New Amsterdam Executive Producers Confirm Helen's Fate And Share How Worried Fans Should Be After The Two-Parter

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Episode 17 of New Amsterdam Season 4, called “Unfinished Business.”

For any fans who thought that New Amsterdam would tie off all the cliffhanger stories from the spring premiere in the span of one episode, “Unfinished Business” proved that there are definitely lasting consequences to the karaoke night out. Although there were multiple near-death experiences, Helen had the worst reaction to the drugs. She recovered long enough for Max to propose, but was experiencing another health crisis at the very end of the episode. Executive producers David Schulner and Peter Horton confirmed what exactly happened to her, what it means for her moving forward, and previewed how worried fans should be. 

Helen’s reaction to the drugs involved complication after complication, and surgery after surgery, with possible stroke if she didn’t agree to a hysterectomy among other procedures. She refused to have the hysterectomy because she imagined a future with Max involving siblings for Luna, and all seemed well with Max rushing off to get the ring and make their engagement official before it all fell apart. Speaking with CinemaBlend about “Unfinished Business,” David Schulner confirmed that Helen “has suffered a massive stroke” right after things were going so well, and it’s not something that she can just bounce back from. Peter Horton elaborated:

Unable to talk, unable to get her brain to form words. And the thing that's so tragic about it is the future – suddenly out of nowhere, like you said, it was going so well with their future all before them with everything working out the way they planned on and worked for all of these years. And now suddenly, those plans are all out the window, because who knows what's going to happen to her? Is she going to be able to ever get her speech back? And if she does, is it the same speech and therefore the same person that Max was going to marry? Because it changes. You know, when things like that happen, they tend to kind of change your identity. Your system naturally evolves to accommodate for it. So what's that going to mean, if that happens for her? What does that mean for them? What does it mean for their love for each other?

For this brilliant doctor who has saved lives over and over and over again during the course of her career, the loss of her ability to speak and form words sounds like a nightmare, not to mention coming so shortly after getting engaged and talking about expanding her family with Max. He looked like he was being traumatized all over again at the end of “Unfinished Business,” so there’s also the question of how he’ll be able to handle Helen's new status quo in what remains of the 2021-2022 TV season. Is love truly going to be enough for them to go back to what they were? 

Well, fans will just have to wait, hope, and see on that front, but it seems clear that this isn’t a storyline that will be wrapped up in the immediate future. When I asked the executive producers how worried viewers should be about Helen after her stroke at the end of “Unfinished Business,” Peter Horton shared: 

I think really worried. I mean, again, it's not just the physicality of it. It's what does it do to your whole self-identity, to your sense of invulnerability? It changes people, and it's going to change Helen.

The good news is at least that Helen has survived the drugs and her reaction while they were still in her system, and it’s safe to say that Max isn’t going to abandon her in her time of need. Plus, David Schulner and Peter Horton confirmed that the other four people who were drugged – Dr. Castries (despite her cold cliffhanger), Dr. Wilder, Trevor, and Casey (who was finally discovered by Bloom and Leyla after their important conversation) – are out of the woods as of the end of “Unfinished Business.” That’s not to say that there won’t be consequences, as Martin is finally aware of Iggy and Trevor’s situation.

Tune in to NBC on Tuesday, May 3 for the next new episode of New Amsterdam to reveal the aftermath of Helen’s stroke in Season 4. Not too many weeks are left before the fourth season finale in May, so be sure not to miss an episode!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).