NBC’s new medical drama “New Amsterdam,” is based on Dr. Eric Manheimer’s book on New York City’s Bellevue Hospital titles “Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital.” The show tells the story of Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), the latest medical director at a public hospital in New York City.
Goodwin is the latest version of TV’s long running “doctor who doesn’t play by the rules” archetype. In the pilot episode he’s framed as a Man of the People, speaking Spanish to the janitorial staff, trying to get his doctors to focus on the patients again, and not the money involved, and asking everyone he encounters “How can I help?”
It’s nothing we haven’t seen before in a medial drama, but Ryan Eggold plays the part with such charm and charisma, that you totally buy into his way or running things. Okay, so maybe getting rid of every heart surgeon on staff was a bit much considering he hadn’t seen them at work yet.
But I liked that Goodwin acted when the doctors didn’t seem to give a damn about anything. And I also liked that Dr. Goodwin is man enough to admit when he makes a mistake, and rehired one of the surgeon and tasks him with rebuilding the heart section of the hospital.
The only thing I didn’t like about Dr. Goodwin is that the pilot episode of “New Amsterdam” gives him two significant life hurdles: a pregnant, estranged wife, and a secret illness he hasn’t told her or anyone else about. To me adding these things seems like overkill. The guy is sympathetic enough as it is, you don’t need to give him more things to handle. That said, I still like the character, and the way the actor plays him.
The supporting cast of “New Amsterdam” does its level best to rise above the typical material you see in medical dramas. Over in the emergency room, Janet Montgomery’s Dr. Laura Bloom is arguably the smartest one in the room, and very matter of fact about the harder parts of her job. Bloom puts her patients first, sometimes at her own rish. She’s also the fist the buy into Goodwin’s new way of doing things.
Bloom has a relationship with Jocko Sims’ cardiac surgeon Floyd Reynolds. I don’t mind the romance angle, but his acting opposite Janet Montgomery wasn’t very convincing. Hopefully that’s just in the pilot, and it will improve from here on in. Then there’s Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine), a psychiatrist who works with sick and displaced children. The elder statesman on staff is Anupam Kher as Dr. Vijay Kapoor, who gives the series some nice humor and heart.
Finally, there’s Freema Agyeman, who is almost completely wasted as Hana Sharpe, a talented doctor who got caught up in New Amsterdam’s PR game, and doesn’t really practice medicine anymore. But worry not, because Goodwin is working on getting her back into scrubs. I just wish we’d seen more of her in the pilot.
Over the last few years, I watched several medical dramas. But I stopped watching “Grey’s Anatomy” because it was just too sad. Then NBC Cancelled “The Night Shift” and CBS axed “Code Black.” A few months ago I gave up on “Chicago Med” because I got tired of the main character getting together, then breaking up, only to get together again. My pong is: I need a good medical drama again.
Uts far too early to tell if “New Amsterdam” is the one. There are good things in “New Amsterdam,” and some bad things. The good news is that most of the bad thing like too many subplots, and too fast a pace in certain places, can all be fixed and improved. The best part of this show is Ryan Eggold and Janet Montgomery. If the series focuses on them, then maybe NBC has something good on theur hands.
“New Amsterdam” score: B-