The Resident star Conrad Ricamora on Jake's growing bond with Bell amid heartbreak: 'This is a huge step'
Executive producer Andrew Chapman also dishes on Cain's redemption and Pravesh's love life.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Tuesday's episode of The Resident, "Doors Opening, Doors Closing."
On the Fox medical drama The Resident, plastic surgeon Jake Wong (Conrad Ricamora) has been growing closer to his former stepfather, hospital CEO Randolph Bell (Bruce Greenwood). And while it's lamentable that their relationship progressed due to Jake's failed adoption attempt, it's at least a step in the right direction.
"Bell is showing he's going to be there for Jake during those critical moments, and he's not going to run away when things get hard like he did when Jake was growing up," Ricamora tells EW. "This is a huge step. As a child of divorce, when one parent leaves, it leaves behind a lot of trust issues. Bell, in this instance, is repairing that by staying through something as dramatic as what Jake goes through in this episode."
In this week's episode, the arrival of a young pregnant woman at Chastain Park Memorial turned Jake and his husband Gregg's (Christopher J. Hanke) lives upside down. Unbeknown to Bell, she was carrying the child his former stepson was waiting to adopt. The baby arrived early due to complications, but the little one got to meet her future dads, who were besotted at first sight.
Further complications arose when the young woman's conservative parents arrived and issued an ultimatum: They would continue to support their daughter financially only if she gave the baby up for adoption to a straight couple.
"Losing that baby leaves [Jake and Gregg] devastated," Ricamora says. "Bell was there as a support, he's there to listen, and he's not trying to tell them what to do. He's doing really great, and I think Jake is registering that."
Executive producer Andrew Chapman adds, "We love Conrad, and it's been great having him join the cast this season. Bringing in Jake was a way to humanize Bell and to make the season all about family for him. This is the moment we've all been building towards. The adoption story line is so heartbreaking. They didn't get this child because of prejudice, but also because you stand up for who you are. This will launch us deeper into a really powerful Jake-Bell story line."
Although this fictional adoption didn't work out as planned, Ricamora hopes the episode will bring awareness of how this happens to gay couples in real life.
"A lot of LGBTQ couples don't have adoption rights in certain states and the child can be taken away," the How to Get Away With Murder alum says. "I hope it helps bring awareness that this happens way too often. I also hope the episode shows what Bell says is very true: A child needs love and support and the presence of two willing parents."
He continues: "I remember when my stepmom married my dad, she was always talking about choice. For gay parents, it's a choice made over several years to have a child. You continually have to put in resources before you can even adopt a child or work through surrogacy. This means there's a big commitment involved, which is what a kid needs — committed parents. There are so many LGBTQ couples who are committed to showing a child love and support that still have to face so many more hurdles that are discriminatory. I hope we can let go of some of that and really embrace the idea that commitment is more important than the sexual orientation or identification of the parents is."
Other tidbits from the episode included a softening of Dr. Cain (Morris Chesnut) thanks to his growing friendship with Rose (Cara Ricketts), a sickle cell patient who was admitted to the hospital.
"We wanted to tell this important story about sickle cell disease, and it's based on a true story," Chapman reveals. "We thought it would be a fascinating way to talk about Cain's redemption and also his recovery from his accident. Pairing Cain with someone who has gone through this exact same thing her whole life seemed moving to us. Just wait and see episode 12, the scenes between Cain and Rose are going to blow your mind."
The idea of love is also something that Devon Pravesh (Manish Dayal) — who did not secretly become the father of a little prince, it was revealed — is finally considering.
"This whole season has been about Devon finding himself after losing his dad, and it's been a struggle," Chapman says. "This is now a nice moment where Devon is considering settling down and finding love. Maybe working with the matchmaker could be a way. This connects him to his Indian roots, and it's also a nice tribute to how his parents met. Bringing back the princess was a fake-out, but it was a way to put him on a different path. If and when we get a season 5, there will be a lot of growth and maturity there for him."
The Resident airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
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