The Resident is a number of episodes into its third season and the show is better than it’s ever been. From the tragedy of Jessie’s death (and the mystery surrounding it) to the arrival of the formidable Dr. Cain to Conrad and Devon’s growing tension, the FOX drama is exploring so many facets of its characters this season. Conrad Hawkins has a lot on his plate, to say the least. HollywoodLife sat down with Matt Czuchry to talk about what lies ahead for Conrad, how the storylines will propel the show into the second half of the season, and the “fantastic” cast’s dedication to making this show the best it can be.
On the Conrad and Devon front, their “different points of view” when it comes to medicine are not just for the sake of good drama. This is something that happens every day in the medical world. Matt noted that this storyline will come “full circle” by the end of the first half of the season. Conrad and Nic’s investigation into Jessie’s death will continue to be explored and the “emotional impact” of it all will be ever-present. However, Conrad and Nic’s relationship will stay solid.
At the very end of last week’s episode, it seems like Conrad is going for it and accessing those files which could potentially have major consequences for him. What can you say about where the show goes from here? Will we find out really quickly whether or not he accesses those files?
Matt Czuchry: We have serialized elements throughout every season. So that investigative element that you see in this episode, really for the first time regarding this drug, is one of the serialized elements of the show. You won’t find that out immediately, but with that last shot and then also perhaps in the previous episode where he turns down the morphine for the one patient, I think he’s more dangerous than he’s ever been. I think that the people he’s up against, the conglomerate that is Red Rock that puts profits over patients is a worthy adversary and is more difficult and stronger than we’ve had in seasons past. You’ve seen the conflict between Conrad and Devon. Conrad’s even facing disagreements from his own colleagues. Those are all throughlines that will carry us through the first half of the season.
I was going to bring up Devon because that was an interesting conversation. They are like the student and the teacher, and now the student is breaking away. What can you say about their relationship going forward? Do you think Conrad respects Devon’s point?
Matt Czuchry: They both have different points of views and I think what that allows us to do in terms of the storytelling is show these different perspectives. Is Conrad going too far? Is he not? Conrad’s always been the guy who is willing to break the rules for the greater good. I think at this particular point in the series, Devon is not wanting to break the rules. I think that presents some ethical and moral dilemmas for the audience members to decide on whose side, so to speak, that they’re on. Again, that relationship and that conflict is going to be something that carries through in interesting ways over the course of these first 10 episodes that we’ve shot. With Red Rock, the investigative theme of this drug hemopoietin, the relationship between Conrad and Devon, and Conrad being always Machiavellian in his ways, all that together feeds into the serialized elements that we have through episode 10, which we just finished filming.
With Devon and Conrad, I feel like that happens with real-life doctors and residents because doctors don’t always agree on the same types of practicing. I feel like that’s a very real thing for them to experience.
Matt Czuchry: Absolutely. I know a friend who was pregnant and there were some issues. There were five different doctors with maybe three different opinions. That is something within the healthcare community that I’ve learned. It’s not a perfect science in terms of these big decisions. Sometimes you have to use your instincts, you have to use your intuition. For Conrad, he’s somebody who is willing to break the rules for the greater good. In his mind, he feels that some of these rules may be archaic or they’re not there to benefit the patient. He’s willing to not go by the book. Of course, Conrad is trying to impart his wisdom on Devon. Currently, at this moment in the series, Devon is trying to forge his own path. Those contrasting opinions with the show are what happens in terms of the healthcare system, doctors, and nurses. As a patient, you think you walk in and it’s just, “What are the symptoms? Here’s the diagnosis. Do this and you’re good.” That’s not the way I’ve learned through the research of this show how it works. That is, to me, one of the exciting things about the show, these different ethical dilemmas, moral dilemmas, and different points of view that are highlighted within our story.
It hurts me a little bit when they’re like not working together. It’s been an interesting evolution from the start of the show to where we are now.
Matt Czuchry: In episode 10 there’s a lot that feels like coming full circle from the pilot with those two characters. Conrad and Devon’s relationship, over the course of the 10 episodes, is a key part of the serialized element. I felt episode 10 was a really cool one for several different reasons that I can’t talk about. I think fans who have been fans and watched every episode will see the change in both of those characters, from where they were together in the pilot to episode 10 of season 3. I hope that that resonates with fans, that their relationship has grown and changed, their perspectives on medicine has grown and changed, and it really completes where we started in the pilot.
With Conrad and Nic investigating Jessie’s death, this is obviously very complicated territory. What can you tease about their relationship as they forge ahead with this really intense investigation that could give them so many answers about Jessie and possibly provide closure?
Matt Czuchry: I think that they’re in the best place that they’ve ever been in terms of moving in together and getting the chickens. It’s just perfect timing for them to be as close as they’ve ever been as they struggle with Jessie’s passing and with how some of these elements could be interconnected. They’re there for one another and you will see the emotional impact that Jessie has on both of these characters throughout the course of the 10 episodes. Specifically, we have a Thanksgiving-themed episode this year. There’s a nice moment for fans to look towards between Conrad and Nic that has to do with Jessie, which captures some of the challenges you face when you’ve lost a loved one. There is going to be a connection there that intertwines Jessie, Conrad, and Nic that I think fans will appreciate. Conrad and Nic will be supportive of one another during difficult times. That’s maybe highlighted a little bit more specifically in the Thanksgiving episode.
You and Emily have such great chemistry. I love how with Conrad and Nic there’s not a love triangle at play. It’s just them.
Matt Czuchry: That chemistry, for us, comes from just a mutual respect for one another, listening to each other’s ideas, and trying to come to the best spot possible with all the scenes that we do together. I think right now both of them will want to live in this space a little bit of that things are good and that they’re there for each other with Jessie. I think that’s the space you want to live in because the audience hasn’t seen that space. It’s about trying to find the right balance of living in that space you haven’t seen before, but when is the right time to progress things in either direction? With this relationship, Emily, the writers, and I are really trying to be cognizant of grounding that relationship in something you might not normally see on TV. We’re connected with the conflict of Jessie and that element, but we’re just trying to show a relationship of two people at this particular time who get along well and are there for each other. What does that look like? Usually, you don’t see that on television because oftentimes there’s not much conflict and not much drama so people will turn away. But we’re working very hard to keep it grounded. We have our darker moments with Jessie and our lighter moments like at the beginning of season 3 when they were talking about the socks and the way Nic eats. So we try to find the balance with that relationship between the fun and the real-life challenges that they have. Shout out to Emily and what the writers are doing and the collaboration that they’re open to and just the great material that they’re delivering. If I can say anything in this interview, it’s that there is a collaborative spirit that remains from the beginning to now with these three seasons, with the writers, with the cast, and with the crew. I want fans to know that it takes so many people to make a television show and the energy of that show is one of a collaborative spirit. I think in some ways that is what’s made these relationships a little bit more authentic, layered, and spontaneous than they might normally be.
With everything coming full circle and the attention to detail that this show has, there was the scene in last week’s episode when Bell passes out and he wakes up. His instant instinct was to check to see if he had feeling in his hands. I thought that was something that goes back to the first season with his hand tremor. I thought that was just something very small but a nice nod to fans if you’ve watched from the beginning.
Matt Czuchry: Bruce is an exceptional actor and one of the reasons I wanted to do the show. He was signed up for it before I was. I was watching the O.J. show that he did during the time that the pilot came to me. I was like, “Oh, that’s a little bit of kismet. This is an actor, Bruce, who I’ve loved for so long. I’m loving his work and I’m watching it right now.” I was on episode 5 of that series and then here he was attached to the show already. That’s a huge reason why I wanted to do it. I’ve noticed that moment as well from him with the hand. He’s just a fantastic actor. The whole cast is fantastic. Everybody puts so much time and love into the work. Every single scene and the chemistry that we have together as people and as actors. Everybody is really trying their best to put the best quality for every season and every episode, every day. Emily [VanCamp], Malcolm[-Jamal Warner], Shaunette [Renée Wilson], Manish [Dayal], Morris [Chestnut], Jane [Leeves], Bruce, Melina [Kanakaredes] from seasons past, Tasso [Feldman] who plays Irving, Jessica [Miesel] who plays Jessica.
We haven’t seen Conrad and Cain cross paths much yet. We’ve seen how Cain has gone head-to-head with Kit already and it’s not pretty. Will Conrad and Cain eventually have something where they butt heads?
Matt Czuchry: Yes. In a big way. They will come head-to-head in a big way. They are both headstrong individuals and it will have ramifications for where we head towards the first half of the season and where it takes us in the next half. You would expect them to butt heads and have ramifications. And what happens does have big ramifications.