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‘The Resident’ returns: Malcolm-Jamal Warner talks shooting the medical drama in the time of COVID-19

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TuesdayJan122021

©2019 Fox Media LLC. Cr: Miranda Penn Turin/FOX(NEW YORK) — The hit medical drama The Resident returns tonight on Fox following a pandemic production delay last spring.

The series eventually returned to shoot under strict COVID-19 safety protocols. "It's weird because, you know, I definitely feel like outside of my home, the set is the absolute safest place I can possibly be," co-star Malcolm-Jamal Warner tells ABC Audio.

That being said, the rules are out of the ordinary — even on a show where the TV doctors are seen masked up, he explains.

"There is something very…challenging about [it]. The whole crew wears masks and face shields all the time, and we wear masks even throughout rehearsal," Warner says. "The only time we take our mask off is when they yell action."

Warner, who plays ace surgeon A.J. Austin, says the process actually "keeps it fresh" for the actors — and provides some measure of comic relief.

"Literally, every time I take my mask off to shoot, brother is coming in to comb my beard out," he laughs. "Then they have someone from wardrobe with the lint brush to make sure there's no hair on my shirt. Like every single take, that's part of the process."

Incidentally, The Resident last season dealt with a killer microbe on the loose at Chastain Memorial Hospital, sparking an emergency medical lockdown. That episode ran with a disclaimer that the plot preceded the pandemic. The sad irony wasn't lost on Warner.

"It was 100 percent surreal because when they wrote that episode, there was no COVID, you know, there was no knowledge of COVID," he says. "So to see that play out — it was weird."

The Resident, which also stars Emily VanCamp, Matt Czuchry, Bruce Greenwood, and airs at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.