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When the Doctor is Sick, or We Could Say, the Medical Antihero

Published onDec 23, 2023
When the Doctor is Sick, or We Could Say, the Medical Antihero

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  • This Release (#1) was created on Oct 22, 2023 ()
  • The latest Release (#2) was created on Dec 22, 2023 ().


The trend of featuring anti-hero protagonists in contemporary television series has become well established. In crime genre shows, the protagonist often adopts certain villainous characteristics, resulting in their anti-heroic status. Despite being a flawed character, the protagonist manages to retain a good-natured demeanor. In medical TV series the antagonist isn’t embodied through a person, but rather, it is the disease itself. The illness is the adversary that the doctor is duty-bound to vanquish to rescue the patient. Thus, to fully comprehend the construction of an anti-hero protagonist within a medical drama, we must examine the intermingling between the main character and their nemesis: the illness. Consequently, the anti-heroic doctor is the sick doctor. It is a protagonist made defective or flawed by being affected by the same enemy he must fight. As spectators we will find ourselves looking at an imperfect doctor because he is sick and whose illness makes him apparently unable to be effective on patients. Starting from these premises, I will try to identify how the figure of the anti-heroic doctor is constructed as a flawed character in two TV series: House, M.D. (2004-2012), The Good Doctor (2017-).


Medical drama; TV series; antihero; narratology; television studies.

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