If you’re among the Resident viewers hoping for Mina Okafor and AJ Austin to dive into a relationship, you’ll need an extra-large dose of patience when the show returns for Season 3.
Though viewers already know that AJ (aka the Raptor) is in love with his mentee — and Mina seems to have real feelings of her own, if her recent defense of velociraptors is any indication — the two doctors are not yet dating. And according to series co-creator Amy Holden Jones, romance won’t be in the cards anytime soon.
“At the moment, a very close friendship is going to evolve more,” Jones tells TVLine. “I see that friendship deepening a lot. It’s not going to turn into a love relationship in Season 3.”
Jones’ hesitance to pair up Mina and the Raptor stems partly from the characters’ working relationship: AJ is Mina’s mentor at Chastain Park, and she is not yet an attending physician. To that end, Jones and the series’ writers don’t feel it’s appropriate to put the characters together when Mina’s residency is still in progress.
“She’s still his mentee, and that’s a #MeToo boundary that we couldn’t cross,” she reveals. “But I’m not sure that what you want to see isn’t the very strong friendship between them. I’m not sure I want to see the love relationship between them. Friendship can be a very deep love.”
Of course, Mina and AJ have already shown their loyalty to one another, particularly in the recent Season 2 finale (read our first post mortem Q&A with Jones here). While preparing to insert a pacemaker for Micah, Mina’s ex-boyfriend, AJ learned that Micah had already moved on to a new girlfriend, and AJ passed that news along to Mina later in the episode.
“For what it’s worth, you deserve better. Anybody who could replace you so quickly doesn’t deserve you,” the Raptor had told her. And Mina seemed to agree: At the end of the hour, she spotted Micah canoodling with his new woman, but she seemed unfazed and merely turned her attention to the lung biopsy she was about to perform with AJ.
“That’s a really important moment to me,” Jones shares. “In fact, in planning the final episode, that was the signature image that I had in my mind at the very start: the Raptor and Mina walking off to their work together — a solid team, leaving Micah behind.”
She adds that Season 3 will find Mina “coming to realize the same thing [AJ] has: They put their work first, and the person they share the most with is the person who feels the same way and shares the work they share.”