Kennedy McMann is 'The Good Lawyer' on 'The Good Doctor'

  • Lawyer Joni DeGroot (Kennedy McMann), right, represents Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) in "The Good Lawyer" episode of "The Good Doctor" at 9 p.m. Monday, March 13.

    Lawyer Joni DeGroot (Kennedy McMann), right, represents Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) in "The Good Lawyer" episode of "The Good Doctor" at 9 p.m. Monday, March 13. Courtesy of ABC

By Jay Bobbin
Posted3/11/2023 6:00 AM

With her final round of "Nancy Drew" yet to air, Kennedy McMann already may be on to her next series.

Having played detective for what will have been four seasons (with the last one slated to begin May 31 on The CW), the actress is tackling another of television drama's most popular professions. "The Good Lawyer" is a proposed spinoff of "The Good Doctor" that presents its pilot as a new episode of the latter ABC show Monday, March 13, with McMann playing an attorney retained by Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) to represent him in a legal matter.


"I'm feeling like a lucky lady," the pleasant McMann says of her possibility of leaping from one series directly into another. "When I heard about this spinoff, it definitely caught my attention. David Shore and Liz Friedman, who wrote the episode and run 'The Good Doctor,' asked to meet with me in Vancouver; I was still filming 'Nancy Drew,' and they shoot there as well. We met, even before we knew what was happening with 'Nancy,' just to see if it was a fit ... and it went extraordinarily well."

However, McMann adds, "I don't think anybody really knew if it was going to work out. Then, when we got our ('Nancy Drew') cancellation news, it opened up the opportunity to do 'The Good Lawyer' -- which is lovely, as much as I was really sad to see my time at 'Nancy' end. It was a really complex, emotional experience. I think all actors feel excited to step into something new after playing the same character for such a long time, which I really did enjoy."

Starring with McMann in "The Good Lawyer" pilot is "Desperate Housewives" alum Felicity Huffman as Janet Stewart, returning to ABC (and, potentially, weekly TV) as a partner in the firm McMann's Joni DeGroot works for. Those characters are "at odds with one another" initially, McMann reports. "I think they're going to have a tumultuous journey that is really compelling."

Another big lure of "The Good Lawyer" for McMann is the chance to depict Joni's struggle with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), a condition that McMann was challenged by herself in younger years. "It was a big part of my life," she reflects, "and it made me who I am."

McMann hopes "The Good Lawyer" will keep the tone of its parent show if it goes to series. "There's so much you can do that can be so impactful, but also welcoming to all sorts of viewers," she reasons. "('The Good Doctor') has excellent morals and teaches interesting lessons, and I think that pairing allows it to have great mass appeal. I'm really excited for what's cooking."

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