DVD review: “New Amsterdam – Season One” (2019)

“New Amsterdam – Season One” (2019)

Television Drama

22 Episodes

Created by: David Schulner

Featuring: Ryan Eggold, Freema Agyeman, Janet Montgomery, Jocko Sims, Anupam Kher and Tyler Labine

New Amsterdam follows Dr. Max Goodwin as he becomes the medical director of one of the United States’ oldest public hospitals, aiming to reform the neglected facility by tearing up its bureaucracy in order to provide exceptional care to patients.

“New Amsterdam” is one of the latest in a long line of dramas set in hospitals or medical establishments, the reason they have remained so popular is the natural storytelling that they are able to elicit through the stories of the staff to the revolving nature of the incoming patients that are as varied as society itself. Many of these hospital dramas set their sites on a particular ward or floor of the hospitals that they inhabit however “New Amsterdam” seems to have too much enthusiasm in attempting to tell stories hospital; wide which leaves it feeling scattershot which is a shame as it seems to lack real cohesion. This new series is based on Dr. Eric Manheimer’s book on New York City’s Bellevue Hospital ‘Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital’, which attempts to give a warts and all look at the events that occur in a public hospital.

What could have been a great show in the way it involves many characters as well as their lives the main critical issue is that the series is built around on person who is just not that engaging. The main character portrayed by Ryan Eggold is such a trope laden cypher of a person that it is not only the feeling of been there, done that but he actually becomes a bit laughable after just one episode.

The supporting cast of “New Amsterdam” does its level best to rise above the material from wildly different sectors of the hospital. Over in the emergency room, Janet Montgomery’s Lauren Bloom is whipsmart and matter of fact about the harder parts of her job. She’s a bright spot, or at least she is whenever the show’s not forcing romantic chemistry between her and Jocko Sims’ cardiac surgeon Floyd who, again, would be better off without their unconvincing flirtation. Iggy (Tyler Labine) works with sick and displaced children; physician Vijay (the ever reliable Anupam Kher) floats in between them all.

Elsewhere, however, Freema Agyeman is almost completely wasted as Helen Sharpe, a talented doctor who got too caught up in New Amsterdam’s PR game to practice medicine. She knows New Amsterdam like the back of her hand, but Max doesn’t understand or care why she needs to occasionally go on TV to raise awareness and money in order for it to keep running. So even though Helen starts off as a promising (and necessary) counterbalance to Max’s schemes, she quickly becomes all about his vision once the script decides he needs her on his side.

“New Amsterdam” tries hard to be everything to everyone but that broad appeal might start to become grating as it serves far too many masters. It has been renewed for a second season so it will be interesting to see if it makes some changed to the narrative, jettisoning the parts that do not work and highlighting the parts that do, a triage if you will.


Pilot: Dr. Max Goodwin is hired as the new Medical Director at New Amsterdam hospital and starts out his career by firing everyone in the cardio-thoracic surgical department because of their statistics. He asks his fellow colleagues what he can do to make their ability to practice medicine easier and grants all the wishes, much to the dismay of the staff that work with him. Also, Dr. Goodwin butts heads with the chief of oncology, Dr. Helen Sharpe, as he believes that she spends too much time on television and not enough time practicing medicine leading him to give her an ultimatum. Max also meets the head of emergency, Dr. Lauren Bloom, who wants to be able to treat as many patients throughout her shift as she can, and Dr. Iggy Frome who is the chief of psychiatry and is dealing with a teenage patient who feels completely abandoned. Dr. Bloom must deal with her fling with Dr. Floyd Reynolds ending as he becomes the new head of cardio-thoracic surgery and explains to her they can’t have a relationship based on her skin color. Max asks Dr. Bloom to take a biopsy of his throat based on a fear he has.

Rituals:Max finds out that he has cancer and looks to Dr. Sharpe for help, although every time she tries to explain things to him he can’t seem to make time for her. Dr. Frome and Dr. Kapoor attempt to help a pediatric patient. Dr. Bloom tries to convince Dr. Reyonds that they might have something that is worth while and that not dating her for her skin color is not right. Max must deal with a crisis after his pregnant wife is admitted to the hospital with their unborn child’s life in danger. As Dr. Sharpe continues to try to convince Max to make a plan about his cancer diagnosis he continues to try to convince her that although bringing in money to the hospital is important they’re in the business of saving lives and that is more important.

Every Last Minute:Dr. Fulton is unhappy with all the changes that Max has been making at New Amsterdam. Dr. Frome and Dr. Kapoor try to diagnose a patient who believes he is dead and invisible, but they accidentally lose the patient who wanders off. Dr. Bloom treats a patient that is an inmate at Rikers. The young inmate is pregnant and is desperate not to give birth while in prison. Max gives the widow of a wealthy donor a tour of the hospital to convince her to donate 10 million dollars to New Amsterdam. Max convinces her to donate the money to fund a new nursery and a kangaroo care unit at Rikers Island for babies born in the prison.

Boundaries:Dr. Frome is excited that his community garden has been funded, but is horrified that it is sponsored by Volt Cola. It is the annual cardiothoracic surgeon conference and Baptist’s cardiothoracic surgeon suffers a medical emergency forcing New Amsterdam to pick up the overflow as Baptist cannot accept ambulances without a cardiothoracic surgeon. Dr. Bloom works to keep the ED running smoothly as they receive the additional patients. One of the residents accidentally takes her Adderall, which was hidden in an ibuprofen bottle. Dr. Sharpe deals with a young girl whose cancer has returned and is now terminal. Max finds a homeless woman with an infected foot who at first rejects medical treatment, but then also asks Max to help her brother.

Cavitation:A journalist visits New Amsterdam and is given full access and agrees to shadow Max for the entire day. Max’s voice is hoarse and Dr. Sharpe agrees to run a test to see if his cancer has spread. Dr. Kapoor’s son comes to visit him at the hospital. Dr. Sharpe visits a fertility doctor and learns that she unlikely to have children without medical intervention. Two young boys come in with gunshot wounds. Initially only one of them seems to be in critical condition, how ever as time progresses the second boy’s condition worsens. Despite their best efforts the second boy dies. The journalist writes his article, which praises how hard the doctors worked to save the two boys lives.

Anthropocene:The doctors at New Amsterdam prepare for their annual fundraising gala. Dr. Frome’s parents are in town and his daughter is excited to see them. Dr. Kapoor tries to give his gala tickets to Ella, but she misunderstands and believes he is inviting her to go with him. Dr. Fulton preps Max for the gala and reiterates the importance of raising money for the hospital. Dr. Reynolds treats a Rikers inmate who claims that the guards are drugging them. Dr. Bloom, Dr. Kapoor, and Dr. Sharpe treat a father and son who begin displaying strange symptoms and later both the father and son have seizures. Georgia surprises Max and attends the gala and manages to secure donations. At the end of the night Max reveals his cancer diagnosis to her.

Domino Effect:Max and Georgia talk to Dr. Sharpe about his cancer treatment. He has been putting off having his back molars removed as they are in the way of radiation that will be used. All of the doctors work to coordinate a domino surgery with two other hospitals. When the first donor pulls out the entire domino surgery is put in jeopardy. A man and his daughter come in, with the daughter needing new lungs. With the father’s willingness to donate to a complete stranger they are able to go through with the domino surgery and also save his daughter’s life. Max finally has his oral surgery to have his molars removed.

Three Dots:Dr. Kapoor is handling a patient named Amy, a young Asian-American that has been suffering from migraines. He refers her to Dr. Frome after medication does not help, saying that the migraines may be stress induced. Her mother however refuses, saying that Amy’s headaches are not due to stress. Amy ends up jumping in front of an F train as they leave to go home and ends up back at the ER. Dr. Kapoor, Dr. Frome, and Max work to try to figure out a way to get Amy the help she needs. Max faces his own fears about his cancer when he becomes close to a patient that is a Rabbi. The Rabbi initially refuses his high risk surgery, but decides to move forward with it after Max reveals to him that he has cancer. After Max informs Dr. Sharpe that he wants to find a clinical trial instead of moving forward with the planned chemo and radiation, she says there are complications which would hurt his quality of life.

As Long As It Takes:Dr. Sharpe looks in to getting Max in a clinical trial for his cancer. The trial director accepts Max as a patient, but also asks her out on a date after they hit it off well with each other. Dr. Frome deals with a trans teen that is eager to have surgery to complete his transition. But his parents refuse. Meanwhile, Dr. Bloom is confronted about her exhaustion and the errors she has been making in the ER. Sarah, the woman that received Luna’s heart, is admitted in to the hospital and it is determined she needs a new heart. Max ends up becoming emotionally invested in her case. While out in a remote location to scatter the cremated remains of his sister’s heart Max ends up collapsing while alone with Georgia.

Six or Seven Minutes:Georgia performs a tracheotomy on Max with Dr. Sharpe’s guidance and Max is taken to New Amsterdam Hospital. We see flashbacks to when Max and Georgia met, their engagement, and what happened right before he took his new job at New Amsterdam. Everyone is informed by Dr. Sharpe of Max’s cancer diagnosis. Dr. Bloom hands Max’s case off to another ER doctor and eventually admits to Dr. Sharpe that she is exhausted from overworking and had planned to ask Max for some time off. Meanwhile Dr. Fulton takes over as temporary Medical Director. Dr. Reynolds performs a surgery that Dr. Fulton originally denied and offers to pay for it himself. The doctors realize how much Max has impacted them and the hospital. Max wakes up and decides to step down and go through with chemo, but all the doctors including Dr. Fulton want him to remain as Medical Director while receiving treatment and agree to help pick up the slack.

A Seat at the Table:Max begins chemo, but refuses to sit for the three hour sessions, instead taking his IV pole with him as he continues to work. After a few days he starts to feel fatigued from the chemo and finally admits to Dr. Sharpe that he doesn’t want people to see him in a weakened state. At the same time he tries to help save the hospital money by providing a homeless patient, whose frequent hospital visits has costs New Amsterdam over a million dollars in one year, an apartment. He realizes though that the patient simply likes being in the hospital and gives him a job. Dr. Frome works with a father whose son experiences hallucinations of a wolf attacking him. Dr. Sharpe tries to confront Dr. Bloom about her admission of being overworked. Dr. Reynolds is forced to admit to something that happened to him while he was an intern in Connecticut that a reporter digs up.

Anima Sola:Dr. Frome reports a veteran surgeon at New Amsterdam who he believes is no longer capable of performing surgery. He and Max end up having him stay on in a consulting role. Dr. Sharpe struggles with Dr. Bloom, who is still practicing even after admitting to abusing Adderall. They work on treating a group of vineyard workers that come in with similar symptoms. Dr. Sharpe has trouble putting faith in Dr. Bloom because of her admission and realizes that the relationship and work environment is no longer sustainable. She ends up reporting her to Max. Dr. Kapoor and Dr. Reynolds work together to treat a mother who became blind after spending 9 months in the ICU after giving birth to her daughter. Max begins to feel nausea caused by his chemo and struggles to keep up with his day to day responsibilities. He has his first round of radiation and immediately feels soreness in his throat.

The Blues:Dr. Bloom is required to be evaluated by Dr. Frome and eventually opens up about her family and how she left behind her struggling mother and younger sister to go to school in Washington instead of staying behind in New York to care for them. She reveals that her sister is in rehab and that she feels responsible for what happened. Max tries to find employees at the hospital that are doing obsolete jobs, but does not want to fire them, but find them a new job at the hospital. Dr. Kapoor struggles to figure out what is going on between his son and the woman at the coffee stand he likes. He ends up making the situation worse and breaks down in tears.

The Foresaken:Dr. Bloom is on leave so Dr. Candelario takes charge of the ED and implements new rules including a 10 minute limit to consult and diagnose for efficiency. Dr. Reynolds learns what happened to Dr. Bloom and goes to visit her. Dr. Sharpe finds a drug addict mother and her baby outside the hospital. The mother ends up giving up the baby, who is in withdrawal. Dr. Sharpe becomes attached to the baby girl and even considers adopting her, believing it’s a sign from the universe as she is desperate to have children, but would have difficulty conceiving. However the baby’s father comes to claim his daughter explaining that he only found out about her and his ex after it was too late. Dr. Sharpe learns that Dr. Panthaki has two children from a previous relationship. Max works to save Dr. Fulton’s job as Dean, but in the end is unsuccessful. Dr. Fulton tells Max that hiring him as Medical Director was the best thing he ever did and hopes that Max can save the hospital.

Croaklahoma:Max finds it difficult to listen to his fellow chemo patients cracking jokes about their cancer and realizes that the reality of his diagnosis and prognosis has hit him hard and finds little humor. This spills over in to the birthing class he attends with Georgia as well as criticizing Dr. Sharpe after one of the chemo patients gets an infection. The Pope is at New Amsterdam giving a presentation and the staff butt heads with his staff and security. Dr. Kapoor and Dr. Frome are detained after their actions and comments are accidentally interpreted as death threats to the Pope. Dr. Reynolds and Max work to help a family that is struggling to pay for their son’s anti rejection medication after receiving a heart transplant. Dr. Sharpe finds herself overly involved in one of her patients after his legal guardian attempts to protect him from his girlfriend who he believes does not have his best interests at heart.

King of Swords:A historic blizzard hits New York City, crippling the city. Max discovers that a nearby accident is making it impossible for ambulances to reach New Amsterdam and decides to send doctors to the patients instead. Working in teams of two, teams of doctors are dispatched. Dr. Reynolds tries to save a man that slipped and was impaled on a fence spike while rushing to deliver his husband’s insulin. Dr. Frome gets stuck on the roof with a suicidal patient while trying to fix his weather antenna. Dr. Kapoor’s patient ends up in critical condition and most likely will not make it through the night and he goes out in the blizzard to retrieve her husband. Max and Dr. Sharpe respond to an unresponsive woman, who claims to be psychic and says things to both Max and Dr. Sharpe, which cause them to evaulate their relationship with each other. As they return to the hospital and begin speaking to each other about what their patient told them, the hospital’s power goes out. Meanwhile Dr. Bloom struggles at rehab, sidestepping requests to help a patient that has overdosed and is stealing medication.

Sanctuary:During a power outage, Max and Dr. Sharpe attempt to calm patients. Their one maintenance worker activates a backup battery that will provide a floor of the hospital for a few hours and attempts to fix the backup generator, but is electrocuted. Dr. Reynolds with assistance from Dr. Candelario attempts open heart surgery without aid from machines while the power is out. Dr. Kapoor and Dr. Hartman are stuck in an elevator and attempt to help Agnes treat a new mother. Dr. Frome suggests asking a Riker’s inmate that used to work for DWP who is at the hospital to help fix the generator. The inmate is reluctant at first, but eventually succeeds in getting the generator back up. Dr. Sharpe confronts Max and admits that she cannot be his friend, doctor, and Deputy Medical Director, finding the combination of the duties too difficult to manage. She tells him that she will be passing his cancer treatment to another doctor.

Five Miles West:Max meets his new oncologist, Dr. Stauton, a no-nonsense woman that is not pleased at his inconsistent chemo and radiation schedule. She immediately schedules his next radiation treatment. Max learns that the hospital plans to sell medical debt off, and to help, he instead has the former patients work off their bill by providing services to the hospital. He reschedules his radiation session and receives a rude awakening from Dr. Stauton about the reality of his situation. Dr. Sharpe and Dr. Reynolds attempt to diagnose a patient with cystic fibrosis, but soon discover she had stopped taking one of her medications. Dr. Frome and Max work to try to reunite a father whose son was born unexpectedly at New Amsterdam after the surrogate mother requires an emergency c-section and enters a coma. Their surrogacy contract that was signed in New Jersey is not recognized in New York and the mother’s parents initially refuse to hand the child over even though the child is not biologically their daughter’s.

Happy Place:Dr. Stauton wants Max to have a feeding tube inserted since he has lost weight because of the nausea resulting from his chemo and his throat being raw from radiation. He reluctantly agrees. An NYPD officer that was run over during a traffic stop arrives in the ED along with her partner and much of her colleagues. It is initially thought that the man that struck her was drunk behind the wheel, but Dr. Sharpe learns that he suffered a stroke and is ill. Dr. Reynolds performs the officer’s surgery, but she doesn’t make it. The officers decide to donate money their fallen comrade would’ve received to help pay for his treatment so he can recover. Dr. Kapoor and Dr. Frome work with a deaf patient that just received a cochlear implant. And Dr. Frome faces the fact that Jemma no longer needs him.

Preventable:Max wakes up miserable and realizes his hair has started to fall out, he goes in to work with a knit beanie to cover his head and starts having mood swings. Dr. Reynolds leads a morbidity and mortality (M&M) conference about the police officer that died in the previous episode. Max pushes the M&M conference too far and ends up insulting Dr. Reynolds in front of his colleagues and staff and a rift develops between the two. Dr. Sharpe sees Max’s mood has changed and talks to Dr. Stauton and learns that Max’s cancer is not responding to the chemo or radiation. Dr. Reynolds realizes that Max is having difficulty accepting that people can die for no reason and the two reconcile. He tells Max to fight for his life and Max agrees to do an experimental treatment that involves a double dosage of chemo. Dr. Kapoor deals with a patient leaving him poor reviews on a website and later works on the patient. Dr. Frome works with a patient whose mother has taken a new job in Missouri and is very reluctant to move back with her. The social worker assigned to the case believes that Dr. Frome’s relationship with the boy and his other patients cross a line and files a formal complaint and investigation against him.

This is Not the End:Max has begun his new treatment and his tumor has begun to shrink, but he is gravely weakened by the double dose of chemo. After learning of patients delaying seeing a doctor because of lack of insurance Max creates a New Amsterdam family insurance plan and hands them out to everyone much to the dismay of Karen Brantley. Dr. Sharpe and Ms. Dobbs begins the review of Dr. Frome and it becomes clear that his relationships with his patients go beyond normal therapeutic relationships. However during this review his former patient admits to being sexual abused by an aunt and Dr. Frome admits that he is causing patients to only want to talk to him about such issues making him rethink the way he treats his patients. Dr. Sharpe is taken a back by Max’s state and decides to find another means of treatment for him and send him home. Her re-commitment to Max puts a strain on her relationship with Dr. Panthaki. Dr. Bloom returns with the intent of resigning and looks for Max. She finally tracks him down to his apartment where she finds him covered in blood.

Luna:Georgia’s placenta has ruptured and she is bleeding out. Dr. Bloom and Max work quickly to try to save her life as well as their unborn baby. Dr. Bloom is forced to perform a c-section before the ambulance arrives. Dr. Sharpe and the paramedics arrive in the nick of time to save Georgia’s life. Dr. Frome and Dr. Kapoor are treating a man with severe PTSD from a pipe bomb explosion at a club. Dr. Frome struggles with not crossing any ethical barriers after accusations were brought against him with Dr. Kapoor providing him with support and counsel. Dr. Reynolds brings Evie home for dinner with the intent of proposing with the family ring, but his mother questions the match. Without the support of his family he proposes without a ring in the middle of the street. Nurse Acosta deals with a lawyer that has ingested a balloon of cocaine and is being uncooperative. He realizes too late that the lawyer has escaped from police custody and commandeered an ambulance, which he crashes in to the ambulance that was bringing Max, Georgia, Luna, Dr. Sharpe, and Dr. Bloom to New Amsterdam. Max appears to have survived the crash simply dazed holding Luna. Georgia is given a quick okay by Dr. Kapoor. Dr. Bloom is shown getting CPR. Dr. Sharpe is not seen in the aftermath. Someone is shown getting covered by a white sheet, but it’s unknown who that person is.

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