourites heading into the second season. So keep it up, we say. Because doesn’t the world always needs more fake doctors? Okay maybe not. But his passion for the role is simply inspiring.