The Resident star Emily VanCamp breaks down Nic's shocking medical emergency
Series executive producer Andrew Chapman also shares insight into why this needed to happen.
Warning: This article contains spoilers about the Feb. 9 episode of The Resident, "Home Before Dark."
Season 4 of The Resident has thus far been filled with mostly joyous moments. From the premiere that opened with Nic (Emily VanCamp) and Conrad's (Matt Czuchry) wedding and ended with Mina (Shaunette Renée Wilson) and A.J. (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) finally sharing a long-awaited kiss.
But the writers did not come to play on Tuesday night. In episode 5, a very pregnant and happy Nic was stabbed multiple times by a would-be patient who was turned away on the day Chastain Park Memorial Hospital was due to shutter.
VanCamp and series executive producer Andrew Chapman spoke to EW about why this story needed to be told, what's ahead for the remainder of the season, and whether or not the CoNic baby could be named Jessie.
"We were all shocked when we read this episode," VanCamp tells EW exclusively. "It's a difficult story to tell, and it certainly was difficult to play. It's the direction the writers wanted to take and we just go with it. There's certainly a lot of trauma surrounding that kind of storytelling, because it's really shocking."
Adds Chapman, "The deep backstory is that this was always planned as the season 3 finale, but our season got cut due to COVID so we lost a bunch of episodes. Episodes 1, 3, and 5 were supposed to be episodes 21, 22, and 23 of last season. We loved those episodes so much that we decided to push them into this season. And with us wanting to turn Chastain into a public hospital, in a weird way, the first 5 episodes of this season are kind of the wrap up of last season. So starting with episode 6, we're starting over with new stories tied to Chastain being a public hospital that we wanted to tell."
Chapman goes on to further explain the importance of telling stories that depict the real-life situations medical workers experience, which includes patient assaults.
"It's a huge, unspoken thing," he says. "Every nurse you ever talk to in every hospital in the entire country has at least one episode or more where a patient has attacked them. It's a constant thing and we wanted to show that. Nic is our No. 1 nurse, so she was the perfect person and this was the right moment to do it because we also wanted to show that when hospitals close down, people suffer and patients suffer. Hospitals are closing down all over the country, and it's an issue."
In this episode, viewers caught a rare glimpse of a helpless Conrad. After Nic goes into cardiac arrest, he managed to help get Nic's heart going again, but he had to trust in his colleagues.
"These particular episodes are interesting because we see Conrad in a different light," says VanCamp. "There really isn't much that he can do, so he is really relying on his friends to pull him through this. As far as Nic goes, she's under most of the episode, so he's more vulnerable than I think we've ever seen. With the hospital closing down and the lack of resources, it adds an extra layer to the fear. It was interesting to see Conrad struggling with what fate will hold."
As for Nic's future, she says, "We're still receiving the new episodes as we speak, but inevitably, there's long-term trauma emotionally with that kind of experience. And with the baby, I think things will be up and down. Hearing the heartbeat is a magical moment for both of them because it's so amazing they were able to push through the trauma physically, and that's one massive hurdle."
Chapman notes that as the season moves forward, things will settle down for CoNic — even though Nic's assailant will be back.
"Yes, you'll see him again," says Chapman. "He shows up and plays a big part in one more episode. You'll learn why he did it and it's not just because he's an evil, bad guy. There were cracks in the system and he fell through those cracks."
He emphatically adds, "I promise you, we're not going to torture Nic anymore this season. We will let her heal and get better. We just felt there was a really powerful way to show the things we wanted to show, but also the bond between Nic and Conrad. Nic always stands up for Conrad and she's always there for him. Now he has to reciprocate. That was very important to us."
In the meantime, VanCamp is enjoying all the benefits of playing a pregnant Nic on television, which includes indulging in delicious food as her character reaches the end of her first trimester on the show.
"Yes, I'm wearing a prosthetic belly, which has been interesting because it has to continuously grow," VanCamp says with a giggle. "We're constantly trying to figure out what the right size should be. But it does give me a little leeway to indulge a little bit more than I normally would."
Nic and Conrad have been joking on the show and sharing the worst baby names they could think of for their daughter. But could she end up with either her first or middle name serving as a tribute to Nic's sister Jessie?
"Wow, that's a really nice idea," VanCamp responds coyly. "I haven't even thought of baby names yet, but that's very sweet. I love that. That's a cute idea!"
Adds Chapman, "Baby names is going to be a fun little runner that goes through a bunch more episodes. We will resolve the whole baby name when the baby comes popping out."
As to whether or not that will happen by the end of season 4, both VanCamp and Chapman encourage fans to keep watching.