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New Amsterdam Director Talks The Next Episode's 'Gorgeous' Beginning, Ryan Eggold Working With Babies And More

New Amsterdam hasn’t held back from delivering formidable new obstacles to the characters in Season 4, ranging from their personal struggles to a ticking clock before moving across the ocean to the introduction of Dr. Veronica Fuentes as basically the opposite of Max Goodwin. The next new episode that will air on November 2, called “Harmony,” sounds like it will hit the ground running from the very beginning to tell new stories, and director Dinh Thai previewed just what’s in store with that beginning, as well as other elements of working on the show, including the story behind Ryan Eggold working with the babies who play Luna. 

Dinh Thai returned to New Amsterdam for “Harmony” after directing what turned out to be the Season 2 finale after Season 2 came to its early ending. A veteran of NBC’s Emerging Director Program, he was invited back to the hit medical drama, and he spoke with CinemaBlend ahead of the next episode about how it begins. The promo for the episode reveals an ambulance crash, and Thai revealed what it was like filming on location in New York City: 

Yeah, you know, all the exteriors were in Manhattan, and it was a beautiful day. It was about to rain. And you know how New York is with its weather. And so we got really lucky that we just got a little bit of a light sprinkle, and it's great to shoot in the city. You get to feel the texture, you hear the sounds. You know, there's not much you can do with art direction and production design when you're out in the street. And when you're in New York, it's alive, you know?

Even though much of New Amsterdam takes place – of course – at New Amsterdam itself, Max does his best for the people of the city, which sometimes involves hitting the streets of Manhattan to try and do good. Or, in the occasional unfortunate situation, experience an ambulance crash, as fans will undoubtedly remember from the end of Season 1. Another ambulance crash is on the way in this episode, after the stage is set with a first scene that has an unexpected production backstory. When I noted that New York City itself is in a way a character on New Amsterdam, Dinh Thai said:

Oh, for sure. For sure. Something that I can share with you, Laura, the script, the teaser for the script, I believe has five scenes in it. And on one of the days of the shoot, we were on a stage, and I looked out. And it's right off of the, I believe it's the East River, and the stage is right on the edge of the East River. And I walked out to the alleyway and looked out and there's this gorgeous skyline of Manhattan, and I was inspired to get an establishing shot. And so the [assistant director] and the [director of photography], I shared that info with them, and they made it happen. That also was like a spontaneous shot that inspired the rearrangement of the teaser, which unfolded in a really interesting way. When people watch the episode, they'll see that. That's the first shot you see, is that establishing shot of the city and then slowly each scene gets you closer and closer to the hospital.

Not every episode of New Amsterdam starts with this kind of teaser, which sounds like it will take full advantage of the show’s New York setting, both in-show and from a production standpoint. Not all shows are fortunate enough to film in a place like New York City, and get to show off the city in the process to flesh out the world of the characters and their stories. Dinh Thai continued:

It was a stroke of luck, a little bit of creativity, some spontaneity. It really just made that first section of the teaser, kind of go from macro to micro, which is always something that I love about Manhattan. And to your point about it being a character, you know, it kind of leans into that statement of Manhattan is a character in its own.

Of course, directing a series that is four seasons in means working with a group of actors who have been embodying their characters for years, and “Harmony” was Dinh Thai’s return to New Amsterdam. Still, New Amsterdam in Season 4 is very different from New Amsterdam Season 2 thanks to everything that happened in the intense third season, and the director shared what it was like to work with the cast… including the unique way that star Ryan Eggold helped out with the twins playing Max’s daughter: 

Incredible. It's not a lot of abstract conversations about the craft. It feels more precise and more emotional in regards to the conversations with the lead actors. With the guest stars, that's where the conversations become a little bit more abstract. We dig in into the history of the character, even if it's not real history, it's a history that will affect the scene. But we worked with a set of twins who played Luna. And Ryan Eggold is a master at working with the two of them. And one of the things that Ryan and I collaborated on was obviously how to communicate to the Luna twins. And essentially, it was Ryan who was giving them direction, but not the way adults speak to each other. But literally as the scene is rolling, as the take is rolling, Ryan is slowly nudging one of the twins to say the lines and and try to act a certain way. And it was amazing to watch because it was so organic. And it felt so perfect.

Babies can’t exactly be directed to hit their marks and follow scripts the same way that adults can, but Ryan Eggold has apparently found the way to work with the twins who play Max’s daughter. Although Luna was at the center of some drama in Season 3 thanks to Georgia’s parents wanting custody of their granddaughter, she’s been an adorable addition to Season 4, and evidently fans have Ryan Eggold to thank for helping out with the real-life babies. Director Dinh Thai elaborated:

I mean, it's hard enough when we have to deal with each other as adults. And so, you know, when we don't have that ability to really communicate with a younger person, there is a sensitivity to it. And Ryan completely understands, he just handled that day. It was really amazing to watch.

While Max and Luna have been fun together as father and daughter, one character who has been distinctly less fun for most of the characters is Dr. Veronica Fuentes, played by Michelle Forbes. Fuentes is a pretty fun villain to hate and for Max and Co. to go up against, but by all accounts, Forbes herself has been a great addition to the cast. Dinh Thai spoke about his experience with directing her for New Amsterdam:

She's a wonderful actor, super creative, very intuitive. And something that she has always addressed for her character, Veronica, is that Veronica is written to be a villain, but Mishka's goal is to humanize that villainy. And I think she does it well in this episode. I mean, she teared me up a couple of times. And in watching the episode, it really worked. It really worked to soften, to humanize that perspective of Veronica's character…. And I think Mishka goes even further, and puts in so much more work into the craft to make that character feel like a human being in this episode. And we talked about it, she brought it up to Shaun Cassidy, the writer. We talked about it multiple times for each scene, and it was great to see her bring that together.

Fortunately for fans, the wait to see what’s next for Max and the rest is almost at an end. The “Harmony” episode of New Amsterdam airs on Tuesday, November 2 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following a new episode of La Brea at 9 p.m. ET. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more on New Amsterdam, and be sure to check out the promo for a look at what to expect! 

New Amsterdam is one of a number of medical dramas that returned to television in the 2021-2022 TV season, but certainly the only one that is counting down the episodes until seemingly sending two major characters across an ocean to start a new life together in a new country. That said, a lot can go sideways for Sharpwin as Season 4 continues, and fans may not want to prepare to say bon voyage to Max and Helen just yet in the fall TV season.

Laura Hurley

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