Originally posted Monday, September 24, 2018 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
While “The Good Doctor” became the big new hit medical series of last season, a second one also received sophomore year: “The Resident,” set and shot in Atlanta.
The drama got a thumbs down from actual residents in terms of medical accuracy but pulled in enough viewers for Fox to bring it back, averaging a respectable 7 million viewers a week. The show attempts to reveal the difficulties hospitals face balancing the needs of its patients with business considerations.
Set largely shot on stages in Conyers, the series also shoots Mondays at the picturesque High Museum in Midtown, which fronts as the fictional Chastain Park Memorial Hospital.
Season two involves some personnel shifts. Matt Czuchry as the hot-shot resident and Emily VanCamp as his nurse girlfriend remain the top two stars, but “The Resident” upped Malcolm-Jamal Warner ( “The Cosby Show,” “Malcolm & Eddie”) to series regular and added Jane Leeves (“Frasier,” “Hot in Cleveland”). The biggest departure: Melina Kanakaredes ( “Providence,” “CSI: NY”), whose character Dr. Lane Hunter left in handcuffs at the end of season one over blatant medical fraud and murder.
I visited the set recently and spoke to a few of the main stars. I also watched the first episode. Here are some takeaways:
“A good guy, not necessarily a nice guy”: Warner’s super-strong character - surgeon AJ “The Raptor” Austin - was on for just three episodes season one with no guarantees for more. But as Warner himself said, “AJ made such a splash, people wanted him to stick around.” Warner is usually cast as the sweet guy, going back to his Theo days on “The Cosby Show,” so he enjoys playing someone with a gruffer exterior. “In the research I’ve done and in talking to surgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons are known to be first-class a**holes.”
“Frasier” fans, rejoice: Leeves will appear around episode four as a new orthopedic surgeon. At the time I met up with the actors (and Leeves was unavailable), there wasn’t much known about her character beyond the fact she and the Raptor will fight over Dr. Mina Okafor (Shaunette Renee Wilson), the super-talented resident.
Nic is back: She helped uncover Hunter’s fraud and is back at the hospital as the ethical, caring nurse. During the season two debut, a skeptical patient’s sister remarks that she had no idea how much Nic could do. “I’m a nurse practitioner,” she says. “We do most things doctors do - just with better bedside manner.”
What about Conrad and Nic? At least at the start of the season, their rekindled romance appears strong. Naturally, since a perfectly happy relationship is fundamentally boring, conflicts will crop up again, perhaps issues that broke them apart the first time around. “It’s nice to see them in a somewhat good place,” VanCamp said. “There’s obviously some hesitation, mostly on Nic’s part. They just love the hell out of each other. They’re really compatible in many ways, incompatible in others.” Czuchry said Conrad has had much success professionally at his relatively young age but is still struggling personally. Episode three will feature an “origin” story about their first time around the pike and this will show how he has matured since then.
As evil as he ever was: Bruce Greenwood’s Dr. Randolph Bell remains a not-very-subtle villain. In the first episode, he fires people with aplomb and seeks new ways to take down Conrad. He is also still pining for the imprisoned Dr. Hunter, who poisoned her own patients for financial gain. Even he couldn’t stomach that.
Daddy issues: Conrad’s dad Marshall Winthrop (yes, the writers clearly picked the name to sound super rich), played by “24” star Glenn Morshower, showed up late season one and now runs the hospital as chairman. There will be inevitable clashes with Randolph as well as his son. “His dad represents business and money and potentially corruption,” Czuchry said. “That’s what he values. Conrad values patients and their lives.”
Will the fans see a Mina/AJ combo? No word on that but both actors acknowledge fans would love to see a hook up. “There’s so much tension between the two characters,” Warner said. “There’s this lovely underlying energy that is happening at the same time. Neither of us are intentionally playing that. It’s just happening in this dance we’re doing. It’s been an interesting journey.” Wilson said she is still with the sexy heart-transplant patient from season one, at least when the season begins.
More business conflicts: A medical device company (led by a rep played by Jenna Dewan of “Step Up” fame) will give Chastain a great deal to use their equipment exclusively. This rubs the Raptor the wrong way, for sure. “I’m forced to use equipment that has not been proven,” Warner said. “And that starts to affect my level of care.”
“The Resident,” 8 p.m. Mondays, Fox, season two beginning September 24, 2018