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How New Amsterdam Will Handle The Aftermath Of Veronica Fuentes' Big Move Against Max

Spoilers ahead for the November 16 episode of New Amsterdam Season 4, called “In A Strange Land.”

The weeks continue to count down on New Amsterdam before Max and Helen leave New York to start new lives in London, but Michelle Forbes’ Dr. Veronica Fuentes isn’t making the decision easy on them. Just when Max seemed like he was going to score a big win with Brantley on his side before departing, Fuentes made a big move that leaves her in a greater position of power than before, shortly after firing members of staff and changing the whole power dynamic of the hospital. Jocko Sims, whose Reynolds ended up as Chair of General Surgery in Baptiste’s former role due to the firings, spoke with CinemaBlend about what happens next. 

After it seemed like Brantley found enough board votes to do what Max has wanted all along and fire Dr. Fuentes, Max was happy to raise his hand to vote her out. Unfortunately for him (and Brantley), Veronica had secretly recruited the board member with the key vote to her side, giving him Brantley’s former position as Board Chair in exchange for his support. Her grip on her role as medical director is firm with Max on the way out, and Max clearly wasn’t happy about it. When I spoke with Jocko Sims about “In A Strange Land” and noted that Michelle Forbes is so good at playing bad as Dr. Fuentes, he previewed what the hospital will look like now that she’s unopposed by anybody who would oust her:

First of all, Michelle Forbes is just brilliant. You said good at being bad, but she is taking – what we don't see on camera is – she's taking her time to not play the typical villain and to get her message across sort of nicely. You know, she's sort of massaging the things that she's saying. She puts her horrible message in a nice little package as she delivers it and I think it's just so brilliant. And the hospital is going to look quite different, starting with the firings, right? … So there's that. And, you know, it's not so much about how all she's changing the hospital, but it's also that void of our friend, our mentor, our leader, Max, and that is the biggest change in New Amsterdam of all. I mean, it just doesn't even feel the same.

While Dr. Fuentes’ moves have ranged from reasonable to downright despicable throughout the fourth season so far, she has presented them in ways that soften them enough to fly with the board. Interestingly, Jocko Sims’ character has professionally lost less than the others when it comes to Fuentes making cuts. Bloom and the ED were struggling without Casey and Iggy’s scheduling was a disaster without Gladys, but Reynolds got the top job in the surgical department after Baptiste was fired. He just didn’t get the top job in the way he wanted to, which somewhat sums up Fuentes: she gets things done to crunch the numbers in ways that work, but the main characters don’t like. 

And the main characters having more altruistic expectations of their medical director does make sense, after three and a half seasons of Max “How can I help?” Goodwin in charge. “In A Strange Land” showed the contrast between Max and Fuentes more starkly than ever as she sided with ICE while Max bent the rules to the point of nearly breaking to help get the undocumented immigrants back to sanctuary. Coming on the heels of the firings, it was easy to see why the doctors were so frustrated with her. At the same time, the firings were financially necessary. When I commented that I almost felt guilty when I sometimes saw Fuentes’ point in what she did, Jocko Sims responded: 

It's so interesting that you said you feel guilty for seeing her point, because it's not that she's wrong about anything. It's just that we're all spoiled by this very unconventional guy who's come in and tried to flip the system on its head. And that's what we're seeing. We had an episode that aired not long ago where Sandra Mae [Frank] comes in, who's playing the hearing impaired [character], an actress who truly is, and she's fantastic. But she explained that the surgery we needed to save Guillaume's life, who was Sharpe's ex boyfriend, was going to cost $2 million. And then Max just said 'Yes!' He didn't hesitate. He just said yes. I mean, what if Veronica had been in charge? [laughs] Guillaume might not be alive. So it's just we're used to that. But if you want to save a hospital, unfortunately, the way our system is designed, some cuts have to be made. And she's good at it.

Sandra Mae Frank’s Dr. Wilder is more similar to Max than Dr. Fuentes, so it bodes well for New Amsterdam that she has come on board to replace Helen. But having an oncologist who wants to spend $2 million for a patient isn’t the same as having a medical director who can approve it. All things considered, Fuentes is in a more secure place at the top than ever before, and Max seems to be out of cards to play against her now that Brantley is no longer able to help the way she could before. And he's leaving New York soon. 

The professional problems at New Amsterdam only compound what some of the doctors are dealing with in their personal lives, particularly Reynolds in his unconventional relationship with Malvo and her husband. Is love truly all they need to make the romance work, or is the relationship doomed now that Reynolds’ part is out in the open and Baptiste has been fired? 

Find out with the midseason finale of New Amsterdam Season 4 on Tuesday, November 23 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC as the 2021 fall TV season winds down. The medical drama is one of a number of shows that is delivering strong ratings in delayed numbers, and all signs point toward the first half of the season ending on a strong note. 

Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.