Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance all await The Resident‘s Conrad Hawkins in some form as the Chastain doc adjusts to life without his late wife, Nic. But in the more immediate future, there’s a sixth stage of grief that will take hold of Conrad after Nic’s death: all-consuming detective work.
Tuesday’s hour of the Fox drama (8/7c), per series star Matt Czuchry, will explore how his character might “process something so traumatic and so sudden” as losing his spouse unexpectedly. To that end, Conrad will spend the episode trying to piece together the circumstances of the car accident that claimed Nic’s life, which notably involved only Nic’s vehicle, and alcohol and inclement weather weren’t factors in the crash.
“What we’re going to see is somebody who’s lost the love of his life, who’s lost his soulmate — who, every time he looks in Gigi’s eyes, he sees Nic. I don’t think we’re going to shy away from that,” Czuchry tells TVLine. “Conrad is going to be trying to fit some answers into boxes and make sense of this… but sometimes the answers that you’re searching for come up in surprising ways. Sometimes we think we can have a specific answer for something that doesn’t have the answer you want.”
Resident co-showrunner Peter Elkoff — who previously teased Conrad’s investigation of the car wreck as an “emotionally trying” undertaking for the doctor — seems acutely aware of the balancing act that lies ahead for the show after Nic’s death: In the EP’s own words, “What is the right tone? When is it OK for Conrad to look forward?”
Per Elkoff, he and The Resident‘s creative team “debated and negotiated and argued” over those exact questions as they plotted Season 5 beyond Emily VanCamp’s departure, and they ultimately reached a conclusion “happily, if not lightly” about where to take the series following such a significant loss.
“The thing that made it a little easier to tell stories… is the fact that our characters work in a hospital, and every day, people come in who need their help,” Elkoff teases. “They’re not people who can just sit at home and feel sad. They have to keep going, and they have to keep doing what they do.
“As you see in the next two episodes, there’s no shortage of references [to Nic] and expressions of emotion,” he continues. “But people’s lives are moving forward, and their jobs are made important. People come in sick and injured and need help, and that is a very in-the-moment story to tell each time we do it. We really leaned on that, and we gauged when the audience will be OK to only look forward, in a way, and made that decision. We’ll see if we were right.”