‘New Amsterdam’ Cast on Max & Helen’s Relationship, Iggy Adopting and More
New Amsterdam is throwing a lot at its doctors at the beginning of Season 2 — and that’s just going to continue.
TV Insider spoke with the cast and executive producers at PaleyFest to find out what to expect next, and it sounds like fans should brace for more tough times ahead. “We don’t want [the actors] to get complacent or feel like they’re not being challenged enough,” EP David Schulner said. “So we really try to throw everything we can at all of [them].”
Read on for scoop about the latest developments and what’s still to come.
How Can Max Be Helped?
One thing that is never going to change is Max (Ryan Eggold) trying to help everyone — even when he stops for a pickup game, as seen in Tuesday’s episode. “That and Luna are really all that’s keeping him going at this point,” Schulner said.
But it’s because of the latter that he’ll have to take a step back as a doctor in an upcoming midseason episode. “Max has to take Luna in for her six-month checkup to the pediatrician’s office and be a father,” the EP revealed. “That’s very hard for Max to do. We have a couple episodes like that that really take away Max’s superpower and force him to be a regular person like the rest of us.”
In Season 2, Max is the one who needs to be helped after losing his wife, Georgia (Lisa O’Hare), in the premiere. “This season is largely about, how can you help others if you’re not taking care of yourself?” Eggold said. “He does have a lot to deal with in terms of grief and acceptance and moving forward.” But as he tends to do, he “takes on too much,” he continued, “partly [as] a coping strategy in terms of avoiding dealing with certain things. That’s only amplified this season with the loss of his wife. There’s obviously a huge grief monster there he’s afraid to look in the eye.”
Perhaps fortunately for him, he does have the board, a source of conflict for the doctor. “We’re evolving that a little bit,” EP Peter Horton shared. “It’s been a constant clash. Now we want to give it a more nuance and have it become something else.”
Max does have an ally on the board now, though, in Todd (Darren Pettie), who was initially his new assistant. While Horton shared that they “didn’t initially expect to bring Todd back,” both he and Eggold hope we see him again. “He was really fun and such a great foil to Max in terms of Max is a little more outside the box and Todd is so by the book,” the actor said.
“Sharpwin’s” Not the Same
Last season, fans watched Max and Helen (Freema Agyeman) grow very close, as she became his doctor, friend, and confidante. But while the two are still talking this season, there is a distance between them since the accident.
“It just came naturally,” Schulner said. “We didn’t plan on having them disconnect, but once Max lost Georgia and had to reframe his life and how he thought of his life and not want to talk about it with anyone, it suddenly pushed Sharpe away because she really was the one person he talked everything out with. We didn’t know it was going to affect their relationship so drastically, but it did and we really like that it’s a new dynamic, although it’s not one that we appreciate or take enjoyment in.”
“Helen is the one he confided in the most and now he is really afraid of being vulnerable and sharing this with anyone,” Eggold said of his character following his loss. “Obviously he doesn’t want to let go. He’s not ready to move on. Helen, for him, is that source of confiding in, so he’s the most afraid to be vulnerable with her.”
But at some point, he has to find out that she gave up half her department for him, right? “It’s something that will play out through most of the season,” Horton teased. “It’s really fun to watch because they have such a connection, just innately, chemically, and to play with that magnetism and see how it evolves slowly and takes different forms and different shapes is really going to be fun.”
More Challenges for Helen
Helen, in particular, had a rough time in Tuesday’s episode, as she was faced with a patient in pain for whom different medications had no effect. And as has happened and will continue to happen, she butted heads with Valentina (Ana Villafane). Expect to see that relationship get worse. “It’s just all going to get way more fraught and difficult,” Schulner said.
“Have you ever seen the play All About Eve?” Horton asked. “We really felt like it would be most fun to have conflict grow out of overt camaraderie, as opposed to overt conflict and antipathy. She’s like a Trojan horse — comes in, seeming so helpful and so congenial, but over time it just develops into more and more of an interesting, interesting divide.”
At least Helen has Bloom (Janet Montgomery) on her side. Their friendship was rocky last season, but they’re very much there for one another now. “We get to really explore the nature of their connection, especially given the challenges both of them face,” the EP said. “In their hardest times, they have each other.”
Tough Times Ahead for Iggy and Martin?
On the one hand, we’ve seen that Iggy (Tyler Labine) and Martin (Mike Doyle) are great parents. Why wouldn’t they bring another child into the mix? But on the other hand, Iggy seems to be moving forward with looking to adopt another child without telling Martin; he’s filling out applications.
“There is some real dishonesty coming around from this storyline,” Labine acknowledged. “It’s been really interesting to play. I’ve never seen Iggy do anything like that.” As for how Martin will react if and when he finds out, he doesn’t “see that ending well.”
Schulner previously revealed we’ll get to see “what makes Iggy tick the way we get into what makes his patients tick,” and Labine shared we’ll see more of his home life. “The storyline with the child is probably a lot bigger than any of us are letting on for what it’s going to mean personally and emotionally for Iggy,” he previewed. “We’re going to learn a lot about him and what holds him all together.”
It sounds like he may need Max to ask him, “How can I help?”
New Amsterdam, Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC