‘New Amsterdam’: Michelle Forbes on Why Veronica’s Not Worried About Max & Helen’s Plans
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for New Amsterdam Season 4, Episode 4 “Seed Money.”]
Before they leave for London, Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) and Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) plan to stir up some trouble for Dr. Veronica Fuentes (Michelle Forbes), who’s replacing him as medical director — but she’s not worried.
After all, as she puts it in the October 12 episode of New Amsterdam, she just has to wait him out. Sure, they have to agree on all decisions for now, but he’ll be gone soon, and then she can put into motion all her plans. And after her first official episode at the hospital, we know that means ways to make money. For instance, the land they have that everyone has ideas on what should be built there? Max wants to build a grocery store, to bring nutritious options to the people in the neighborhood. Veronica plans to sell it to the highest bidder.
“She’s there to do a job. She’s there to turn this hospital around so that it can survive financially. That’s what she does. That’s what’s in her blood. And she’s very good at it,” Forbes tells TV Insider. “Every week is basically her trying to steer the hospital into a different direction than the path that Max has been on.”
Forbes tells TV Insider why whatever Max and Helen do next doesn’t matter to her character.
Are any of the other doctors on Veronica’s side?
Michelle Forbes: I think for a minute they are until she reveals her true colors and then they get wise to her corporate ways.
People don’t want to see Max and Helen go, but is Veronica one of the few who does so she can accomplish what she’s there to do? Or does she figure she can just move on to another job if he stays?
It was presented to her that he was leaving. So that’s a fait accompli in her eyes. She even has a line where she says, “I’ll wait you out. I don’t need to make any of these decisions. I’m going to wait you out.” It’s only a few weeks. It’s not that long. She’s a smart, very shrewd woman. She’s already got her sights six months down the line. She just needs this transitional period to be over with so that she can get down to doing what she believes is right for the hospital.
Max seems to fail to sway Veronica with his “creating a space where people can heal” speech, then she hits him where it hurts the most with, “I have never replaced a successful medical director.” Is he changing her mind at all?
This is what’s interesting about this storyline and their interaction is that they’re just ideologically opposed to each other, probably in every subject, but mostly in this one. And they are just approaching it from two completely antithetical places and they both have cogent arguments. The bigger question is, how do public services survive — be it a public hospital, a public library, a public school — in a world in which everything is becoming privatized and corporatized and the people don’t really have a say anymore and everything is a monopoly?
With the outages in social media recently, we realize that everybody’s living under the reign of basically one or two people. So that is the big question. She feels that she has a more sophisticated understanding of what it takes to keep this hospital running, and she feels that his idealism is his greatest downfall. It’s really a wonderful question of ideologies coming up against each other and in a very interesting time where everything is changing and everything is becoming more corporatized. And unfortunately it’s the people that suffer,
It seems like they can’t agree on anything, not even where to put the desk in the office that they now have to share.
Oh, they’re completely opposed on every level.
What else are we going to see with them sharing that office?
Sometimes it’s used for comedic effects. I like that they’re able to have these conversations in this arena where there’s no way out basically and neither is really willing to budge. So how that all plays out in the end, I’m as curious as you are, but I think it was very clever on the writers to have that happen and not have them be in two separate offices, because during this transition, most people, if it were a good transition, a happy transition, they would be feeding off of each other as opposed to being in conflict.
Everyone went to Iggy (Tyler Labine) for help in this episode. Are we going to see Veronica stop him in the hall or go by his office?
[Laughs] She probably should. I think she has some demons she needs to work out. But I don’t see that happening.
We got hints about Veronica and Max’s past throughout the episode. How much more are we going to learn about it?
I hear rumblings that we learn something a bit down the line. We have more clarity about their former professional relationship.
Veronica makes herself laugh with the line about the chicken place. Are we going to see more of that sense of humor from her?
I hope so. I was trying to imbue in her this — her social life must be very, very interesting, but her greatest asset is she doesn’t care what anybody thinks about her and she’s liberated in a way that most of us aren’t and she knows she’s brilliant at what she does, but she also probably thinks she’s pretty funny. And she’s her own biggest fan and there’s not a lot of self-reflection on her behalf. I tried to throw some humor in there because what I enjoy about the show is that although it’s about a lot of very heavy things at times, there’s room for humor, there’s room for brevity and levity and quirkiness. So hopefully there’ll be some more of that.
Speaking of a social life, are we going to see anything from her personal life? Who is she away from work?
I have my ideas. We haven’t seen it in what we’ve shot yet, but I’m not sure that’s really important to the story. I think she’s probably at a fundraiser every single night, doing what’s in her blood, which is asking for money and doing deals. That’s a whole lifestyle for so many people, and I feel she is one of those people who just never stops working.
New Amsterdam, Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC