Nicholas Gonzalez spent a lot of time driving through New Mexico while growing up.
And in August, he was at Ghost Ranch for a wedding.
That wish may have to wait to be fulfilled, because Gonzalez is starring in one of TV’s highest-rated shows – “The Good Doctor.”
And the project has him busy.
Gonzalez plays Dr. Neil Melendez, an attending surgeon overseeing surgical residents at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.
Melendez doesn’t have time for games or second-guessing; he is frequently tense about work and business matters, and he expects perfection from himself and his residents.
The series returns at 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14.
Gonzalez promises that the drama will continue with the episode.
“It only gets worse before it gets better,” he says.
In the last episode of 2018, the hospital was under quarantine because of an airborne virus.
“We have beloved doctors and staff that are affected,” he says.
During the second season, viewers have been able to see the layers of his perfectionist persona.
Melendez has started a romance with Dr. Audrey Lim, played by Christina Chang, so viewers have seen a little romance.
And there’s the story of his sister, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child when she fell out of a tree. As a result, she lives in a residential care facility.
“We’re blessed with such great writing and good nature,” he says of the show. “It trickles down from the top. We’re in a loving environment, and I’ve been acting for 20 years.”
Gonzalez has put in the work to carve out a niche for himself in the entertainment industry.
After graduating from Stanford University with a B.A. in English, he burst onto the scene with Showtime’s hit series “Resurrection Blvd.,” on which he played boxer and medical student Alex Santiago for 53 episodes.
He also has appeared on “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Narcos,” “Frequency,” “The Flash,” “Being Mary Jane” and “Pretty Little Liars.”
Gonzalez sees each role as a challenge.
And with his role on “The Good Doctor,” he is proud to represent the Latino community.
“When I was growing up, I got to see Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos on the screen,” he says. “If not for those men, we wouldn’t have roles like Melendez on TV. We’ve all done our work to pave this path even more. I hope those that watch the show can realize that they can dream big. Yes, Latino boys and girls can grow up to be a doctor. It’s a lot of hard work, and it can be done.”
Gonzalez balances his rigorous filming schedule with family time and self-care, in which he runs and does yoga.
“The balance for me is my wife and baby,” he says. “Once I became a parent, I realized what life is all about. It’s about family and keeping loved ones close. My wife and my baby are that grounding force for me. I made the choice to move them up to Vancouver with me. I get to come home and spend my off days with my daughter. We’re there. I’m with her. It’s special.”
SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.