If pure anticipation for “The Good Doctor” can be calibrated as a ratings measure, tonight's winter premiere return of the medical drama in Episode 11 of Season 3, “Fractured,” may be only the beginning of a series of episodes which take loyal fans on a zigzagging emotional ride for the rest of the season.

Dr. Shaun Murphy confronted his most painful personal crisis since his youth in Episode 10, “Friends and Family.” The performance from Freddie Highmore is not only Emmy-worthy, but also thrusts his character into realms of emotion that are rarely broached on broadcast television.

He faced his dying father and still spoke about his personal pain from the past, ending with the pledge: “I don't want to punish you anymore.” Unfortunately, the father reverts from what starts as acceptance and forgiveness into slurring blame and rejection.

The Good Doctor” is literally giving himself a flailing from the painful past and the parting of his father when Lea (Paige Spara) lends her comforting embrace through the night. A January 12 sneak peek video answers questions of intimacy on one level, but does not resolve the relationship issues for Dr.

Murphy going forward. According to a January 13 Good Housekeeping feature with Will Yun Lee, who portrays the open-hearted and up-front Dr. Park, the drama is going places throughout the rest of Season 3.

No hanky-panky with 'The Good Doctor'

The term “slept together” can have a literal translation, and in the preview clip, Shaun assures Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) that “protection” was neither used nor needed overnight in Lea’s embrace.

Dr. Murphy says only that “I was upset and Lea comforted me.” He does note, however, that his time in bed with Lea “felt different” than with Carly. He asserts that “Lea and I are just friends,” and Glassman reminds him that “she's made that very clear.”

Shaun’s mentor elaborates that actions can speak louder than words, but Lea has a history of erratic swings, however much she cares for Shaun. Shaun needed a friend with history and a personal understanding of family upheaval for this encounter.

On the other hand, Carly (Jasika Nicole) has defended their relationship and their right to keep it to themselves to everyone in the hospital circle. She stands up for Shaun as her boyfriend fervently and has proven her commitment. Few women, whether chief pathologists or not, would dive into 18 psychological journals to discover timed intermittent exposure as a way of building true trust and intimacy.

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All of her efforts lasted just eight seconds for "The Good Doctor," but Carly stands ready to move forward. Shaun's explanation for the incident will be the crux of mending their relationship. Fans are fairly 50-50 when it comes to these two ladies, so it's up to “The Good Doctor” to make his decision.

Even Will Yun Lee describes that one of the most exciting elements in being part of “The Good Doctor” is seeing which direction Highmore will go in a scene.

“You'll think he’ll play it one way (on paper), but he'll show up on set and play it four totally different ways.” Will praises further that he enjoys being a “spectator” and watching good actors craft scenes.

Going outside the walls

Will Yun Lee understands contrasting characters. Through 11 episodes of “Hawaii Five-O” from 2010-2017, the versatile actor was the sometimes lovable, funny, but still felonious, Sang Min. The character befriended the elite crime-fighters when it served his purpose, but on “The Good Doctor,” there is no doubt that Dr. Alex Park is one of the good guys.

He compares his relationship with his co-stars and their Vancouver shooting location to being like “a family.” He describes that “we huddle up like we’re around a campfire, and we hang out” after shooting stops.

Some very popular surgeons from “The Good Doctor” won't be hanging out as much. Last week, Christina Chang, who plays Dr. Audrey Lim, related in Good Housekeeping that her character and Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) are not going to be getting back together. If Neil’s last love relationship is a barometer, the surgical wizard could need stitches in his heart for a very long time.

Character layers revealed on 'The Good Doctor'

There are going to be more “complexities” revealed in the character of Alex Park, according to Lee. Some storylines and coming scenes “will take things outside the hospital.” Dr.

Murphy sometimes does his best work with frozen drink machines and confiscated airport materials, fans will recall. Dr. Park may also use this former police experience in future episodes. Tonight's episode features a surgery, free of anesthesia-- that should be interesting.

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