The Resident was one of the most highly anticipated new shows of the year, and it was well worth the wait.
There is very little to dislike about The Resident Season 1 Episode 1. In fact, it was one of the strongest pilots I have watched in some time.
It was a long hour or so, and that is meant in the best possible way. It felt like a two-hour premiere because the time got used wisely.
It didn't suffer from pilot-itis, the pacing of the show was just right, and it allowed viewers to jump right into the thick of it with characters who felt old friends by the midway point.
The character introductions were solid. There's no smooth way to introduce characters without it being a bit hokey or ham-fisted, but we got the gist of our main characters without any cringe-worthy or eye-roll inducing moments.
Dr. Bell was set up right out of the gate as the antagonist. Everything we needed to know about him this early on was laid out in the opening scene. He's past his prime with a hand tremor that should take him out of practicing surgery. He's vain, loves attention and accolades, and he's stubborn and ruthless.
His ruthlessness was highlighted when he resorted to threatening his team after he nicked an artery and killed a patient, and again when he threatened Mina's immigration status. The risk that this man is willing to take is astounding, but I love his nickname of Dr. HODAD.
Am I the only one wondering why he didn't just agree to let Mina do the surgery and lie to Lyle from the beginning? He doesn't mind lying, and he could have avoided the live streaming Conrad arranged. That was a brilliant move on Conrad's part, by the way, but wily Hodad outmaneuvered him.
The friction between those two will be entertaining, to say the least. It's a bit much at times, though.
Hospitals, like almost every structure, have a hierarchy, and as a third-year resident, Conrad going to toe-to-toe with the Chief of Surgery is a stretch. Both actors sell it well, so it's not as bothersome as it should be.
Conrad: You need to consider a change before you kill any more patients.
Bell: How dare you!
Conrad: Go be one of those celebrity TV doctors. You look the part. Make a lot of money. Wear nice clothes. You'd be great at it.
Bell: Watch yourself, Conrad.
Just how long can the man continue unchecked? I mean, he's killing people! I wish I could say that part of the show is unrealistic, but it's not -- far from it -- and that's terrifying.
The Resident chose to shift the focus from Devon to Conrad, and that was wise, but that's not to say that Manish Dayal isn't spectacular. In the well-deserved praise of Matt Czuchry, Dayal's impressive performance in his role is often lost in the mix.
Devon was well established from the beginning.
He's a lover (I needn't delve into how significant that love scene of his is on the grand scale of things), dutiful son, and freshly minted doctor. Yes, he's idealistic and new, but despite how Conrad was initially treating him, Devon's idealism isn't something to be mocked.
No one is trying to strip him of it, and it wasn't played up for a cheap laugh. It was merely something that he had to tame.
But Devon's not just the young, naive baby doctor with his head in the clouds. He has fire, too. While he eventually grew to respect Conrad and better understand his straight up, no chaser, teaching method, he resisted along the way.
It was laughable when he approached Nic demanding a new resident. That takes a serious pair of cajones to think he has any choice in the matter, but in a field that requires a touch of arrogance and balls, it was a small moment that showed that he belongs at Chastain Park; he's cut out for the job.
Another noteworthy moment was when you could visibly see Devon's opinion of his hero (Dr. Bell) change and his respect for Conrad uptick. The bromance/mentorship that is to come from these two will be fantastic if their many scenes in the hour are an indication.
They have a great chemistry. Dayal's performance is nuanced. Czuchry will be the one everyone is looking at, and how could you not? But Dayal is surely one to watch.
CONRAD: You came in here all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to save lives, but today, you didn't save a life. You saved a brain stem. Because you didn't listen to me. Now, the repercussions on Chloe's family will be catastrophic. There's no way they'll accept this. Chloe looks alive. They'll think she can wake up, so they will hover over her. Tend to her for days, weeks, maybe years...waiting for a miracle to happen that's utterly impossible. What was rule one, Devon?
DEVON: Do whatever you tell me to do, no questions asked.
CONRAD: All we want to do is help our patients, but what they don't teach in medical school is that there are so many ways to do harm.
Speaking of Czuchry, could he be any better in this role? He puts his all into it, and it highlights how criminally underused he was on The Good Wife. All that untapped potential never utilized for Cary Agos has been put full-force into Conrad Hawkins, and we get to witness the breadth of Czuchry's talent. Yay!
Two conclusions were reached from this pilot: The Resident isn't your standard medical show, at least not the type that has been churned out over the past 15 years. And Conrad isn't the standard "white guy rebel who is an ass, but hey, it's okay because he's a likable ass for a reason" which has become such a common, offputting trope.
Conrad unquestionably fits the bill and checks off all the bullet points -- the tattoos clenched it, you guys. The tattoos, and the hoodie, and jewelry, oy! But Matt Czuchry pulls it off.
Admittedly, Conrad pouring his drink on that jackass' car in an "Eff entitled, rich white guys, capitalism, and the entire system" act of rebellion to the tune of rap music roused a snort (or five). The "What's your flavor?" spiel with an affirmative action quip did as well, but once we moved beyond that, Conrad was awesome.
Playing this type of role is a balancing act, lean too far either way and it doesn't work. Conrad toes the line between dickish and affable. He's at times rude and crass, but there's an understanding that there is a method to the madness, so you don't mind putting up with it.
He is an intriguing character, and I can't wait to see what the writers and Czuchry do with this role.
Perhaps Conrad's speeches (and there were many of them) worked so well because they're realistic.
Hand to God, the main reason they weren't cheesy is that, during my first week of Grad school (Law, not Medical), I heard countless variations of the exact same thing, right down to the sentiment that you will be deliberately broken so that they can mold you into something better.
Conrad: Everything you thought you knew about medicine is wrong. All the rules you followed will break. I have only one rule, it covers everything. I'm never wrong. You do whatever the hell I tell you, no questions asked.
Devon: Do you want me to speak now?
Conrad: That's a question.
Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but it worked didn't it? Devon's lasting moment of triumph with Lily almost superseded his short-lived moment of triumph reviving Chloe.
Chloe's case was tragic but refreshing at the same time. On any other medical show, the music would swell, and all would be well, and the audience would pretend as if a woman who went without oxygen for a half and hour would miraculously come back to life in perfect health. Thankfully, that's not the case on The Resident.
That one case alone set it apart from the other medical dramas, in the event some of you are still insisting on writing off The Resident. Please, don't.
Congratulations, you got her heart beating again, but she's brain dead.Conrad
The Resident boasts taking on the healthcare system and giving a down and dirty look into the business side of it, and it does just that.
Conrad breaking down what Chloe's revival meant for her family gave me chills, and Nic commenting that the hospital will be thrilled at all the expenses the family will rack up made me chuckle, bitterly. It's about time that a medical drama addresses all the aspects of healthcare, not just the diagnosis and saving lives part.
Nic is your standard no-nonsense Nurse Practitioner that may be better than the doctors in some ways, but VanCamp is playing her, so no complaints here.
Medicine isn't practiced by Saints, Devon. It's a business.Nic
I particularly look forward to seeing her bond more with Devon. You can tell she's going to be the den mother of the show, and not in a sexist, stereotypical sort of way. She's the conscience. She'll have a helping hand in guiding Devon, and will likely serve as another mentor to him.
She'll also be there to keep Conrad from going too far. I'm curious as to what the conversation between them may entail after she caught him all prepared to let Chloe die peacefully.
It was such a quiet moment where we saw that Conrad would go to great lengths for his patients, but it also showed that Nic wouldn't let anything slide on her watch, even when it comes to him.
Also, can we talk about the chemistry between her and Czuchry? 'Ships come a dime a dozen and often are the least interesting types of relationships on a show, but this one could be fun!
Which brings me to my favorite character right out of the gate, Mina Okafor. If you're a Grey's Anatomy fan, and you miss the incomparable Cristina Yang, Mina is the doctor for you.
Sometimes the best doctors are the ones who are efficient at their jobs but lack tact. Conrad is more ideal, as hard as he is with his colleagues, he's personable and caring when it comes to his patients, but Mina is not.
Mina delivering the updates on the patients was one of the funniest scenes of the night. As awful as it is to say, the flippant way she told a family that their relative was dead was hilarious.
Her bedside manner isn't her strongest point, but that's okay because she's damn good at everything else. She mastered the heck out of that Titian. That's why I'm going to need Dr. Death to step all the way back from my girl Mina and stop holding her Immigration status over her head, thank you very much.
I'm also going to need all the Conrad and Mina scenes because they may already be the best friendship the show has to offer yet. I am a fan. Hawkfor scenes for the win!
The cases were interesting, but not outlandish. That's saying a lot given one guy happily enjoyed his rectal exam, and another's toe fell off, but all in a day's work, right?
The characters and all the relationships are engaging. On that front, I hope it continues, but I'm a bit concerned about the fact that we haven't been introduced to all of them yet. There are still two or three regular characters we have to meet.
Is The Resident everything you hoped it would be? Are you impressed with the cast and characters? Who's your favorite? Does this feel like a refreshing approach to a medical drama? Hit the comments below!
You can watch The Resident online here at TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.