‘New Amsterdam’: Why Max’s Choice Between Helen & Wilder Played Out Like It Did

Ryan Eggold in 'New Amsterdam'
Francisco Roman/NBC

Dr. Max Goodwin’s (Ryan Eggold) love life may have been left up in the air at the end of the New Amsterdam series finale, but a couple episodes earlier, he did make a choice between ex-fiancée Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) and new love interest Dr. Elizabeth Wilder (Sandra Mae Frank).

In Episode 11, “Falling,” directed by after Max learned Helen was back in New York and she reached out to him to meet up, he avoided her by taking everyone on a day trip hiking (which took a dangerous turn). Wilder, however, told him he should go, so he could look at Helen and decide what he really wanted because “you can’t run forever. At least not with me.” He did go to the bar, but only watched Helen from outside before going to see Wilder. “You told me to make a choice,” he said before kissing her.

But why didn’t Max and Helen talk at all, especially considering their relationship ended with her not showing up for their wedding and sending him a letter that didn’t explain anything?

“If Max got to talk to Sharpe and she got to tell him every reason why she stood him up at the altar and then he chose Wilder, that’s not a very heroic decision,” executive producer David Schulner tells TV Insider. “That’s kind of a very like, ‘I didn’t like your answer, so I’m gonna choose someone else.'”

Ryan Eggold in 'New Amsterdam'


Rather, with the way it happened, “Max looked at Helen through that window in Peter’s episode and he looked at his past and he chose his future without ever knowing why, without ever knowing the reason she left or what he could have done better or what she did wrong,” he continues. “He chose to move forward instead of backwards not knowing the answer to what lie on either side. And that’s the heroic decision to choose, to take that leap of faith not knowing.”

Adds Horton, “And in some ways [it’s] spiritually heroic because what’s she gonna say that’s gonna resolve it? Our monkey brains like to think that if we could just talk to ’em, we’d figure it all out. It’s not how it works. If someone violates you like that or betrays you in that way, there’s no real explanation that makes you go, ‘oh, OK, I understand.’ It’s messy, it’s painful. And I think on some level, he was able to tap into that in kind of his inner grownup and go, ‘I choose the future. I don’t want to dabble in the past.'”

But Max’s future when it comes to love is unclear. He moved to Geneva to work with the World Health Organization in the series finale, but he and Wilder didn’t close the door on their relationship. However, it’s possible he and Helen could have reconnected as well. And the executive producers won’t say what happened.

“We wanted to leave it on this note of possibility. Yeah, he’s going to Europe. Helen lives in Europe, but he’s really leaving the show in love with Wilder and giving her the keys to his most precious thing other than his daughter, which is New Amsterdam,” Horton says.

Adds Schulner, “Whatever you want to happen is what happens.”