‘New Amsterdam’s Jocko Sims on Reynolds’ Tough Decision & His Future
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 17 of New Amsterdam, “Liftoff.”]
And with one last save, Dr. Floyd Reynolds has said goodbye to New Amsterdam.
The big question on everyone’s mind since the winter premiere was whether or not Reynolds would, in fact, move to San Francisco with his fiancée Evie. In “Liftoff,” he does just that, but not before helping a young boy he finds trapped in an elevator pit and not without a farewell from the Dam Fam.
Here, Jocko Sims discusses Reynolds’ exit and reveals if we’ll see him again.
Reynolds had a great farewell, one without dialogue, with his Dam Fam. What do those relationships mean to Reynolds and to you filming them?
Jocko Sims: We did ad-lib some stuff to make it realistic. With Max, Ryan and I toyed with the idea that we started with this process together. I was his first hire, and I told him to take care of himself with what he’s been dealing with obviously with his cancer and also to keep moving forward and doing what he was doing and that I was glad to be a part of it. And I thanked him for the opportunity.
[With Bloom,] we said a lot with our eyes. Janet Montgomery just said so much without saying anything, and it just took me back to Season 1 when Bloom and Reynolds had all of these emotional moments where he was stuck in his position of coming from the family he’s come from and wanting his family to look like the family he came from and having this person in front of you he knows he loves and breaking her heart at the same time. You saw all of that in her eyes. It made me step up in the same way in that scene. What we did as characters, we basically said, you take care of yourself.
I think they’ve done a great job of making sure Bloom was very respectful to Reynolds’ relationship with Evie, particularly because she’s a friend of Evie’s and she introduced them. Bloom’s not the type of person to mess up someone else’s situation. Much like her character had been that way, in that scene, she was very respectful and said a lot more with her eyes.
Leaving New Amsterdam was obviously a tough decision for Reynolds, but what about the events of the last year and a half helped make it easier? Obviously meeting Evie….
Reynolds, for one, he had put in a lot of time into planning that wedding, and he was essentially doing it on his own since Evie was in San Francisco, extremely busy with her job. At this point, it’s almost like he’s at a point of no return. He’s invested so much in that, and Reynolds likes to, as he’s said, not leave any job unfinished. He likes to be a man of his word.
Him stepping into the situation, agreeing to take care of it, for Evie or for the two of them, was a big factor. The decision he made to go surprise her and show up with the cake samples, he was all in, and once he made these decisions, for him, it was a point of no return. Her not being able to participate so much, her not being able to be there, made him miss her more and want to step up as a man.
What could’ve convinced him to stay? Max seemed to make a bid with his “I can’t lose anyone else.”
Reynolds is a person who likes to be loved and likes to be needed, and had Bloom been a little more willing to work with him when the patient was a DNR — Bloom went rogue and decided to try to save this patient’s life who specifically said she didn’t want to be saved in the event something went south.
Not only did she not listen to Reynolds, who’s standing there screaming at her, but she pointed out, “You’re the oddball here, you’re the only one playing by the rules. We do whatever we feel we need to do to save the patient.” That, for him, was a signal that he was the dinosaur in the situation. He’s the one playing by the rules and he didn’t feel that he can contribute anymore. What could’ve been different? If they had felt like they needed Reynolds a little bit more.
It also brings to mind a scene [from] this episode, when I’m walking down the hallway and the nurse calls me, “Hey, Dr. Reynolds,” and I turn around and say, “Hey, you need a consult?” and she’s like, “No, I’m just surprised that you’re not gone.” Those are just indications that he wanted to be needed and desired and if people had expressed that a little bit more, that could’ve convinced him.
Also, the obvious, if Evie was willing to keep her job there at New Amsterdam or perhaps maybe if something a little more urgent had happened with his family or his mom needed him.
What made this the perfect send off for Reynolds? From his last patient at New Amsterdam to the farewell from the Dam Fam?
He didn’t want any going-away parties that were planned, so the fact that it was unplanned, and he got to, in his own way, say goodbye, that made it a perfect sendoff. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have participated, probably wouldn’t have shown up. He probably would’ve sent an email or a text to everyone saying, “Thank you so much, I love you all, ’til we meet again.” But because they did it in that way — Dr. Sharpe walked him around the corner and surprised him — that worked out.
Also the fact that he got to save his patient that he was trapped in the elevator with, he got to do one last surgery and save this kid’s life.
Is this the last time we’ll see Reynolds?
I don’t think so. I think there are plenty of opportunities to see Reynolds. He’ll always have a home there at New Amsterdam if he wanted to come back. There’s opportunities for him to come and participate if his skills were needed for a particular surgery. There’s possibilities for spinoffs [or] they could take some of the story to the West Coast, and he’d still be on the show.
How has Reynolds grown and what will he take from his experience at New Amsterdam with him to his new position in San Francisco?
He’s definitely come into his own as far as pursuing and understanding what he truly wants. In the [pilot], you can tell he was still trying to find who he was relationship-wise, but by now, you can tell, he’s all the way in. Reynolds, wherever he ends up, he’s definitely going to take that seriousness, the little nuances of humor that’s needed on the job and on the show and that gravitas — and his leadership is crucial. We saw that when he was a mentor and a leader to Duke, the intern. He’s going to take all the love he can give to his fiancée.
What have you enjoyed most about playing Reynolds? Are there any relationships you’ve particularly enjoyed exploring for the character?
I’ve always been fascinated with doctors and the idea of being a doctor. I wanted to be a doctor at some point when I was in high school, changed my mind when I got into college, so this was sort of like a dream come true.
All of the relationships have been extremely interesting for me. Working with Anupam Kher, who plays Kapoor, has been great because he’s a bit older and we explored the idea that Reynolds was a bit of a student in life to Kapoor. The writers took advantage of that as well. It was always coming from a place of wisdom, and Reynolds took that backseat role.
We had a scene in Season 1 where I asked [Anupam], “What is a term of endearment I could call you in Hindi that is a word that people would understand that means mentor or maestro or teacher?” and he said “guruji,” and so I threw that in a scene.
What moments stand out for you for Reynolds?
In Season 1, when Reynolds got to know, on a personal level, Officer McNeil, who was struck by a vehicle. She was a wonderful woman [and] police officer, and they connected regarding work. These are the people who love to be thrown into the fire. They love to be in the line of duty. We did the surgery and suddenly things went extremely south and she didn’t make it.
It caught Reynolds off guard. That was the first time in the series — and I think that was 19 or 20 episodes in — we saw that Reynolds isn’t perfect and he discovered he isn’t perfect, and we lost a character. Through all of the frustration, we see that he’s trying to go back and figure out what went wrong, how did she die, and he’s all alone in that stairwell, and you can see that he’s in his head.
Then he hears a door open and he feels almost naked in that moment and he tries to stand up because he doesn’t want to be caught in that private moment, thinking, and he realizes it’s Evie. As soon as he sees her, he just takes this breath and expels all of the stress of the moment, and he feels comforted and she just comes in and sits down on the stairs behind him and holds him and starts rocking with him and he breaks down and starts crying.
It’s the first time we see him vulnerable. It’s the first time we see that he is discovering that he’s not perfect and he’s confused and lost. Even from there, it gets worse as the next episode, Max is going through his own personal thing and he’s feeling insecure about death as a whole and he starts to blame Reynolds and trying to pinpoint and find a reason why Officer McNeal died. It didn’t help and it was a struggle for Reynolds to even go through that. That was a tumultuous time for him, and that was probably the most interesting time for me to play the character.
Are there any scenes that stand out for you filming-wise?
Episode 107, “The Domino Effect,” there is a white erase board [with] Dr. Sharpe, Dr. Kapoor, myself, and Max, and we’re talking about the daisy chain we were creating for the donations. We laughed so hard with a blooper moment that happened between myself and Anupam, and the crew and the people behind the cameras laughed. I made a joke, and it was one of the funniest, most memorable moments we’ve had.
That for me solidified that this is a family, it’s okay for us to all have fun on set, even through these dramatic scenes, and I learned then that I hoped to be on the show and do this for a long time. That happened once again in [this] episode, when Max comes in and finds me sleeping on the couch. At the end of that scene, the lines and what Max had to say to me was so funny that I immediately started to laugh before he even got it out in the first rehearsal. And in the second rehearsal, we couldn’t get it out again because we were looking at each other and just the way he was delivering it was so funny. … You can’t tell [in the final scene, but] every time I see it, I think to myself, “That was a lot of fun.”
New Amsterdam, Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC