Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Resident

Go To
Left to right: Dr. Devon Pradesh, Nurse Nicolette Nevin, Dr. Conrad Hawkins, and Dr. Randolph Bell
The Resident is an American Medical Drama television series created by Amy Holden Jones, Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi.

It stars Matt Czuchry as the titular resident, Emily VanCamp as the best nurse ever, Manish Dayal as a Wide-Eyed Idealist intern, Bruce Greenwood as a chief of surgery (and later CEO) with an increasing propensity to commit medical errors, Shaunette Renée Wilson as a surgical resident with a brusque bedside manor, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner as a crack cardiothoracic surgeon with "an ego the size of Texas."

In the show's first season, Melina Kanakaredes played a sweet-talking oncologist with a dark side, and Merrin Dungey played the hospital CEO.


The Resident contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Advertised Extra: Merrin Dungey is credited as a regular from episode 2 onwards, yet only appeared intermittently, and her character was written out of the show by the end of season one.
  • Alliterative Name: Nicolette "Nic" Nevin and A.J. Austin.
  • Amicable Exes: Dr. Voss and her ex-husband Brett, so much that he even becomes her New Old Flame.
  • Ass Shove: Frequent patient York is prone to doing this with a variety of objects, including a family-size bottle of maple syrup.
  • Big Store: A variation as Julian's boss, Gordon, shows investors a lavish fully-staffed lab where his company does all their testing and research into creating their "home-made" devices. Later, when Julian goes to the "lab," she finds it completely cleaned out with just three guys sitting around. It's the final proof Julian needs to realize her company is one massive fraud scheme.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dr. Lane Hunter.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Played with in season 2 as Lane Hunter pushes Bell to secretly help her make bail by threatening to release a tape of them in bed together. Once he does so, Bell thinks that's it only to find Lane expects him to testify on her behalf at the trial. Bell refuses to risk his reputation aiding her and tells her to just go right ahead and release the tape. Lane threatens to go into some of Bell's shady moves and risky surgeries but Bell just snorts on how, as much as they may dislike him, his staff despises Lane far more and "will back me before they support you." Subverted as Lane threatens Bell with the solicitation arrest he thought he had buried but that's ended when Lane is killed.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Dr. Devon Pravesh and his fiancée Priya, a journalist.
  • Break the Cutie: Dr. Devon Pravesh
  • Break the Haughty: Cain smugly talks to a racist about how he's much smarter than he is despite his race. He ends up paying for it when he realizes too late that he just did an operation to destroy the man's kind-hearted alternate persona and let the racist be in control. The racist even smugly says, "you're not as smart as you think."
  • Broken Pedestal: Once they figure out what she's been doing, Dr. Hunter becomes for Devin and especially for Conrad.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Played straight and deconstructed:
    • Conrad's abrasive attitude and massive ego are overlooked by both patients and doctors. Patients like him because he listens to them and looks out for their interests, while the Chastain Park staff tolerates him because he is an incredibly gifted internist and diagnostician.
    • AJ Austin, on the other hand, might be the greatest cardiothoracic surgeon in the country, but he's such an abusive prick inside the OR and out that he has trouble keeping a permanent position— eventually he hits the point where his skills can't make up for the nightmare of having to be in the same room as he is.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Deconstructed, the first two people to get CPR are a guy who is hemorraging (he dies) and a drug addict who has endocarditis and is revived only to leave her brain-dead.
  • Combat Medic: Conrad's position in the Marines, and where he picked up his preference for quick and personal medicine over relying on tests.
  • Compressed Vice: Bell's high mortality rate in surgery was a major plot point in season one. After season one ended, Bell never again used Mina to cover up for his deficiencies, and preformed all of his surgeries himself without any signs of being unable.
    • Justified as the problem came from a tremor that was stated to be psychosomatic and stress-induced— Bell also spent season one with crippling financial problems. After becoming CEO and launching a successful supplement, his finances cleared up, thus allowing the tremor to fade.
  • The Coup: In "Haunted," Hunter recruits Bell to join her in ousting hospital CEO Claire Thorpe, whose new emphasis on "transparency" and increased accountability for medical errors threatens them both. They succeed in the following episode.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-universe example as Bell is meeting with three candidates for a CEO position involving saline at the hospital. Marshall shows up and dryly notes how one doctor is being investigated for tax fraud; another claims to graduated with a BA from Harvard and a MBA from Wharton but actually attended college in Arizona; and the third has basically pushed his hospital to bankruptcy via his bad business. He tells the humiliated Bell to "stick with what you know" and let Marshall handle the actual business stuff.
  • Cynical Mentor:
    • Dr. Conrad Hawkins, the titular resident, who takes a Good Is Not Nice attitude toward Dr. Pravesh.
      • Secret Test of Character: in "Independence Day," Hawkins gives Pradesh a strict order that he knows Pradesh will have to disobey in order to properly treat the patient—and later congratulates him for doing exactly that.
    • A.J. Austin is this to Mina Okafor.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Conrad Hawkins has serious Daddy Issues.
    • Nicolette Nevin's sister became addicted to opioids.
    • Lane Hunter got into trouble with the medical board in Tennessee before moving to Atlanta, probably for the same sort of fraud that, once discovered, leads to her downfall in "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Conrad, Mina, Dr. Feldman in the ER, and A.J. Austin, who can out-snark anyone.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Conrad feels like he's doing this when he takes money from his estranged father in order to pay Nic's bail, but as it turns out his father is not the bad guy Conrad always thought.
    • Bell sells the hospital to Red Rock to solve their money problems, resulting in a drop in the hospital's standard of care, and a demotion for Bell personally.
  • Determinator: During "Snowed In", Dr. Austin decides to walk all the way to Chastain in the middle of a massive snowstorm in order to help Mina with a difficult operation. Although by the time he arrives Mina has done the surgery, when complications arise Austin is there to assist.
  • Defector from Decadence: Dr. Hawkins was born into a very wealthy family, but cut himself off voluntarily.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Dr. Hawkins to Nurse Nevin.
  • Elephant in the Operating Room/Open Secret: Dr. Bell's physical and emotional deterioration (detailed in the Hiding the Handicap and Tragic Villain entries below) has caused so many sometimes fatal surgical errors that he's been nicknamed "HODAD" — "Hands Of Death And Destruction" — by some of the staff, and they expect a negative outcome any time Bell picks up a scalpel.
    Hospital CEO Claire Thorpe: How did the surgery go?
    • Averted in "The Prince and the Pauper," when Bell performs a complicated "Whipple procedure" on a teenage cancer patient "flawlessly."
  • Due to the Dead: After Simon, the eldest custodian working at Chastain, dies from complications of his illness, Dr. Bell honors him by cleaning the operating room all on his own.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Subverted. The main characters are an internist, a nurse practitioner, an intern, and a surgical resident, while the attending and administrators are either secondary characters or villains.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Played for drama and lampshaded with regards to Dr. AJ Austin. One doctor criticizing another's bedside manor is one thing, Dr. Mina Okafor saying Austin is horrible with patients is quite another.
    • Bell may be greedy, duplicitous, power-hungry and self-centered to the extreme...but even he is horrified when he discovers Lane Hunter (his lover) is giving patients who have no cancer chemotherapy just so she can get richer. While turning her in is partly to cover himself and the hospital, it's clear even Bell is disgusted by what Lane has been doing.
    • Likewise, in season two, Bell thinks Quo Vadis is a great company to work with. But when a child nearly dies because of a faulty Quo Vadis device, Bell realizes the entire company is a huge fraud and urges the board to cut ties. He openly admits he's driven by guilt that a child nearly died because of the partnership he pushed and can't allow it to happen again.
    • Season 3 has Bell becoming more disgusted at how far the hospital's new owners are going to help the bottom line over patients. He's also appalled as Cain (whose ego makes Bell look humble) blames others for his own mistakes and willing to let a patient die in a low-rent hospice rather than mess up his "perfect" record.
  • Everything's Precious with Puppies, so Dr. Okafor brings a litter from the animal shelter for the kids in the pediatric wing to play with. When one escapes, it leads to a hospital-wide series of Cuteness Proximity events.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Red Rock and Dr. Cain in particular are this for Bell.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: guess what happens to Nicolette in the episode entitled "And the Nurses Get Screwed"?
  • Expy: Hawkins and Bell, as the doctor and the administrator fighting over caring for patients versus the financial interests of the hospital, are expies of Scrubs Dr. Cox and Dr. Kelso respectively. Except Bell has none of Kelso's redeeming qualities.
