Matt Czuchry from ‘The Resident’ on Seeing a Softer, More Vulnerable Conrad in Season 4
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 7 of The Resident, “Hero Moments.”]
The Resident takes us into Dr. Conrad Hawkins’ (Matt Czuchry) past as a medic in the military in the March 2 episode, when he gets the chance to repay his former commanding officer, Captain Nate Hill (Tim Griffin), in a major way.
A decade ago in Afghanistan, Hill saved Conrad’s life when the medic disobeyed an order to check on a fellow soldier he thought was still alive (he wasn’t), and the captain took multiple bullets. One couldn’t be removed, ending his military career. Conrad told no one, not even his wife, Nic (Emily VanCamp).
Now, Conrad saves Hill’s life, when the latter is injured free-climbing. And after two life-saving operations (including one to remove the bullet that’s migrated), Hill urges Conrad to let go of the guilt and shame he’s been holding onto all this time as a result of their past. Conrad does (tossing the bullet in the trash).
“We haven’t seen this kind of episode, so to me and everyone on the production, it was very important, given Conrad’s connection to the military,” Czuchry tells TV Insider. “Everybody was deeply, deeply invested in trying to get this right.”
Czuchry takes us inside Conrad’s head in this episode and this season.
Talk about Conrad’s decision to throw away the bullet and the guilt.
Matt Czuchry: The whole journey of the episode is about that guilt, that shame he’s being carrying for a decade plus. It’s something he’s thought about every single day of his life — when he’s washing his hands, brushing his teeth — but he’s not even been able to say it, even to his wife, Nic. But we see him save Captain Hill’s life in the search and rescue mission. In a lot of ways, both of them have grown and changed over the course of this decade; Conrad’s about to be a father. And Conrad did for him what Captain Hill did for Conrad back in Afghanistan.
How much did Conrad need to talk to Hill before he becomes a father?
This season, one of Conrad’s overarching themes is his vulnerability and pulling away those layers, whether it be how he’s been impacted because of COVID with his patients, being married or with Captain Hill in this episode. So much of that has to do with trying to soften his heart and mind for the next journey that’s ahead. This episode — the search and rescue mission, saving Captain Hill’s life, and letting go of the guilt and shame he felt for disobeying an order in Afghanistan a decade ago which resulted in his commander having to retire early — is a big piece of that.
This episode brings Conrad’s military past into focus — we don’t see that too often.
Even in the search and rescue scenes, you see his out of the box thinking, his calmness in the eye of the hurricane. It really brings to light his training as a medic in the military, which he’s brought to Chastain. This episode is a culmination of seeing who Conrad was in the past as a medic and what he learned to bring to Chastain and who he is as a man now because of his experiences in the military and at Chastain and of course with his wife and the baby on the way. He’s a bit softer than he was a decade ago.
Conrad explains why he didn’t tell Nic about Nate sooner and she reminds him they need to lean on each other as parents. Will we see more of that kind of communication?
Nic and Conrad are always great teammates. They are going to have to learn and grow together. They are going to have new challenges when the baby arrives. It’s about refining the strength of what they have already: that communication. This episode heightens that in terms of, “We need to be able to tell each other anything.” Conrad has been holding this in for a decade, so [telling her] will open him up even more than he ever has been before.
Nic is back at work after her attack in the next episode. How is Conrad handling the aftermath?
That’s going to stick with them. That was an incredibly traumatic episode for Nic and Conrad and that’s not something that leaves you quickly. We are going to feel the emotion of what happened in Episode 5 in these upcoming episodes when Nic comes back to work.
Conrad had to be a husband, father-to-be, and doctor in Episode 5.
You’re exactly right. You see him struggling with all three of those at once. Each of those scenes, he was feeling different roles heavier at different times. And he was traumatized by that event, just as Nic was.
There’s tension — rightfully so — between Conrad and Billie [Jessica Lucas‘ character paralyzed one of his patients], but he also knows what she means to Nic. Will we see more conflict between them?
What I liked about Billie’s first episode is you felt that history, that tension between Conrad and Billie. You felt what they experienced together and you also felt that Conrad, even though he has this tension with Billie, he still wanted what was best for Nic. He was willing to put his disagreements aside with Billie for Nic, so we are going to see a bit of those dynamics play out.
That decision by Conrad to be a bit more open and give [Billie] another chance is going to pay dividends for Chastain as a whole in terms of Billie coming into the picture in future episodes. We see Conrad being a little bit softer, willing to forgive, willing to give people a second chance.
The Resident, Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox