The Resident season 5 has been a season of changes for the characters. At the end of season 5’s fifth episode, the show jumped forward 3 years. Gigi is no longer a baby, and Conrad has made a major career change in order to be a present single father.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with executive producer Andrew Chapman about what inspired the season 5 time jump. He revealed Conrad will now not be working at Chastain full time, but he definitely “misses” the hospital. The EP also weighed in on Devon and Leela’s relationship, Conrad dating again after Nic, AJ “sowing his wild oats,” and more. Read our Q&A below:
How big is the time jump? Was this time jump always planned for season 5, or in the wake of Emily VanCamp leaving it just helped propel the story better?
Andrew Chapman: So, no, we did not always plan it. When we thought we had Emily shooting the whole season, we were just planning on having a regular old season. But when we learned that she was leaving, sadly, we had to scramble and figure out how to do a lot of things. One was how do we tell the story of her leaving and honor her character, which I think we did in episodes 3 and 4, and then how do we not tell an entire season of The Resident that is marinated in grief and sadness. We really didn’t want to go there. We’re not that kind of a show. We wanted to honor her, allow everybody to have those feelings about her leaving, and then the time jump allowed us in a way to move past that, and the end of episode 5 was sort of closure. We felt like it was emotional closure and good closure for the entire cast. And then, in a weird way, you’ll see after the time jump when we come back with episode 6, it’s almost like we’re starting over again. We’re 3 years down the line. Conrad’s moved on, Bell’s moved on. Everybody’s in a new place in their life, and that’s really exciting and it’s fresh and it’s fun. It really allowed us to dig into new ways to show the characters and new ways to tell stories. It’s almost like a new season in a weird way, which is this unexpected consequence of Emily leaving… Look, would I prefer to have had, Emily for the rest of the season? Of course, we love her, but we’re making lemonade out of lemons. In a way, it’s kind of great. It really lets us just dive into a whole new world, and you’ll see when we come back, it’s a whole new world. Everybody’s in a slightly different place. Bell and Kit have this solid relationship. They’re this great power couple in the hospital. Conrad’s not in the hospital anymore. He’s a private practice doctor. He’s made decisions about work-life balance and being a single dad that takes him out of Chastain and in the crazy hours of working in a hospital. So there are all these new moments for our characters that we just think the audience will really, really love.
With Conrad being out of the hospital, what can you say about how he stays in the loop with the characters at the hospital?
Andrew Chapman: The story we’re telling is that he is in private practice. He’s what they call a concierge doctor, so he does house calls. He caters to the rich and famous, but also to the poor and uninsured because he’s that kind of heroic, crusading doctor. He still has privileges at Chastain, and he misses Chastain. More importantly, Chastain misses him. All the doctors there are desperate to get him back. So the first couple of episodes after the time jump will be about really digging into what his life is like as a doctor outside of the hospital, but he brings patients in because he can still work in the hospital, and sometimes when patients have really serious things you need to bring them to the hospital as opposed to just being in a clinic. So that’s how it’s going to work.
Since this is 3 years down the road, is an exploration of dating again, finding love again, on the table for him?
Andrew Chapman: It’s 3 years down the road for the characters, but it’s only a couple of weeks for our audience. I don’t think that anybody’s ready to see Conrad Hawkins jump into a relationship right away. I think that we need to see him be a single guy for a little bit. That said, he’s definitely going to play the field. He’s definitely going to be the world’s most eligible medical bachelor, and we want to have fun with that and play that. Will any of the relationships be serious? No, probably not, but there are lots of possibilities for love further on down the line in the season, and we definitely are going to play with that. There are lots of people who would love to be Conrad Hawkins’ next big thing. We want to be respectful of the fact that Emily’s gone and that was a really significant relationship in the hospital and in the show. But that’s part of the beauty of having this time jump, life moves on, and people need to live it.
Where is Devon at in his career after the time jump?
Andrew Chapman: One of the things that’s great about the time jump is it allows us to move people forward, so he’s gone from resident to attending. He has basically filled Conrad’s shoes in the hospital. He’s the big man on campus in the ER and in the medicine wing. He’s very much a full-blown doctor now with confidence and a master diagnostician and all the things that Conrad taught him to be. He’s really assimilated and moved on from that. Also, he’s now in this heavy-duty relationship with Leela, and they live together. We’re pivoting from Conrad and Nic as our central relationship to Devon and Leela as our central relationship. It won’t always be smooth, and there are going to be lots of big obstacles in their way. They are still young, still figuring it out, and there are all kinds of issues with potential marriage, potential children, other people’s families, and how they handle those things. That’s all going to play out through the rest of the season. It’s going to be good relationship stuff.
What about AJ? Is there possible romance on the horizon?
Andrew Chapman: So, 100 percent romance for him in the time jump. You’ll see at the beginning of episode 6 when we come back, there’s a great, really fun reveal as to where his heart lies. He is a little bit of a man about town now that Mina is gone and he’s over that. He’s sort of sowing his wild oats. We’re going to have fun with that. Malcolm-Jamal Warner is such a great actor and plays this so well. He’s also become something of a media star. He’s written a book, and he shows up on television doing medical interviews, so that will open up new avenues of romantic relationships for him but also career stuff and how you deal with being a famous doctor.
How has Trevor and Billie’s relationship evolved in the time jump?
Andrew Chapman: That’s a really great question and very interesting. First of all, we just adore Miles Fowler, who plays Trevor. We think he is a star in the making. His relationship with Billie will take a big turn. They’ve come to a new place over the time jump of how to get along with each other. I’m not giving away too much because it’s in one of the loglines in the coming episodes, but Trevor has gone to med school during the time jump. We’ll see when he comes back in episode 7 that he is an intern at Chastain. So now, whatever peaceful resolution he and Billie have had in their relationship gets completely upended because now they not only have to deal with each other, they have to deal with each other have at work as doctors, and that is really juicy, meaty stuff for the show.
You mentioned earlier that Kit and Bell are Chastain’s new power couple. Is there any possibility for marriage?
Andrew Chapman: That’s an interesting question, and we’ve gone back and forth on that a lot. Yes, there is very much the possibility of marriage but as, respectfully, an older couple, marriage means different things to people at that age. It’s not like they’re going to have kids. They’re both very settled in their ways, and we want to really have fun with the idea that they are both settled in their ways. They’re like in this relationship, and yet, the fact that they’re in a love relationship hasn’t really changed how they talk to each other or view each other. There’s still that fun, slightly teasing, very sophisticated aspect. They’re like the sophisticated couple of the hospital. We really love that, and we don’t want to destroy that. I think that the question of should we get married or not will come up, and they don’t want to destroy that relationship either, so it’s a very complicated question to answer. I will say this, deep into the season, there will be potential reasons for them to get married, and it will become a much bigger deal and a big storyline.