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Series / New Amsterdam (2018)

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Break the Rules. Heal the System.

New Amsterdam is an NBC Medical Drama that premiered in 2018. It is based on the book Twelve Patients - Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Eric Manheimer.

Dr. Max Goodwin is the new medical director of New Amsterdam Medical Center, a major public hospital that provides care to the general public, prison inmates, and even UN diplomats. From the moment he arrives, Goodwin has grand ideas to make sure New Amsterdam can provide proper medical treatment to every patient who comes through its doors, regardless of cost, and makes clear he doesn't care who he has to steamroll to make this happen. This is met with a mixture of excitement, curiosity, and derision by the staff.

Not to be confused with New Amsterdam, a police procedural about an immortal detective searching for his true love.


This program provides examples of:

  • Alcoholic Parent: Dr. Bloom's mother was a severe alcoholic, and as a child, she was often forced to deal with the consequences of her mother's drinking. When she was old enough to go to college, she fled all the way to Washington to get away.
  • Arc Words: Goodwin's Catchphrase: "How can I help?"
  • Back for the Dead: Dr. Bloom reappears at the end of the penultimate episode of season 1 after being out of the picture for several episodes, only to be killed in an ambulance collision at the end of the season 1 finale.
  • Black and Nerdy: Dr. Reynolds used his intelligence to raise himself from poverty to a full academic scholarship to Yale eventually to building a brand new cardio-thoracic surgery department at New Amsterdam. He completely geeks out over medical equipment and happily recalls how his mother used to buy him all the books he wanted each birthday.
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  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Dr. Vijay Kapoor appears absent-minded and overly cautious, but he's actually a top-notch diagnostician.
  • Casting Gag: This is not the first time Freema Agyeman has played someone with medical training.
  • Catchphrase: Goodwin's: "How can I help?", which are also Arc Words.
  • Fictional Counterpart: New Amsterdam Medical Center is based on Bellevue Hospital, and uses Bellevue's exterior for establishing shots.
  • Foil: Dr. Kapoor is this to Dr. Goodwin. While Goodwin wants to immediately start treating patients for the symptoms they exhibit, Kapoor advocates a more methodical approach to diagnose the root cause of the symptoms, pointing out that quick treatments can oftentimes only serve to mask the underlying cause and result in death.
  • Heroic RRoD: Throughout the first season Max becomes more and more frail as his throat cancer and treatment regimen take a toll on his body.
  • Leitmotif: A jazz drum solo plays whenever Goodwin does something to change the way things work at New Amsterdam. Later on, the drum solo also plays when other characters start following Goodwin's example.
  • Not What It Looks Like: During a papal visit to New York, Dr. Kapoor cheerfully admits to going into the hospital room set aside as a contingency for the Pope and sprinkling flower petals, which happen to be toxic, on and around the bed as a sign of welcome. The Secret Service views the incident as an assassination attempt and locks Kapoor down for the day.
  • Only Sane Man: Dr. Iggy Frome considers himself to be this in regards to the foster system. All the system wants him to do is to get troubled children calm enough so they can be placed with a foster family while he knows that there's a good chance that the children will be abused and be sent back to him in worse shape.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Reynolds' mother finds Evie to be nice but doesn't think she's the right woman for her son. Reynolds decides that, in this one case, his mother is wrong.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In the first episode, Dr. Kapoor's patient was misdiagnosed with Parkinson's and put on medication for that. The side-effects created new health problems, and so she was put on medication for those, and then ended up on another medication for the side-effects from that medication, which eventually resulted in her brain being tricked into thinking that she was dead, which brought her to Dr. Kapoor's attention. Dr. Kapoor discovers that her real problem was a form of cancer which has by now metastasized, leaving her with just two years to live.
  • Reality Ensues: Iggy's attempts to push the limits when helping his patients results in him stepping over the line and being put under review with his medical license on the line.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Goodwin, as medical director, comes in and completely shakes up the status quo at New Amsterdam, so much so that he fires all but one cardiac surgeon and many more senior staff immediately walk out because of the changes he makes.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: As the series progresses, New Amsterdam's staff starts taking Goodwin's methods to heart and begin shaking things up around the hospital on their own accord.
    • In the first episode, Dr. Frome puts a psychiatric hold on one of his patients, Jemma, in an attempt to stop her from going back into the foster care system. This ends up backfiring as Jemma bristles at the strict rules in the psych ward, so Frome breaks another rule, tracking down the estranged daughter of one of the few foster parents that Jemma actually liked, and guilt-tripping her into meeting Jemma to discuss adoption.
    • One episode sees Reynolds posing as his predecessor in order to get a patient admitted to New Amsterdam's sister hospital. The same episode sees Bloom locking Sharpe out of an examination room in order to stop her from administering the wrong treatment to a patient.
  • Servile Snarker: Dora, Goodwin's assistant, copes with the stress her boss puts her through with heaping doses of snark.
  • Straight Gay: Dr. Frome has a husband at home.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • In "Anima Sola", Iggy reports an elderly surgeon whose hands have gotten shakey. Max is reluctant to keep the surgeon at work for fear that he will botch a surgery, but doesn't want to fire someone with so much experience, so he appoints the surgeon as the new head of telesurgery, allowing him to direct surgeries from afar rather than performing them himself.
    • In "The Blues", Max goes looking for employees whose jobs have become obsolete and finds a large number of them. On the one hand, many of them can't be moved up to their job of choice within the hospital, as the positions are already filled. On the other hand, he doesn't want to fire any of them because he fears it will discourage people from reporting obsolescence. Finally, he takes a third option, setting up a new clinic in Sheepshead Bay and moving the obsolete employees to the nearest equivalent promotions there.
  • Those Two Guys: Drs. Frome and Kapoor often get paired together both because their specialties (psychiatry and neurology, respectively) are related and because their diametrically opposed personalities mean they play well off of one another.
  • Transgender: One episode sees Dr. Frome dealing with a trans boy who is seeking to get top surgery.

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