‘The Good Doctor’ Writer Explains Asher Wolke’s Tragic Death


The Big Picture

  • Unexpected death in
    The Good Doctor
    Season 7 shocks fans due to hate-driven attack.
  • Dr. Wolke’s demise highlights the struggle of reconciling identities in tragic circumstances.
  • The show’s handling of Asher’s death opens a conversation about anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ attacks.

Throughout the first six seasons, The Good Doctor has been primarily focusing on the up-and-coming surgeon Dr. Sean Murphy (Freddie Highmore) and his experiences at the prestigious San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. The ABC medical drama has also introduced viewers to some beloved characters, all of whom have helped increase the show’s undeniable appeal. Now that the long-running series is coming to a close with Season 7, the show has once again left fans speechless following a major character’s death. Writer Adam Scott Weissman explains why the fifth episode, titled “Who at Peace,” features an unexpected death and how it is such a “heroic note” for the character.

During an interview with The Wrap, Weissman explained their choice to have Dr. Asher Wolke (Noah Galvin) killed in a hate-driven attack, saying, “We came into this [episode] with the thought that life doesn’t always have happy endings. Sometimes things happen suddenly and in a tragic way. Oftentimes [these issues] become real when it happens to someone you know, or someone we love on TV, so this horrible thing happens that also brings it home for our viewers.”

Halfway through the final season, Dr. Wolke — a character first introduced during Season 4 — reluctantly returns to his Jewish upbringing after growing up queer in a community that has greatly influenced his views on both marriage and religion. While he helps fulfill his dying patient’s wish to get married, he is also second-guessing whether he is ready to have a wedding of his own with his boyfriend of two years, Jerome (Giacomo Baessato). As the episode progresses, he encounters thugs vandalizing the synagogue, which he tries to scare away. However, while Jerome is at a restaurant waiting to pop the million-dollar question, Dr. Wolke’s life is cut short after a hate-driven attack that led to his shocking demise.

“Asher’s final line when he says, ‘I’m not just a Jew, I’m a gay one, too.’ Those were two identities that prior to that he hadn’t been able to reconcile. He felt like he had to choose, which is what he is sort of going through in this episode,” Weissman added. “Him being able to come to that conclusion that I can be both of these two things was super important to us. It’s a sad note, but it’s also a high note in that it’s a heroic moment for him where he embraces all sides of his identity, and does it to protect someone else and to protect the sacred space.”

Dr. Asher Wolke Did Not Have To Die That Way, or Did He?

Dr. Asher Wolke’s death could easily fall under the “bury your gays” trope, which Weissman and the writers were aware of. Weissman also added in the interview that they are “conscious” of the way they handled the episode. Asher’s death was also deemed unnecessary, given the brighter future that the writers could have given him. With Dr. Wolke about to get engaged to Jerome, the series could at least make him live his best life until the very end. But with Asher being both Jewish and gay, the episode offered The Good Doctor the opportunity to open a conversation about the rising cases of anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ attacks in other parts of the world.

As Wessman described it himself, such issues can only become real when they happen to someone you know or someone you love on television. Episode 5 concluded with a title card that reads, “If you or anyone you know has experienced antisemitism, racism, anti-LGBTQ+ related incidents or hate crimes, or if you want to learn more about what you can do to stop hate, please visit splcenter.org.”

The Good Doctor Season 7 airs Tuesdays on ABC. The past seasons are also available to stream on Hulu.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *