How The Resident Is Handling The Mystery Of Nic's Death

Spoilers ahead for the fourth episode of The Resident Season 5 on Fox, called “Now What?”

The Resident has been an emotional ride throughout the fifth season so far, with the exit of Emily VanCamp looming over even the more lighthearted moments until the eventual reveal of Nic’s death. Now, the show has to deal with the aftermath of Nic’s death, and Conrad wasn’t going to get any closure for as long as the mystery of what caused it went unsolved. It seemed like he was no closer to figuring out the inciting incident at the end of the hour than he was when she first died, up until he made a possible breakthrough. Here’s how The Resident is handling the mystery. 

Conrad was obsessing over his wife’s death and spending too much time at the scene of the accident, although caring for GiGi at least meant that he couldn’t completely spiral into trying to figure out what happened that Nic crashed her car despite no medical or mechanical reason that he could detect. His dad tried to talk some sense into him, and Conrad came up with increasingly unlikely diagnoses for Nic up until the point that Devon finally had to come out and say what amounted to that sometimes things just happen for no reason. And it pushed Conrad to see things a little more clearly.

So he tore down his wall of “evidence” of what he thought might have happened to her, and visited the scene of the crash for what seemed like the final time… and that yielded what is probably the best answer that fans will ever get. He spotted a deer on the side of the road, just watching. And although Conrad didn’t say anything, celebrate seemingly cracking the case, or break down in tears at believing he got closure, The Resident found a subtle way to suggest that Nic’s crash happened simply because she was trying to swerve away from hitting a deer. 

And that’s probably as close as The Resident can come to a definitive explanation of what happened to Nic on that fateful night. It’s still pretty convenient that the crash was bad enough to kill her without leaving her unrecognizable, but Nic has clearly already had her funeral and running all the tests in the world on GiGi couldn’t 100% determine if something genetic had led to Nic’s death. And honestly, I’m content with the explanation of Nic swerving to avoid a deer. 

It’s admittedly an anticlimactic way to explain The Resident’s former leading lady’s heartbreaking demise, especially when Conrad himself was floating all kinds of ideas about rare and wild diagnoses for what happened. But it was also a nice tribute to Nic, in a way. If she died trying not to hit a deer, then her last act was in service of trying to save a life. Even if it was a deer. In fact, considering that the breakthrough only happened when Conrad just so happened to see a deer by the side of the road, then it’s safe to say that Nic successfully avoiding hitting an animal. 

And it might be for the best if The Resident wraps up the mystery without dragging out Nic’s death. Then again, the promo for the next episode indicates that the show isn’t done dealing with Conrad’s attempts to emotionally move on from what happened. He’ll be looking for a distraction, and that distraction seems to be… spooky? Take a look:

Is The Resident bringing Nic back as a ghost? Well, it certainly would be a major twist, but I’m guessing this will just be the next stage of his recovery process. Find out with the next new episode of The Resident on Tuesday, October 19 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox in the fall TV lineup.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.