“New Amsterdam” wrapped its maiden season in uncharacteristic fashion — with a violent ambulance crash and horrific pipe-bomb explosion underscoring Tuesday night’s cliffhanger.
“Initially we were thinking much more humbly about the last episode and kicking around various ideas,” says executive producer Peter Horton, who directed the hospital drama’s season finale. “We got encouragement from [NBC] to go bigger … and by the time we started prepping the episode we realized we’d created a monster.
“Here we are with a show that rarely does any stunts or special effects other than prosthetics and medical stuff — and we’re gonna go out with an ambulance crash and flashback to a pipe bomb going off in a club. Everyone looked at us like, ‘WTF are you guys doing?’ ”
Among the episode’s take-a-deep breath highlights were a “Sophie’s Choice” moment for Max (Ryan Eggold) — does he save his unborn baby or his wife, Georgia (Lisa O’Hare)? — and heroics from recovering addict Dr. Bloom (Janet Montgomery), who arrived at Max’s doorstep to announce her retirement. Dr. Reynolds (Jocko Sims) proposed to lawyer Evie Garrison (Margot Bingham), despite his stern mother’s disapproval. Meanwhile, New Amsterdam psychiatrist Dr. Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine) helped a patient suffering from PTSD — in the wake of career-jeopardizing accusations that he inappropriately touched a younger patient, Avi (Elijah Richardson).
Dr. Floyd Reynolds (Jocko Sims) proposes to Evie Garrison (Margot Bingham).
“It’s funny. We came up with the arc for Iggy and Avi in the very first week in the writers’ room and we were just waiting for the right time to deploy it,” says series creator David Schulner. “Tyler, as an actor and being as empathetic as he is … touching his patients and the other actors was just a natural impulse he brought to the character.
“Even though we had this thought of someone accusing Iggy of something inappropriate, we were waiting for the audience to fall in love with him to build a case against him.”
The episode-ending crash was triggered by a coked-up New Amsterdam patient stealing a hospital ambulance and ramming into the ambulance transporting Max, Georgia, their newborn baby Luna, Bloom and Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) back to the hospital.
Max, weakened by his ongoing battle with throat cancer, survived the crash, bloodied and dazed and cradling Luna in his arms. The fate of everyone else in the ambulance remains uncertain.
“The ambulance crash forced us to think about the injuries each character sustained and how that would play out over next season,” says Schulner. “The way Peter directed it, every place, every character and where they ended up after the crash was very deliberate because it affects their arc in Season 2.”
“If they survive,” Horton says. “When we were first thinking about the storyline, we were talking about, ‘What if they just randomly get into a crash?’ But that just felt too Coen Brothers, too convenient, and it just wasn’t our show.”
Schulner says Season 2 will pick up in the immediate aftermath of the crash. “We’re going to simultaneously jump forward in time and revisit the crash,” he says. “And then you’ll have your answer of who died in the first episode of Season 2.
“Max’s battle with cancer will continue but not in the way you might think,” he says. “This is a long and winding road and Season 2 will be the next chapter. [Max’s cancer battle] won’t really be like anything we’ve seen this season.”