‘New Amsterdam’ Bosses on What That Helen Twist Means for Sharpwin

Freema Agyeman as Dr. Helen Sharpe, Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin in New Amsterdam
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Will Hart/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for New Amsterdam Season 4 Episode 17 “Unfinished Business.”]

The good news: Everyone who was missing after being drugged at the karaoke bar — by the bartender (Adam Rose) who blames doctors for, as he sees it, exaggerating COVID and costing him his job — is alive. Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) and Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) are engaged. But that’s the only good news, really, by the end of the latest New Amsterdam episode.

Dr. Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine) confirms with Trevor (Ryan Faucett) that nothing happened after they left the bar, only for his husband, Martin (Mike Doyle), to overhear. It’s emotional infidelity, Martin says, realizing that flirting with Trevor is why Iggy’s been happier lately. (Uh-oh.) Dr. Floyd Reynolds (Jocko Sims) at first refuses to even entertain the possibility of Dr. Lyn Malvo (Frances Turner) raising his baby without him and with her husband, Dr. Claude Baptiste (Andre Blake), only to let her (and his child) go with the promise he’ll be involved when the time is right. Dr. Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery) finds Casey (Alejandro Hernandez) with a screwdriver in his neck, and while it doesn’t look good, he survives. She also ignores her concerns about giving her ex-girlfriend, Dr. Leyla Shinwari (Shiva Kalaiselvan), the money she needs for an immigration lawyer to keep her from being deported.

As for Helen, she refuses to have a hysterectomy and chooses another option to break up the clots caused by the drug. She and Max end up discussing kids — they want to have one together — leading to him proposing. Sure, he had plans (reservations, walking through the city), but “this place is as good as any,” he says. “Would you make me the happiest man in this whole ICU? Will you marry me?” She says yes, but he returns from getting the ring to find she needs an embolectomy. But after, as he’s about to give her the ring, Helen realizes she can’t speak.

Executive producers David Schulner and Peter Horton tease what’s ahead after that heartbreaking, intense episode, including in the finale and heading into the last season.

Just when Max and Helen thought they could breathe sighs of relief … What can you say about what’s going on with Helen?

David Schulner: She’s suffered a massive stroke as a result of the blood clots.

Peter Horton: The challenge of it is who knows if she’ll ever get it back, if she’ll be able to speak as herself again. Being able to speak is one of the basic foundation stones of your identity, especially for someone like Sharpe, who’s so articulate and so well-spoken. If she loses that, what does it to do to her life, to her identity, and to her relationship with Max?

Freema Agyeman as Dr. Helen Sharpe, Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin in New Amsterdam

Will Hart/NBC

Speaking of that, how is Helen and how are Max and Helen as an engaged couple dealing with this?

Horton: That’s the fun of it. It really tests your love for someone. It really tests how pure is that love or how much was it based on projection and sort of an image you have of your future? It doesn’t include someone losing their ability to speak, so if that goes away, what is there? And I think that’s a cool question for us all to ask: What is love really? It’s so nice when it’s all romantic and everything’s fine and you’re professing undying love, no matter what. In the vows, it’s for better or worse, but how true is that really, when faced with the reality of it?

Schulner: The fans have been wanting Max and Sharpe together for so long. We’re not just gonna have them ride off into the sunset. We’re gonna put them to the test and see, do they really belong together?

Might pregnancy be on the table for Max and Helen this season or would that have to wait because of their situation? Because they did talk about kids.

Horton: No, that’s the thing about pregnancy. It could just happen when you least expect it.

Tyler Labine as Dr. Iggy Frome, Mike Doyle as Martin McIntyre in New Amsterdam

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

At least Max and Helen are happy right now, unlike Iggy and Martin, and that dinner was so painful for everyone at the table. So how much is it what Iggy needs to figure out for himself and how much is it what they need to figure out together that may determine their future?

Horton: That’s the right question. [Laughs]

Schulner: I think what Iggy arrives at, though, is gonna be shocking and surprising to our audience.

Horton: Yeah, I agree.

Schulner: It’s something that we didn’t see coming as writers, but when we put all the pieces together and look back on their relationship, what Iggy takes from it, I think, is gonna shock a lot of people.

Yeah, some harsh things were said in that fight in the bedroom.

Horton: And it ain’t over.

Looking at Reynolds’ decision about the baby, how is that going to impact him when it comes to his personal life going forward and what he wants now?

Horton: I think part of that is he’s gonna have to rediscover what he wants. He’s had a clear, articulated sense of his future for his whole life and what he wants. It’s just been right there. It’s the same as what he grew up in, but even better. He’s gonna repair the damage of his life, but in the image of his life. Now, his identity’s out the window. This never was in his mind or in his thoughts of what his future would be. So what’s his life gonna be? Who is he gonna be? Who is he in the world? It’s all before him now. He’s gonna have to reinvent himself.

Jocko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds in New Amsterdam

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Bloom gives Leyla the money, though she admitted to Casey — by the way, I loved their friendship in these two episodes — she was worried that Leyla would resent her eventually if she did. What is their relationship like going forward? Seeing Bloom crying at the end there doesn’t give me much hope.

Schulner: I wouldn’t count them out. It gets even messier, if you can believe it. But there might be hope in that mess.

Horton: And there may not.

Schulner: Yeah. But it gets even crazier. What Leyla needs from Bloom gets even harder and expansive.

Can you rule out going down the cliché “getting married so she can stay in the country” path?

Schulner: Yeah, let’s rule that out. I mean, if you didn’t say cliché, I might have been like, “yeah, maybe,” but we’ll rule that out.

Janet Montgomery as Dr. Lauren Bloom, Shiva Kalaiselvan as Dr. Leyla Shinwari in New Amsterdam

Michael Greenberg/NBC

What’s coming up in Max’s fight against Veronica (Michelle Forbes), especially with what’s going on with Helen and what’s going on with them as a couple? And then there’s the question of what country they will up in at the end of the season. It’s all factoring into this, right?

Horton: He’s in a quandary. He’s in a real quandary. He’s having to choose between two loves really. New Amsterdam, which he can’t leave in her hands. She’s destroying it. It’s causing great pain to people he cares about and the institution he cares about. And then there’s Sharpe, who’s the love of his life, his future, where he wants to be. And neither of those are allowing him to be with either one. He’s stuck in the middle of it, which is the best kind of drama in my opinion.

Will Veronica take advantage of the situation?

Horton: She takes advantage of every situation.

Schulner: Most definitely she’ll use that against him.

You’re heading towards the finale. What can you tease, especially since you’re setting up the final season now?

Schulner: We’ve had the end of Season 4 in mind from the beginning of Season 4. You kind of have to set up your ending in your beginning to make it all kind of pay off. So Max and Sharpe are on a clear trajectory that we have kind of started them on since that night in Sharpe’s bedroom when he fought his way in. So we’re definitely leading toward this big climax at the end of the season and it will propel us into our final 13 [episodes].

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Can you say if we can expect to see everyone back for Season 5 or could we be saying goodbye to someone?

Schulner: Anything is possible. We killed off Georgia [Lisa O’Hare], we killed off Max’s wife in Season 1. We lost Anupam [Kher, who played Dr. Vijay Kapoor] in Season 3, and it allowed us to bring in these kind of fantastic characters, like Sandra Mae Frank as Dr. Wilder.

She’s so good.

Schulner: So good. So with every loss, there is a kind of rebirth of the show opportunity. So we’re not gonna rule anything out, that’s for sure.

Horton: There may be losses, yes.

Will anyone be returning before the end of the season?

Schulner: You’ll see characters you haven’t seen in this season, definitely. You’ll see some family members and you’ll see some people we haven’t seen in a while.

New Amsterdam, Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC