The first announcement about ABC producing a The Good Doctor spinoff titled The Good Lawyer was made back in August last year, in which we were given some cursory information about the overall premise and the two main characters. TV Line just announced the two actors who have been cast in the roles of Joni and Janet.
Up and coming lawyer Joni DeGroot will be played by Kennedy McMann, her mentor Janet Stewart will be portrayed by Felicity Huffman. It’s refreshing to see that The Good Lawyer has tried for diverse casting since actress Kennedy McMann herself is living with OCD. She is probably best known for her role in the CW’s recent mystery drama Nancy Drew.
Felicity Huffman has been around the acting curcuit for quite a while longer, well known for her long-running role in Desperate Housewifes in the 2000’s, more recently also in American Crime. There’s a bit of controversy surrounding this casting choice as she was implicated and criminally charged in a college entrance exam cheating scandal and fraud crime. As per Wikipedia, in 2019 she served 11 days in prison with an additional fine and enforced community service.
Some fans were concerned that an actor with a criminal backstory was cast in the role of Janet, but we should keep in mind that Felicity Huffman was hired for her acting skills and for being a good fit for the role and not for her personal choices. There are many other actors in the industry who have criminal pasts who turned their lives around and are skilled at what they do.
In addition to what we already know about the show’s premise and its characters, the following was given as additional or confimatory information in the TV Line article:
- Joni and Janet will be introduced as characters in what they call a backdoor pilot on ABC on March 6, 2023 at 10/9c. The episode was written by co-showrunners David Shore and Liz Friedman.
Presumably, this will be a more or less regular episode of The Good Doctor whose A-plot involves Joni and Janet as part of Shaun’s legal storyline in that episode.
- The official character breakdown explains that Shaun “seeks legal representation to help him win a case and puts his faith in a promising, young lawyer who has obsessive compulsive disorder.”
- As for Joni, the character information from August was reiterated as, “Living with OCD, Joni has never wanted to be treated differently. While her symptoms take a toll on her personal and professional life, her attention to detail allows her to see cases through a different lens.”
- Janet is described as “a highly regarded attorney and partner at the law firm with a fierce intellect and dry wit. A seasoned veteran, Janet has represented Dr. Aaron Glassman in several legal matters over the years, so he turns to her to represent his beloved protégé. But when Shaun declares that he wants Joni to represent him, Janet is forced to let Joni take lead on the case.”