Perpetual problem solver Max is at again on this Tuesday’s New Amsterdam (NBC, 10/9c), and this time, the doc has set his sights on a very big issue plaguing the hospital.
“Max decides to fix or solve systemic racism in healthcare at New Amsterdam, and the question is, ‘Why today?’ And Max’s response is, ‘Why not yesterday? Why not the day before? Why wasn’t it the first thing I did when I came to this hospital?'” showrunner David Schulner previews.
“Max is having to course-correct after two-and-a-half seasons of not talking about this issue in real depth, and not only is he having to confront that blindspot, [but] we, as a show, are, too,” the EP continues. “Why wasn’t this the first thing we talked about in Season 1? Why did it take two-and-a-half seasons and the entire country waking up for Max to wake up, and by relation, for us to wake up? [People of color] have been dealing with these issues from the very beginning, but we haven’t tackled it head-on until now.”
For New Amsterdam‘s Ryan Eggold, the episode was “certainly one of my favorite to film this season, thus far,” the actor tells TVLine. “It’s classic Max and his idealism in the sense that he starts the episode saying, ‘I want to fix systemic racism at New Amsterdam,’ which is a fairly grandiose statement. Where do you begin?”
As Max sets out to tackle the problem, he quickly finds himself dealing with “questions about his own role in this in terms of like, ‘I’m a straight white male running this hospital in a position of power and privilege. How do I contend with that?'” previews Eggold. “‘Am I part of the problem? Where do I need to grow, shift, evolve? How do we make this hospital the most fair, the most inclusive, the most reflective of life?'”
In his quest, Max turns to his BIPOC colleagues, including Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman), who gives her friend some words of advice. “Max is, in some ways, sort of asking her to fix it or to help him fix it, and she sort of needs to remind him to listen,” Eggold says. “[She explains] that you don’t always have to have the answer or be the one to implement the change yourself, that it’s about making space.”
Dr. Floyd Reynolds, too, finds himself involved in Max’s attempt to better things at the hospital. “The situation is pretty comical, in a good way,” his portrayer Jocko Sims says, adding that the episode is both “eye-opening” and “educational.”
“I learned things myself, reading the script,” Sims shares. “We take on Black Lives Matter and other social issues in a way that one would not expect, no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on in that. I hate to say that it is political — it shouldn’t be — but it has been politicized, obviously, Black Lives Matter. But no matter where you stand on that, you’re going to come out of this [episode] informed and entertained.”