While New Amsterdam battles COVID in Season 3, the NBC medical drama’s flu pandemic episode from last season will remain (mostly) unseen.
Last March, the show opted to pull from the schedule an installment about an influenza outbreak in the wake of the real-world global coronavirus crisis. “The world needs a lot less fiction right now, and a lot more facts,” series creator David Schulner wrote in an essay for Deadline at the time. “We showed what happens when our hospital has to erect tents in the parking lot because every bed is taken. Today, we woke up to images of the military erecting tents to serve as makeshift morgues outside Bellevue hospital as New York is bracing for potential surge in coronavirus victims. Sometimes, what the mirror reflects back is too horrifying to look at.”
But even a year later, Schulner and executive producer/director Peter Horton tell TVLine that the “lost” hour won’t make it to TV. “It’s a great episode. I hate that we can’t show it,” Horton laments, adding that the coronavirus pandemic is “so loud and huge that I just don’t see a justification for doing some sort of story about another outbreak. Nothing’s going to compare to what we’ve all been through and what we’ve already shown. So it’s not going to air.”
Instead, the EPs chose to “cannibalize [the episode] and make it part of Season 3” by using some of the footage in this week’s season opener, Horton shares.
“In that [Season 2] episode, Kapoor caught the influenza virus, and [having the character contract COVID] gave us an opportunity to use this footage that we shot, some of it in our large Bellevue atrium that we obviously can’t shoot at anymore,” Schulner explained in TVLine’s premiere post mortem. Plus, “we even used some of the footage for Iggy because it was so good,” Horton adds.
New Amsterdam fans, are you disappointed the episode won’t air? Or are you happy with this compromise?