Was That ‘The Resident’ Series Finale? What We Could See in a Season 7
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Resident Season 6 finale, “All Hands on Deck.”]
If this is how The Resident goes out, it does so on a happy note.
Among the highlights: Conrad (Matt Czuchry) and Billie (Jessica Lucas) say, “I love you.” The doctors save Bell’s (Bruce Greenwood) granddaughter Sammie and Governor Betz (Steven Culp) — and, therefore, the hospital (thanks to their deal). Bell is entering Devon’s (Manish Dayal) MS trial. Devon proposes to Leela (Anuja Joshi), who becomes an attending.
Showrunner Andrew Chapman explains why that felt like a series finale and shares what we could see if Season 7 is picked up.
What can you say about a Season 7?
Andrew Chapman: Fingers crossed. We just don’t know. I don’t think that Fox knows. I don’t think anybody really knows. They hold out the possibility, but they won’t pick us up yet. We probably won’t know until April or May. They want to see how the rest of their shows do, et cetera, et cetera. Your guess is honestly as good as mine.
The episode, in parts, felt very series finale-ish. Was that intentional?
Yeah. Given that we really don’t know and didn’t know whether this was going to be a series finale, creator Amy Holden Jones and I really thought hard about how we would construct storylines that would give closure to the season, but if it had to be a series finale, would give our audience and our fans some closure to the whole series, too. So thematically, that sense that Randolph Bell went from [a] bad guy at the beginning of Season 1 to sort of an emeritus benefactor, a guy with real wisdom at the end of Season 6. Could he go on into a Season 7? Absolutely, of course. But could his conversation with Ian Sullivan [Andrew McCarthy] be a wrap-up to his career? Yes.
On the one hand, it felt like you sped things up a bit with Conrad and Billie, but on the other hand, you were building to this. When did you know you wanted the season to end with them saying “I love you”? Was it because it might be the end of the series, and you wanted them to have that moment?
Yeah, I think it was both because it could be the end of the series but also just because it was a nice wrap-up to the end of the season. If the season started with, “what’s going to happen in Conrad’s love life? Will he be with Cade [Kaley Ronayne] or Billie?” First, he’s with Cade, but then it never quite settled, and now he’s with Billie, and it’s where he should be. That felt like it nailed both of those ideas. It nails the idea of the season and of the series. Also, Conrad’s relationship with Nic [Emily VanCamp] started the whole show, and we watched their evolution, and then we watched her give birth and then her death and how he deals with single parenthood and then begins to love again. That’s such a spine to this show. We felt like Billie and Conrad saying “I love you” at the end was really a fitting wrap-up if this is the end of the series.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently with their relationship?
No, I don’t think so. We really debated where he was going to end up and we really wanted to see what people looked like on screen and whether there was chemistry, and we felt that as soon as we saw Jessica Lucas and Matt Czuchry together being really caring and really sort of comfortable and warm with each other. That felt right. It felt like the thing that Conrad would choose, the thing that Billie would want, the thing that Nic would want for her child. They just had a very calm, comfortable, and adult relationship, and we loved that.
Bell’s future with Chastain is up in the air. What would we see in a Season 7? Teaching? Spending time with Kit (Jane Leeves)?
Bell’s arc in the show is kind of the arc of the show; the idea that you’re an arrogant doctor who kills somebody in the opening scene when it should just be a simple appendectomy and you cover it up sort of stands for everything that The Resident is about — the corruption of the health care system by money, by the problems in American medicine — and then he, over the course of six seasons, really transforms into a compassionate, caring, moral, upright doctor and a person that people can look up to. He would teach. He would be a mentor. And his relationship to Kit Voss is so spectacular and such a fan favorite, so we would make sure that still is alive. We treasure that.
Ian did end up being honest with Kit, and she’s giving him a chance. Is he in a better position now because he’s honest with those around him, to be able to make not relapsing and working at Chastain work? He’d told his sponsor the stress of the job was a trigger.
That’s a really interesting storyline for us. We talked to a lot of people who deal with addiction issues in doctors, and the truth is like in the general population, there is a certain percentage of people in medicine who are addicts and who struggle with alcohol or with drugs. In the modern American system, sometimes those people get in trouble and completely wash out. Sometimes those people hide their addictions and do terrible things and get away with it or not get away with it. But other times, what the system looks to do is take those people, don’t reject them, don’t push them out of being doctors but in fact, get them into treatment and monitor them and get them into counseling and 12-step programs, and they can continue to be functioning doctors who save lives and do great things while knowing that they have the propensity to be addicts.
That’s an important story to tell. It’s an important story to tell about redemption. It’s an important story to tell about addiction as a disease, not something to become a pariah about and not something to lose all of your well-earned career about, and so we would love to tell the continuing story of Ian Sullivan as a doctor who will struggle with that but who can overcome it. That he’s been open and honest is a good thing.
Would Andrew McCarthy be a series regular still?
We would like him to be.
Devon proposed! Why wait until the finale?
It’s a shortened season. We always knew he was going to propose. The question for us was whether we were going to have a wedding or a proposal at the end of the season. There was so much going on; we felt that a wedding just wouldn’t quite be the right ending for the season and also wouldn’t quite be, what we talked about earlier, that idea of a dual possible series finale as well as a definite season finale. So we decided, “let’s hold off and promise a wedding as a Season 7 opener,” which is what we’d like to do.
I’m surprised at how well Cade and James (Ian Anthony Dale) work as a couple. How long were you planning that?
We really didn’t know. We did not plan for them to be a long-term couple when we hired Ian Anthony Dale to be James Yamada. We thought, “oh, well, this guy’s good, let’s see what he looks like onscreen.” We were thinking that he would be … not a bad guy exactly, but a womanizer, slick, somebody you might not like. But honestly, when Ian came in and played James, he was so sympathetic and so warm, and his open, honest sexual relationship with Cade was fantastic, and we just immediately saw the sparks, and we were like, “oh my god, this guy’s fantastic. He’s the perfect, hot, sexy but also very emotional and vulnerable doctor.” That episode where he’s with his mentor, and he dies, we just thought he was great and so moving. The honest truth is we did not plan that. Sometimes in a show, you just see how the actors inhabit a part, and then you write to that, and he is a classic example of that working.
Would Ian continue to recur or be promoted to series regular?
We don’t know. Possibly series regular. He’s just such a wonderful surprise, so series regular, for sure.
Things are looking hopeful for AJ (Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Padma (Aneesha Joshi), and the twins. Can they make a family work? We haven’t actually seen that yet…
No, we haven’t, and that is a good question and one that we really kicked around a lot in the writers’ room. AJ is such an iconic character on the show. He represents something fascinating: a massively talented but massively arrogant surgeon who just has such belief in himself. Him having children and having to be a father is such a wonderful way to round out the character and give him a real softer side, take some of the edge off. That was great, and that happened this season. We don’t really know whether that’ll continue because we love him as the arrogant son of a bitch but also [a] wonderful, caring surgeon. We’ll definitely keep the family going, but we don’t know if that’ll be front and center. There will be that relationship with Padma long-term, but we don’t know how intense it will be for Season 7.
What else would we see in a Season 7?
Devon and Leela’s wedding, for sure. A growth of a family, Conrad, and Billie. The continuing growth of Ian as a guy who struggles with addiction but becomes an important part of the hospital, and the hospital is partially built around a guy with this frailty. Kit Voss as the badass CEO of the hospital but also the married partner of a man who no longer works there full-time and is exploring what life is outside of medicine. The classic Conrad work-family life divergence, which we think has played really well through the seasons, his constant caring and his evolution from cowboy to slightly more by-the-rules doctor. Who will take the place of that cowboy? Is it Devon? Could it be Ian? Could it be Cade?
Could there be a Conrad-Billie wedding?
Possibly. We don’t know. That’s something to be discussed, but not sure they need a wedding. They seem like an adult couple.