Warning: The following contains spoilers for Tuesday’s New Amsterdam finale. Proceed at your own risk!
Now that is how you leave a voicemail! If you’re a fan of “Sharpwin,” then you’re probably still reeling from New Amsterdam‘s Season 3 finale, which found Max and Helen finally crossing over from friends to potentially lovers.
At the start of the hour, which picked up one month after the penultimate episode, Helen was in England with her niece, so Max left her a voicemail full of yearning: “I miss you. I can’t get you out of my head. It’s very distracting. We said things to each other that were just the beginning, and we never quite… Anyway, now you’re gone, and it just feels like it’s been forever. And I need to see you. I need to talk to you. I need to be with you in all the ways that I’ve been dreaming of.”
That confessional message even caught star Ryan Eggold by surprise. “I was glad to hear it. There’s been so much unspoken between them for so long,” the actor tells TVLine in the above video interview. “I was like, ‘Yes, man! Say it!’ I’m just excited to see them cross that territory of playing it safe and being kind and sweet and professional.”
According to showrunner David Schulner, Helen has been in England for three weeks, and during that time, Schulner believes the pair talked on the phone (“Maybe that’ll be our webisodes”). But even when Helen later returned to New Amsterdam after dealing with her mother’s health scare and literally bumped into Max, the two still didn’t act on their feelings. The disappointment was clearly evident on Helen’s face as Max relayed how he’d lost his wedding ring earlier that day.
“The trick of the episode — and it’s just the trick of being here at the end of the three years — is we’ve knocked down all the obstacles between Max and Sharpe,” Schulner says. “What we tried to do for the finale was give them each one big obstacle. For Sharpe, that was set up early in Season 1, when she didn’t want to talk about her family, and for Max, [it’s] his wedding ring, which [he’s been wearing] for two years now. We hoped to give them one last hurdle to overcome, and we used the biggest pieces on the chessboard for each of them.”
Taking in Max’s relief over having found his wedding ring, Helen noted that maybe too much had already been said between them and turned to leave. But Max asked if he could just walk wordlessly beside her, and Helen nodded. Silently, they strolled through the streets of New York City until they came to Helen’s front door, at which point Max hesitated and said goodbye.
“I think he just had this lovely, romantic walk with this person that he’s crazy about, that he has this certain connection with,” Eggold describes. And yet, Max “walked away from it, I think, out of fear.”
Just when it seemed like, once again, Max and Helen’s timing was off, Max stopped at a crosswalk and slipped his ring off before running back to Helen’s place and kissing her. “I think he’s standing there and realizing… his wife who loved him so much would want him to be happy, and it doesn’t make sense to stay in this relationship that’s gone,” Eggold says. “I think he’s wanted to kiss her for a long time and wanted to knock on her door, in more ways than one, for a long time.”
His costar Freema Agyeman points out that Helen “obviously doesn’t see that he’s taken the ring off. So she just gets this bang on the door, and it’s him looking kind of keen. I think she’s been ready for a while, but I think she acknowledged or acknowledges that he has to be in a place where he’s ready.”
“I think with these two, it was, like, starting to fizz, and I think they had to do something before their heads popped off,” the actress adds with a laugh.
Looking ahead at Season 4, Schulner promises to give fans “everything you want from Max and Sharpe, and a whole lot more. It is on. And there is no turning back.”
Press PLAY above to hear more from Eggold and Agyeman, then grade the finale and hit the comments with your thoughts!