Fox’s medical drama ‘The Resident’ can’t save itself
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Dr. Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry), “The Resident” of Fox’s new medical drama, doesn’t play by the rules. He’s foul-mouthed, obnoxious, has no respect for authority but he gets results. We’ve seen him before. And we’ve seen him on much better shows.
“The Resident” is an exercise in frustration. Self-important, predictable and inconsistent, the series delivers bland stories about terrible people playing God just because they can.
The series follows Conrad as he shows his new intern, Devon (Manish Dayal), his particular brand of doctoring, which is revered by his co-workers, including Nic (Emily VanCamp) — a nurse and his former lover — and Mina (Shaunette Renée Wilson), a brusque surgical resident. The only staff member who resists Conrad’s charms and his personal moral code is chief of surgery Randolph Bell (Bruce Greenwood), who regularly kills patients in surgical accidents due to a tremor, and regularly covers it up.
Although there’s improvement in its second episode, the biggest problem with the irritating series is that it wants you to love Conrad and his resistance to the corruption in the modern health care system, but it also makes him loathsome.
There are moments when he’s all smiles and standing up for the little guy, but others when he’s incurably reprehensible, as when he tries to pull the plug on a brain-dead patient before the family has consented. When he pivots from good guy to jerk, the episodes crater.
The supporting characters do little to help. Dr. Bell is the obvious villain, but he is only slightly more odious than the rest. Devon is entitled in his own way, encouraged by Conrad to be the worst version of himself. Mina is unfeeling to the point she flippantly tells a patient’s family of his death as if announcing the time. And although Nic is ostensibly the show’s moral center, she sides with Conrad more often than not.
It’s a shame, because it’s a waste of the talents of Czuchry and VanCamp (“Revenge”), two usually appealing TV veterans. In fact, Czuchry has made the entitled jerk type work wonders on better-written shows like “Gilmore Girls” and “The Good Wife.” That he can’t make Conrad sympathetic is telling.
An angry, self-centered, anti-heroic doctor has anchored good medical series before (hello, Gregory House), but “The Resident” doesn’t have the inherent charm required to propel it. It also arrives in a season in which the biggest breakout hit is ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” a show that’s so feel-good it borders on saccharine, but its earnest tone works for it.
Like Conrad, “The Resident” is trying to be too clever for its own good.
Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY
9 p.m. Sunday, then 8 p.m. Mondays starting Jan. 22 on WFLD-Channel 32