Monday’s episode of The Good Doctor marked the unceremonious (and off screen) departure of St. Bonaventure’s latest hire.
As TVLine exclusively reported on Oct. 25, Osvaldo Benavides is vacating his role as surgical attending Dr. Mateo Rendón Osma — though details surrounding his exit storyline were being kept under wraps at the time. Little did we know that his final episode was airing later that night, on Oct. 18.
Mateo was nowhere to be seen during the Nov. 1 episode — and Benavides was no longer credited as a series regular. Early on in Season 5’s fifth installment, titled “Crazytown,” Lim told Salen that Mateo had been called away on a medical mission in Guatemala. “It was urgent,” she explained, but he was supposed to return to San Jose in a “few more days.”
Mateo, meanwhile, had sent an uninsured patient from Guatemala, who just so happened to be his ex-girlfriend Rosa, to California, where she was to be looked at by his current girlfriend (and chief of surgery) Dr. Audrey Lim.
“I can’t quite picture Mateo here,” Rosa told Lim. “Everything is very… nice. And shiny.”
Rosa continued to detail why her relationship with Mateo ultimately failed. “He moves fast when he knows what he wants,” she explained. “We were practically living together by our third date. Six months, maybe less,” she said. “But then there was a war in the Congo, or an earthquake in Chile…. Someone, somewhere needed him. But I am glad he’s found a place to settle down. I wasn’t sure that was ever going to happen for him.”
But Lim had already gotten the impression that Mateo was gone for good. He had left her a nice bottle of wine, along with a note — “Be back soon,” it said — but he hadn’t returned any of her text messages over the last three days.
Andrews eventually had Rosa transferred to a county hospital to undergo surgery — and he did it without consulting Lim, who was still determined to do Mateo this favor. The chief eventually put in a request to perform the surgery herself, which Asher advised her to reconsider. He confronted his superior about Mateo’s unlikely return and told her that he’s hate to see her put everything she’s worked for on the line for someone who wasn’t willing to do the same for her.
Lim still decided to go through with Rosa’s surgery, but was surprised to discover that Rosa had been in touch with Mateo — especially since, as we already pointed out, he hadn’t been responding to any of Lim’s texts.
“He said he’ll be back soon,” Rosa said.
“Hopefully,” Lim responded, knowing full well that she had been ghosted.
After Rosa’s surgery, Lim asked the patient how things ended between her and Mateo.
“He would go on medical missions all the time,” Rosa recalled. “Sometimes with no notice. I would wake up and find a little gift — like a book or a bottle of wine — and a sweet note. After a few days, or weeks, he would come back and everything would be good. And then one time he didn’t [come back]. I waited for a long time. Too long.”
In the very last scene, Lim phoned Mateo and got his voicemail. She proceeded to leave him the following message: “Hi, it’s me. If you’re coming back for work, I’ll see you Thursday. If you’re coming back for me, don’t.” And that’s how things ended.
Neither Benavides nor ABC have commented on the actor’s abrupt departure. Sony Pictures Television declined comment upon our initial reporting.
Benavides made his Good Doctor debut as a guest-star in the two-part Season 4 finale last spring, when Shaun and the surgical team flew to Mateo’s native Guatemala on a mission to help patients at a rural hospital. Dr. Osma struck up an immediate bond (and subsequent romance) with Lim, then uprooted his life to be with her in California during the Season 5 premiere.
The Good Doctor has survived several waves of cast turnover over the years. Chuku Modu and Beau Garrett departed the show at the end of Season 1, followed by Tamlyn Tomita at the end of Season 2. Recurring guest star Jasika Nicole was promoted to series regular ahead of Season 3, but scrubbed out ahead of Season 4, alongside original cast member Nicholas Gonzalez. To fill the void left by Nicole and Gonzalez, the medical drama added recurring players Noah Galvin and Bria Samoné Henderson in Season 4; they were promoted to series-regular status (along with Benavides) upon Antonia Thomas’ exit, ahead of Season 5.
All told, The Good Doctor‘s current cast is comprised of Highmore, Harper, Chang, Galvin, Henderson, Richard Schiff, Fiona Gubelmann, Will Yun Lee and Paige Spara. Highmore, Harper and Schiff are the last remaining series regulars from the pilot.
Will you miss Osvaldo Benavides on The Good Doctor? And what did you think of Mateo’s sudden exit storyline?