‘The Resident’s Malcolm-Jamal Warner on AJ’s Family Reunion & That Cliffhanger

Guy D'Alema/FOX

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 6 of The Resident, “Nurses’ Day.”]

AJ comes face-to-face with his biological mother, Dr. Bonnie Broome (Adriane Lenox) in Tuesday’s episode of The Resident.

“There’s still a lot of anger and hurt that AJ feels up until he has the last conversation with his mom and she expresses to him that even though he felt like she had never looked for him, she was always looking for him,” Malcolm-Jamal Warner told TV Insider. “There’s a moment that melts the anger away.”

Also in the episode, Jessica (Jessica Miesel) heads home after back-to-back-to-back surgeries and falls asleep at the wheel, waking just before she crashes her car into a tree.

Here, Warner breaks down the big family moments for AJ and that cliffhanger, discusses his character’s relationship with Mina, and more.

We’ve been seeing a different side of AJ this season with his surprise introduction to his biological parents. How does this change him moving forward?

Malcolm-Jamal Warner: What changes — it’s really kind of minor — but some of his angst goes away from meeting his mother. There’s still so much of his bravado and arrogance and just knowing he’s the best at what he does. All of that is still going to be very much intact. It’s hard for that to go away because that’s a huge part of AJ’s being.

(Guy D’Alema/FOX)

In the conversations AJ shares with his biological parents, they’re very honest but harsh, like when Lamar asks for credit for not ending the pregnancy. How does AJ feel hearing that?

That’s really coming from his biological dad, and even though there’s a warmth AJ feels towards his mom, he doesn’t necessarily feel that for his dad. Just based on their first interaction, his dad lacks a lot of tact. When his dad makes that comment about give them credit for following through with the pregnancy, AJ really puts that more on his dad just not having tact more so than putting that on his mom and how he feels about his mom.

But is that honesty something that all of them need from these interactions?

AJ respects honesty because he himself is very honest, very straightforward, no BS, and that’s the kind of interaction AJ would prefer to have with people and especially his parents.

AJ also gets to see the doctor side of Bonnie. How does that change his perspective of her?

That’s a tricky thing because basically she said, “I gave you up so I could be a great doctor.” That’s something AJ pushes back against until he sees her in action. To make the diagnosis that she made with the kid, she really saved that child a lifetime of hospital visits. There’s definitely a respect factor there, but it’s hard to hear “I gave you up because I wanted to be a good doctor,” so he sees that, he respects that. The thing that really melts his heart is hearing from his mother’s mouth [that] she never stopped looking for him.

What can you preview about the Thanksgiving episode?

We’re going to see both sets of parents. … Nothing goes the way it’s supposed to.

(Guy D’Alema/FOX)

How much harder is it for AJ to deal with his families than to tackle even the toughest of surgeries all combined? He feels more at home in the OR, right?

Yeah, the OR is his escape. One of the things that’s really interesting about people who are at the top of their field, whatever that thing is, they need that. That profession, that art, that craft is their escape from the rest of the world. The same definitely holds true for AJ. Being in the OR, being in the environment where he is the best at what he does, it’s a big part of his existence. Whatever’s going on in AJ’s life, he definitely needs that OR.

Speaking of being the best at what they do, Dr. Cain has come in this season. What does AJ think of Cain’s approach — he goes from OR to OR — to medicine?

That’s been an interesting dynamic thus far. As the season goes on and the more AJ sees the way Cain handles the operating room and handles his patients and outcomes of his patients, I don’t think AJ really respects Cain. He doesn’t believe Cain really honors the sacred relationship between patient and surgeon.

No matter what your field is, if you have a love and great respect for your field and you see someone in your same field who doesn’t have the same respect and doesn’t treat it with the same care, there’s a problem. You feel like they are blasphemous to the field.

We continue to see how much Mina and AJ mean to one another, professionally and personally. How does AJ feel about her exactly and what’s coming up with those two?

That’s always a situation that Shaunette [Renée Wilson] and I also wonder about because we haven’t really been given specifics about where the relationship is going. It’s a tricky thing because Austin is Mina’s mentor. Though there are feelings there, there are also ethical concerns as well in terms of them actually getting together. That’s the push-and-pull because there’s this definite attraction there, but them getting together is not the most professional thing in that environment.

(Guy D’Alema/FOX)

Both AJ and Mina feel so strong about their profession. As Cain doesn’t seem to show full respect for their job of being a surgeon, [they don’t] want to sully their profession as doctors because they’re both great at what they do and I don’t think either of them wants to do anything that is going to jeopardize their love. They may be attracted to each other, but their first love is their profession.

It seems what we saw between them in the Halloween episode is the most we’ll see between them for now.

For now, yeah.

And of course we have to talk about that cliffhanger. What will see from the doctors trying to save Jessica?

You’re definitely going to see everyone come together because everyone has a special relationship with Jessica, but they also understand that the reason she got into the accident is because of Red Rock’s procedures and mishandling of overworking the staff. Jessica is family.

The Resident, Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox