Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Tuesday, September 24, episode of New Amsterdam.
No chance to say goodbye. If you thought the New Amsterdam finale was tough, the season 2 premiere came in swinging.
The premiere picked up three months after the accident, but also included flashbacks to that day. In the present day, Max (Ryan Eggold) has a happy and healthy baby girl, who he sings to in the mornings and at night with Georgia (Lisa O’Hare), who stays in bed. He brings the baby to the hospital’s day care center. Dr. Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) — while she’s missing from the hospital in the first half of the episode — is actually just away on business and has a temporary doctor filling in. It works out for Max since she muttered the word “cured” when talking about his extremely successful cancer treatments.
Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery) is also back: She had major injuries from the accident (she was thrown through the windshield, after all) but returns to work after months of rehab. She is also drug-free but emotionally, is wrecked. In a touching scene, she breaks down in tears on the roof to Sharpe.
So, besides the ambulance driver, who died? Well, the answer to the cliffhanger is Georgia. While the surgeons did everything they could for her, she died at the hospital — before Max could say goodbye. It turns out that Max was imagining Georgia next next to him in bed, singing to their daughter.
Following the episode, creator David Schulner opened up exclusively to Us Weekly about the decision to kill off Georgia, how the cast reacted and what’s coming next for Max.
Us Weekly: Why did you decide to kill off Georgia?
So, that was in my head at the pilot stage. I wanted to set it up in the pilot and have it happen in the finale, to connect the first episode in the last. As the season progressed, I totally chickened out. I fell in love with Lisa O’Hare, with Georgia, with this marriage that both of them wanted to protect. Because I didn’t set up anything else, every other ending we tried to come up with felt false. At a certain point, Peter [Horton], our executive producer, gently and supportively nudged me and said, “I think you’re chickening out.” I knew he was right.
Us: How was the cast reaction?
Everyone was genuinely worried. I had Janet, her baby and her partner over for dinner, and she pulled me aside and said, “Did you invite me to dinner because I’m not coming back?” Everyone had that moment. We promised to tell them when we could. But in this age of social media and spoilers, the lengths you have to go to to preserve something like this is borderline insanity, so we knew we couldn’t tell anyone ahead of time. We tried to make sure no one was going to lose out to any jobs.
Us: Max got good news in the beginning. What will his arc be this season now that he’s getting better?
His cancer is responding to treatment, something that normally Max would celebrate but he doesn’t have the person he wants to celebrate this with around anymore. Max is really dealing with grief this whole season — grief and recovery. A lot of the stories that come into the hospital will challenge Max to confront his own grief in a way that he doesn’t want to. If he can keep it at bay, he can be a good father, he can keep running the hospital. It’s very similar to how Max dealt with his cancer. He felt he could outsmart it, he could outrun it. It’s Max’s personality that makes him think of others before himself. A large part of this season will be about grief and all the different aspects of it. Just as the accident changed Max’s life the most profoundly, it did have an impact on everyone around him. Every character is forced to reevaluate their lives and make some big changes.
Us: Sharpe and Max have a very interesting relationship and we see in the premiere, there’s a bit of coldness. What can you say about that?
It definitely plays out in the second episode in a big way. What we’ll really see is, anytime somebody wants to talk to Max about Georgia, anytime someone wants to comfort him, he pushes them away because that’s not where he wants to live. At the hospital, he can change other people’s lives even if he can’t change his own.
Us: Everyone knows he was very in love with Georgia but there is something there with Sharpe. Will that be explored at all? Obviously he’s not close to being there yet.
Exactly. No. To me, their relationship is so wonderfully engaging and fascinating that for them to simply slip into a romantic relationship feels anticlimactic to the relationship that they have right now. To me, their relationship is so wonderfully mature and complicated and adult and it’s a relationship that I don’t think a lot of other shows explore, so I think for us, it continues to pay dividends keeping them best friends, keeping them absolutely two people who have enormous respect and admiration and chemistry.
New Amsterdam airs on NBC Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.
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