  • Fiction 500: Conrad's father, Marshall Winthrop. Investor in several major corporations, chairman of the Chastain Park board, and can post Nicolette's $100,000 bail with ease.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Nicely subverted for laughs. When Bell discovers a new patient just won $36 million in the lottery, he immediately gives him the VIP treatment and tries sucking up for a big donation. At the end, Bell is thrown when the guys ends up cutting a check for just a few thousand dollars. He explains that rather than accept the entire winnings off the bat, he agreed to annual installments which are taxed less and add up to more money in the end. Bell can only force a painful smile as the guy laughs "Come on, only an idiot thinks it's better to get $36 million all at once!"
  • Former Teen Rebel: It's been confirmed that Conrad ran wild in his youth, mostly to lash out at his father. Nic's sister implied that Nic Nevins might be this as well.
  • Frame-Up:
    • Dr. Hunter frames Nicolette for the death of a cancer patient, and a few other things, in retaliation for Nicolette looking into questionable treatment methods at Hunter's cancer clinic.
    • In "Total Eclipse of the Heart," Bell tells Hunter to go remove the incriminating evidence from her clinic so they can burn it—and then promptly informs the authorities, who catch her red-handed at the clinic door.
  • Good Is Not Nice: A.J. Austin practices tough love on everyone, accent on the tough part.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Nic Nevins.
  • He's Not My Boyfriend: Nic proclaims this of Conrad after he visits her in jail, before saying he might be. A guard then makes a similar claim about her (maybe) girlfriend.
  • Hiding the Handicap: Dr. Bell, the arrogant chief of surgery, suffers from uncontrollable hand tremors that make it dangerous for him to do delicate procedures. Rather than admit his problem (which is already an Open Secret in the hospital), he resorts to trickery (such as having Dr. Okafor secretly operate an advanced surgical instrument in a procedure Bell is ostensibly performing in a live webcast), taking short-cuts that make the procedures easier for him but increase the risk to the patient, engineering blatant cover-ups when something goes wrong, and self-medicating with a drug that has nasty psychological side effects.
  • Indy Ploy: Conrad often resorts to this to protect a patient's welfare from the cost-control machinations of the hospital administration.
  • Inherent in the System: The show takes a dark view of the health care system.
  • In-Series Nickname: Austin begins to be called The Raptor, and he actually likes it.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Devon's fiancee Priya, who is looking into Hunter's cancer treatment methods.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Bell is greedy and dishonest and Only in It for the Money, but he's right to point out that the hospital has to be able to make enough money to pay for all the charitable work that Conrad would like it to do.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Conrad Hawkins and Mina Okafor are both abrasive, arrogant, and rude, but they genuinely care about their patients and endeavor to treat everyone to the best of their ability, not just the wealthy.
    • AJ Austin, even more so.
  • Karma Houdini: Dr. Bell. By the time the series starts, he's caused so much death and horror in the operating room that the fact he's become a lousy surgeon is an Elephant in the Living Room among the hospital staff, and yet he still is considered one of their best surgeons, has not been sued, and has enormous influence over the administrators.
  • Karmic Death: Gordon Page, who had previously sent his goons to go after Julian and provoking a car crash that almost killed her, gets killed in a car accident while trying to flee from the authorities.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Mina is hugely (and uncharacteristically) excited to meet Conrad's mentor, Dr. Jacoby, to the point where she prepared a speech to tell her and can't stop smiling for most of the episode. At the end of the episode, she thanks Dr. Jacoby for being her hero.
  • Lovable Rogue: Conrad Hawkins, who takes on corruption in the medical industry with a wink and a smile.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Drs. Bell and Hunter, each in their own way.
  • Military School: Conrad mentions having been sent to military school in "Lost Love".
  • Missus And The Ex: When Conrad's ex-fiancée Catherine is admitted, this dynamic develops between her and Nic, despite both Catherine and Nic being Conrad's ex's at this point. There's no tension between Conrad and Catherine, as they broke up over a decade ago, and Catherine's conversations with Nic open Nic's eyes to just how much Conrad loves her.
  • Mock Millionaire: Bell has nice clothes and a flashy Porsche and appears prosperous, but he's deeply in debt.
  • Mood Whiplash: the ending of "Lost Love," which goes from heartwarming scenes involving puppies to Lilly dying.
  • Nepotism: Season 2 sees Conrad becoming the unwilling recipient of this after his father becomes Chastain's chairman. His father keeps pulling him into meetings with the CEO and takes any input he offers seriously, despite being a third-year resident.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Cain treats a horrible racist who turns out to have an alternate personality of a kind man who's horrified by his other persona leading a neo-Nazi movement. Cain decides to break protocol and perform an operation that will excise the tumor that's causing this alternate persona to exist. It's only afterward that Cain realizes that it was the kind-hearted figure that was the alternate persona. With him gone, the ruthless racist is fully in control and smugly gloats on how Cain did him a huge favor by getting rid of his "weaker" side.
  • Nom de Mom: Implied with Conrad Hawkins. In any event, he doesn't share his father's surname of Winthrop.
  • No Social Skills:
  • Only in It for the Money: The hospital administration is more interested in cost and profit margin than they are in actually helping people.
    • The administrators hold a video conference with their counterparts at other hospitals, hoping to get one of them to take an undocumented immigrant with cancer off their hands by trading them some Medicaid patients.
    • The hospital hires a consultant to train staff in "upcoding": recording tests and procedures using more expensive billing codes so the hospital gets reimbursed more.
    • When a homeless woman with altered mental status who will require extensive treatment appears at the hospital, Bell and the administration are all set to dump her on another facility—until they find out she's the daughter of one of the richest families in the state of Georgia. She's moved to the VIP wing immediately, and Bell plans to hit up her parents for a charitable donation.
    • Lane Hunter runs her cancer treatment center in a way that maximizes profit rather than patient survival: using expensive proprietary drugs on which she owns the formulas, aggressively treating the most hopeless cases, and even going so far as to treat patients for cancers they don't have to generate more billings.
    • Subverted in "Run, Doctor, Run." A drug needed to treat a rare (and usually fatal) amoebic infection costs $48,000 a dose. The manufacturer's CEO delivers it personally, and explains that the high price is "just enough to keep the lights on" at his company, which only makes this one product—the drug is so difficult to make, and so rarely needed and used, that "big pharma" won't produce it because they can't make a profit.
  • Not So Different: Simon, the elderly custodian of Chastain, reveals to Conrad that back when Bell was a resident, he advocated for measures like forbidding from smoking in hospitals.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: When in the Marines, Conrad would go above and beyond his remit as a combat medic to perform emergency surgery, despite being an internist at best. Justified in that he was a trained medic, had completed at least part of his medical training, and if he did nothing, people would definitely die, but if he intervened, they only might die. His tendency to do this is a civilian hospital goes over far worse, leading to him being disciplined and sued.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Dr. Eileen Jacoby, a legendary neurosurgeon who was one of Conrad's medical school professors, is seeing visions of patients who died under her care. Conrad looks long and hard for a biological cause, but eventually he and Dr. Jacoby conclude that the visions are a side-effect of depression brought on by not having enough to do in retirement after a very active career. Dr. Jacoby resolves to become more active, and all seems well—but then, Conrad has a similar vision of Lilly Kendall at home that evening.
  • Papa Wolf: Marshall Winthrop is shaping up as this, going to far as to personally pay off a patient suing Conrad rather than allow his son's career to be put at risk.
  • Perma-Stubble: Conrad, as befits his rebel nature.
  • Pulling the Thread: Devon Pradesh uncovers the true nature of Lane Hunter's medical fraud when he discovers that "frequent flyer" hypochondriac Olivia Tan has been getting chemotherapy for cancer she does not actually have.
  • Reality Ensues: Late in season 2, Bell reveals to his assistant that the hospital's donations are down over 40%. When asked why, he dryly points out that having one doctor discovered to be behind a massive cancer patient fraud who was then murdered and then partnering with a company that was a massive scam selling inferior devices tended to scare away potential investors.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Marshall Winthrop is shaping up to be one, trying to find a balance between profit and patient care. The question is if this how he usually does business, or an attempt to get back into Conrad's good graces.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "Haunted," Jude Silva delivers an epic one to Bell after Bell's corner-cutting methods nearly kill a wealthy and prominent patient. Immediately afterward, Bell revokes Silva's hospital privileges.
  • Recovered Addict: Deconstructed twice.
    • One patient gave up drugs and alcohol but kept getting drunk because he had been abusing alcohol for so long that he developed a medical condition that caused him to convert sugar into alcohol in his stomach.
    • One patient developed dementia as a result of alcohol abuse. The fact that he quit drinking twenty years earlier didn't help, the damage to his brain was already done.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Dr. Voss was introduced in the second season, apparently she had been there all along.
  • The Reveal: In the very last scene of the first season finale, Bell discovers to his horror that the new chairman of the hospital board is Conrad's father.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Conrad did this 11 years before the start of the series, cutting himself off from his family money in favor of enlisting in the marines. Notably, his father implies that Conrad can still access his trust fund; he simply won't due to his disgust at how his father made that money.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: How Bell and Hunter escape responsibility.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Conrad Hawkins lives by this trope.
    • Mina Okafor is providing medical care to poor people in her neighborhood "off the books."
  • Secretly Wealthy: Conrad Hawkins is a Marine veteran, put himself through medical school, and has nothing but disdain for the rich, which makes it all the more surprising when we learn that he was born into a very wealthy family. When his father tried to buy Conrad's attention, he offered to give him a hospital. It didn't work.
  • Sex for Solace: Between Nic and Conrad after Lily's death. They'd been working towards a reconciliation before this; her death was just the tipping point.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Conrad Hawkins. On the surface, he seems fairly okay, but he has a history of sudden and extreme reactions, varying from claustrophobically intense to violent. Nic and Conrad's first breakup was prompted by his refusal to seek help for his PTSD.
  • Shown Their Work: Conrad's immense skill with setting IV lines, best showcased in "Identity Crisis".note 
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Olivia Tan, a hypochondriac "frequent flyer" that Devon Pradesh sees in the ER in several episodes, is a minor recurring character whose primary purpose is comic relief—but when she tells Devon that she's been going to Dr. Hunter's clinic for chemo, even though she doesn't have cancer, it leads to the exposure of Hunter's medical fraud.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: Chastain Park Memorial Hospital has a beautiful building with bright, happy public spaces, and is best known in the community as the home of charismatic star surgeon Dr. Randolph Bell — but the senior physicians (such as Bell and Hunter) and hospital administrators are Only in It for the Money, suffer from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, and regularly resort to subterfuge to cover up their medical mistakes and bad decisions.
    • At the affiliated cancer treatment center run by Dr. Lane Hunter, they're keeping the patients' medical records secret and signing the staff to strict nondisclosure agreements—ostensibly to protect the "trade secret" formulas of experimental, proprietary drugs owned by Hunter and her investors.
      • The secrecy means that when one of Hunter's patients checks in to the main hospital to be treated for problems ancillary to their disease (such as "opportunistic infections") or side effects of the drugs, the hospital staff doesn't know enough about what they are dealing with.
      • In "Total Eclipse of the Heart," we learn that the full story is even worse: Hunter has been giving chemo to patients who don't even have cancer, allowing her to collect from their insurers and giving her a reputation for "miraculous" cures.
    • Quoa Vadis rep Julian is happy to work for her boss, who boasts of their medical devices being top of the line and manufactured right in Atlanta to ensure their safety. When she goes to check on a facility, Julian sees the workers taking devices out of boxes from China and putting them right into new boxes to be "homemade" Quoa Vadis creations.
    • The next episode has boss Gordon showing investors a lavish lab where their "homemade" devices are created. Going there later, Julian finds the "lab" now totally empty and finally realizes the entire company is one massive fraud scam.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: Conrad has 3 tattoos: a military insignia over his heart, a caduceus on his forearm, and "Death Before Dishonor" across his shoulders. All highlight his driving forces— his military service, devotion to medicine, and refusal to engage in underhanded tactics common in both.
  • Tragic Villain: Bell, to a certain extent: over the course of the series, we learn that he's just gone through his second divorce, his hand tremors are worsening, the drug he's taking to mask that problem has psychological side effects including paranoia, and he's in sufficient financial trouble that he's selling a wealthy patient's thank-you gift, a 24-karat Rolex, on eBay the same day he got it.
    • At the end of Season 1, he loses "the love of my life" when Lane Hunter is arrested for murder when her medical fraud is exposed.
    • It hits a new low in the opening scene of "The Prince and the Pauper," when he picks up a prostitute who reminds him of Lane Hunter...and she turns out to be an undercover cop who arrests him for solicitation. He spends the night in jail and ends up with a felony conviction.
  • Villain Has a Point: Dr. Hunter complained about lawyers, administrators, and other forms of oversight forcing doctors to practice medicine defensively. Even though Hunter was a murderer who only cared about not getting caught, in another episode the three heroic protagonists were making the same complaints.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Mina wakes up at a country club golf course in a man's suit and no clue what happened the night before. It's Grayson who shows her photos of how she got massively drunk at a hospital party, did body shots and crashed a bar mitzvah. Everyone else is astounded to realize how the stern and serious Mina turned into an absolute party animal. Mina herself deletes every photo she can find as she tries to shake it off.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Manish Dayal's Dr. Devon Pravesh, an intern who on his first day performs CPR on a drug addict for an extended time only to leave her brain-dead.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: