‘The Resident’ EP on Emily VanCamp’s Exit & Honoring Nic, Conrad Moving Forward, and More
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Resident Season 5, Episode 3 “The Long and Winding Road.”]
After a car accident (for which a cause has yet to be determined), Nic is rushed to Chastain, with her husband, Dr. Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry), watching the helicopter transporting her as he speeds to the hospital. Once she’s in the doctors’ care, however, it becomes clear — too soon for Conrad and her father Kyle (Corbin Bernsen) — that there’s nothing they can do. She’s braindead. But as an organ donor, she’s able to continue to save lives, and the staff lines the halls as she’s brought to the OR. At the doors to the surgical suites, Conrad leaves her with a kiss to her hand (pictured below), the last of a long list of emotional moments in this episode.
“We’re heartbroken that Emily is leaving the show, but we respect her choice,” executive producer Andrew Chapman tells TV Insider. “And we think that she made Nic Nevin a spectacular character and we honor that and we respect her decisions and we have nothing but love for the actress and obviously the character. The episode was in honor to her.”
And the organ donation was to show “you can have grief and also make the world a better place,” he added.
Chapman takes us inside the powerful hour and teases what’s next.
When did you know Emily was leaving?
Andrew Chapman: This was entirely her decision. We knew that she might leave at the end of last season, but we weren’t 100 percent sure. And then we became 100 percent sure at the beginning of this season when we were beginning to plan it out.
How did you come up with this exit for Nic?
Very carefully. We really pondered all the possible choices. This seemed like the only way to give her a sendoff that was both true to who she was that didn’t feel completely antithetical to the character of Nic and felt like it would be both a surprise and honestly emotional. We wanted to really respect the character and give her the sendoff that she deserved, and this felt like the right way, but it took us a good, long time of debate to figure it out, let’s put it that way.
Can you share any of the plans for Nic and Conrad before you knew Emily was leaving?
They’re not a secret, but once we knew she was leaving, the reality took over of what our situation was. I honestly really don’t remember.
How’s Conrad going to handle moving forward without the love of his life and raising Gigi as a single father?
That’s Season 5. That’s what we’re going to dig into. It’s what you and I talked about last time we spoke, which is that idea of work-life balance and how are you a great doctor, great at your job, passionate about saving lives, but also be a single dad and a good dad and raising a child to be a good citizen of the world? That’s what Conrad has to do, and that’s how Conrad has to navigate it. He’s going to have obstacles all over the place. It is that question of work-life balance that we thought about all through the pandemic: What does this mean when you’re stuck shut indoors and you have all this time to contemplate your life? What changes do you make? And he’s going to go through the same thing.
Everyone grieves in a different way. How is Conrad going to be grieving?
He’s a doctor. He tries desperately to figure out what the cause was of this accident. Why did Nic die, why did she get into this accident? And without giving anything away, this is an obsessive search for him and a way to move past his grief. He’s a guy who finds answers, he finds solutions, and now he’s lost the love of his life, and he needs to find a solution for that and to find a solution so that he can tell his daughter when she grows up, “This is what happened to your mom.”
Episode 4 is intense and his navigating his grief is intense and it leads to all these scenes with Devon who lost his dad and had all this grief and Conrad was there for his grief. And so there’s really great stuff between Conrad and Devon in 4 as they try to help each other. Manish [Dayal] and Matt are just spectacular as a team together, so there’ll be a lot of that.
And then in [Episode] 5, which is our Halloween episode, we have patients that reflect back on Nic and who she was and what she meant to Conrad. We sort of come to a little bit of, not closure, but we get closer to that. There’s lots of fun stuff, but there’s also a psychological closing of story.
The Conrad and Devon scenes were so good in this episode.
I know. First of all, it’s a beautifully written script by Joy Blake, one of our upper level writers, just a spectacular script. And then Rob Corn, who’s our producing director, who directs a lot of our episodes, just knocked it out of the park. Everyone was just great in it. The performances are fantastic. It’s so moving and the build of it; I’m really, really proud of this episode.
Kyle’s “I will not lose another daughter in this hospital” was one of the most heartbreaking parts of the episode. What will we see of his grief and how this affects his relationship with Conrad?
It’s going to be a problem for a while because he’s angry and you see the anger going through him and his rage and his lashing out. Conrad is a compassionate guy and forgives him, but there’s definitely drama there and distance over the next couple of episodes. And they’ll have to find a place of forgiveness on both sides, but that won’t be for a while.
Are we going to get more Kyle and Marshall [Glenn Morshower] scenes?
Yes, but not for a bit. Marshall shows up to help in [Episode] 4, but then after that, we won’t touch back on that for a little while.
I imagine Billie [Jessica Lucas] is going to be the doctor most affected after Conrad. How does losing her best friend affect Billie when it comes to her son? You said that would come up again in Episode 4.
Yeah. Trevor [Miles Fowler] shows up again in [Episode] 4 and has an intense story and Billie has to deal with the fact that he’s around in the hospital. And then a couple of episodes down the line — I won’t say numbers — Trevor’s going to show up again and where Trevor and Billie’s relationship ends up will be a real surprise. You will love it, and it’ll be really interesting. It’ll be a lot about not directly losing Nic as her best friend, but definitely the after effects of that will be seen in how Billie behaves.
I really liked the moment between Billie and Bell in this episode.
Wasn’t that fantastic? I love that moment. Also, I just love how Bruce Greenwood is playing Bell as he’s this sage guy who has seen it all and he gives advice and the advice isn’t mansplaining, right? It’s really like, “Here, look, I know this is painful, but here’s a way to handle your grief and here’s how to push through it.” I love that scene. I totally agree with you.
How will the rest of the staff be dealing with their grief and trying to be there for Conrad and Gigi?
In [Episode] 4, the loss of Nic is in the back of everybody’s minds and all the different medical stories that we tell, the twists and turns will be affected by what happened to Nic and how each of our doctors feels about it, how they push forward. Devon is really trying to be there for Conrad, and Leela [Anuja Joshi] and Devon have this relationship that is starting and Leela is really trying to be there for Devon, who’s trying to be there for Conrad. So it’s a chain of supporting compassion. Kit [Jane Leeves] and Bell are trying to just keep the staff together and keep morale up. Everyone’s just trying to bolster Conrad. Everyone’s just trying to keep him on his feet and keep him from going off the rail.
Then in [Episode] 5, they really come together as a group, and you’ll see that by the end of it, the staff, the team, our heroes are all there in a way that I find amazingly moving. You’ll find that [Episode] 5 is not moving like weeping grief, but really moving in how people deal with loss and in a way that’s really mature and kind of wonderful.
The Resident, Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox