‘New Amsterdam’ Director on That Heartbreaking Ending With Max & Iggy’s Purpose

New Amsterdam - Season 2
Peter Kramer/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 6 of New Amsterdam, “Righteous Right Hand.”]

Max (Ryan Eggold) loves to help people whenever he can, but right now on New Amsterdam, he’s the one who needs help. Sadly, he’s just not ready yet to accept it.

He will, however, continue trying to help others. “He’s going to be facing more consequences,” executive producer Peter Horton told TV Insider. “He’s a very impulsive guy.”

Horton also directed “Righteous Right Hand,” and while everything came together on take nine, he admitted the one before it was “really frustrating.” “There’s this one moment the camera has to whip around to see Casey yelling from the trauma room that the patient’s crashing,” he shared. “The camera whips around and right dead in front of the camera is an extra, this big man, who just blocked it, and we all just let out a groan.”

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Here, Horton breaks down why Iggy’s (Tyler Labine) moving forward with the adoption process without telling Martin, that heartbreaking ending — Georgia’s blood is still all over the floor of Max’s apartment — and more.

We have to talk about the end of the episode, when we see the blood stain on the floor then pan up to Helen (Freema Agyeman) calling Max. Can you talk about Max’s mindset? Because he does try to accept help but just can’t bring himself to.

Peter Horton: That’s a really good description of why. When Helen tries to reach out to him — which he’s in conflict about, it’s not like he’s against it, he knows he needs to accept help at some point — he just can’t do it yet. So when the cleaning duo come and he doesn’t let them in, it’s because they would be doing things like cleaning up the blood stain on the ground. It would be erasing what happened, and for him, he’s just not quite ready to fully accept she’s gone.

(Peter Kramer/NBC)

Seeing that blood stain on the ground is both a reminder of the tragedy but also more darkly a reminder of her. That’s what he’s got left, which is what’s so sad about it. Here he is, holding this little baby, that was supposed to be this moment of shared celebration between them.

One little production anecdote about the baby: We’d been trying to get that scene. We had to go back twice because the first time we tried for it, the babies just were screaming their heads off. We came back and we got one baby to kind of do okay, but then there was another baby that had just woken up from a nap. That little baby who’s just so still and so quiet, that’s her in the post-nap haze. It just worked out perfectly.

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And Ryan played it perfectly, just burying his left eye right behind her head. He had such emotion in his other eye. It was just really beautiful.

And Helen’s starting to see just how much he needs help and won’t accept it. How will that affect their relationship moving forward?

It’s tough for them because she so could help him in so many ways, emotionally and practically. She’s persistent, I’ll tell you that much. You saw that moment even in this episode where he gave in a little bit. He went back to her and apologized for being so stubborn, but he wasn’t ready to accept it yet. In coming episodes, she continues to persevere with that. You’ll see what happens. It’s lovely.

(Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Iggy is really moving forward with adopting another child without telling Martin! What’s going on in his head and what’s coming next?

Iggy is one of those people who only really feel good about themselves if they’re helping other people. It gives him purpose, to an extreme. And if he’s not doing that, he feels like he somehow is less than as a human being. He sees need all around him. When he sees the homeless person without shoes, he gives them his shoes.

He’s just incapable of not helping, which is, on the surface, a really noble thing, but when you drill down into it, it’s in service of an insecurity and a need to be constantly reassured to yourself that you’re worthwhile and worthy. That’s something we’ll be digging into more as we go forward, finding out what’s really driving him.

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Will anyone else become privy to what he’s doing?

Oh, yeah. It gets very, very, very tricky. At some point you’ll see what happens with Martin. That’s obviously a problem for [him], not that Martin would be against helping somebody. It’s just for Iggy to head out on this journey without having some sort of inclusion with his partner is fraught. … In about four episodes, you’re going to get an answer to that one.

At PaleyFest, you mentioned you’re going to evolve the relationship between Max and the board so it’s not just constant clashing. And in the next episode, Helen “discovers a long-kept secret regarding a patient that leads to trouble for Max and the board.” Is that connected?

Yeah, it is. What we’ve been trying to do is dimension-alize Brantley. So far, she’s served a purpose, which is to be a foe to Max, somebody who comes in and says, “you can’t.” And Max says, “Oh yeah, watch me.” It’s been that song we’ve had her saying over and over.

(Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

There’s certainly conflict, but she starts to become much more interesting. She gets a point of view that’s valid frankly, and has pushback on Max in ways that we understand as opposed to her being the irrational one and Max being always the rational one.

New Amsterdam, Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC