TV & Movies

The Good Lawyer star opens up on ‘debilitating OCD’

The Good Lawyer: Kennedy McMann discusses her role

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ABC’s planned spin-off would also star Felicity Huffman as Joni Degroot’s mentor, a highly respected attorney named Janet Stewart. The newcomers will be introduced in the next episode of The Good Doctor’s sixth season, and guest star Kennedy McMann has recently opened up about her deep personal connection to her exciting new role.

McMann has revealed she grew up with “debilitating OCD” and has had many similar experiences to her character Joni.

A new trailer was recently revealed showcasing her struggles to rise through the ranks while her boss Janet is challenged by her compulsive behaviour.

“I think it’s a really wonderful opportunity to get some insight into what people with OCD live with every day,” McMann explained.

“I grew up with OCD, with debilitating OCD. And I’ve recovered a lot since then. But it’s a huge part of who I am.”

The Good Doctor has already shined a light on people living with autism in the workplace through Dr Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore).

However, McMann is able to lend her own experiences to the character, who is hoped to pop in and out in future seasons and even head up her own spin-off for the ABC network.

“So to be a part of something on this scale that’s representing OCD, I knew very early on that I would love to be a part of it,” she continued.

“To bring, hopefully, what is a genuine and nuanced look at what it’s like to live with OCD.”

“I think we’re doing something meaningful with The Good Doctor,” executive producer David Shore added. “And the network wanted to expand that.”

In the trailer, Joni explains more about her condition to an understanding Shaun, but Janet is frustrated when she can’t help herself from adjusting her books in her office.

“Most people’s brains prioritise details, weed out what seems unimportant,” she says. “My brain doesn’t.”

Fans of the franchise have applauded McMann’s casting, as Highmore has received some criticism for portraying an autistic doctor despite not being neurodivergent himself.

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When the interview was posted on YouTube, user Robin Ronin commented: “As much as I like Freddie Highmore, I’m relieved that this time, they gave the role to someone who actually has OCD.

“I understand why many of my fellow autistics are uncomfortable with Highmore’s role in TGD, as it can feel a bit dehumanising.

“I personally don’t mind Highmore and do recognize bits of myself in his acting, but I do hope that this never happens again and that disabilities will be portrayed by people who actually have those disabilities.

“This is a big step in the right direction, and it makes me very happy!”

“(Also, please don’t give me any comments about ‘well vampires aren’t played by actual vampires now, are they??’.

“Autistic people are not made-up monsters. There are so many autistic actors out there, they actually exist, and they’re perfect for these kinds of roles. Stop dehumanising autistics by comparing them to monsters. Thanks.)”

After the backdoor pilot coming up next Monday, it’s hoped Joni will prove popular enough to lead her own series to be launched later this year.

The Good Doctor season 6 continues Mondays on ABC in the USA. A UK release date is yet to be announced.

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