Medical dramas aren't known for pulling punches when it comes to depressing topics. They're often extremely depressing affairs. But what makes them so gratifying to watch is how the characters, while in the face of profound loss and devastation, manage to hold their heads up regardless of what tragedies befall them. That's why fans of The Good Doctor are so concerned with how Maddie died, as well as with how her passing affected her father, Dr. Aaron Glassman.
How did Maddie die in 'The Good Doctor'? An assumed overdose.
Dr. Glassman is haunted by the specter of his daughter, Maddie, who began experimenting with recreational drug use. Frustrated with how to best deal with his daughter's growing addiction, he would bargain with her and threaten to no longer provide for her if she continued using drugs.
Their relationship was a fractured one as Dr. Glassman spent most of his time acting as President of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.
One night, when he found Maddie high again, he threw her out of the house, assuming she would spend the night at Jessica Preston's home (the in-house attorney at the hospital who befriended the young girl) or at her Aunt's house, as her mother wasn't home that evening.
Instead, she passed away that evening, presumably from an overdose. Her death haunts Dr. Glassman till this very day.
Aaron later hallucinates his daughter after he's diagnosed with a brain tumor. After the tumor's resected, he starts to see visions of her and the two have arguments about their relationship and what transpired up until her death. After they get into a verbal altercation, Maddie ultimately tells her father that she loves him. Aaron then passes out and goes to sleep. When he comes to, Maddie is nowhere to be seen.
Dr. Glassman's guilt over the loss of his daughter could explain why he takes on the patriarchal, father figure of the hospital so well. Prior to Maddie leaving the house, Dr. Glassman's wife suggested they take their daughter to rehab, but Aaron had insisted he was perfectly capable of "fixing" her himself.
It could be why he so intently watches over the staff so much, including the show's main character, Dr. Shaun Murphy, who has been diagnosed with savant syndrome and autism. Sometimes, Dr. Glassman is a little too overbearing with his affection and watchful eye, to the point where Shaun has to ask him to step back.
The way he lost his daughter and his previous "hands-off" approach to fatherhood could be the reason why he's trying so hard to make amends for being a workaholic and losing his child to an overdose-induced suicide.
What date/time do new episodes of 'The Good Doctor' come on?
The ABC drama airs new episodes on Monday at 10 p.m. EST. The show is currently on its fourth season, with previous episodes available on Hulu, in case you were in a streaming mood and wanted to catch up on what happened previously. Or rewatch the scene between Aaron and Maddie again so you can feel your heart drop into your stomach.