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New Amsterdam ended its first season on a doozy of a cliffhanger that left the survival of several key characters in question. One of the characters who may have died or at least been seriously injured in the ambulance crash is none other than Dr. Helen Sharpe, who was treating Max for his cancer. It hasn't been fun to think about something taking Helen out of commission (permanently or not), but now the show has cast a new doctor that gives reason to worry about her.
The highly-rated show has recruited Ana Villafañe of South Beach and Los Americans fame to play an oncologist by the name of Valentina Castro, according to TVLine. She's a young and enthusiastic doctor with the brains to make any patient likely lucky to have her, but she also has a complicated past with Helen. Several years prior the timeline of Season 2, Helen fired Valentina from the hospital.
The big question is why New Amsterdam needs a new oncologist if head of oncology Helen is still in the mix. Although Helen withdrew from her role as Max's doctor in Season 1, she later resumed her work as his oncologist, and was poised to continue treating him as of the end of the finale. Does the addition of Ana Villafañe as Dr. Valentina Castro mean that Max had no choice but to replace Helen as his oncologist?
The ambulance crash in the Season 1 finale was deadly, and it was confirmed back in May that somebody significant died. We likely won't know the truth until Season 2 premieres in September, but we do already know that it's one of three women: Helen, Max's wife Georgia (who just gave birth), and Dr. Lauren Bloom. Take a look at the trailer that teases the big death:
While Helen's prominence in the trailer and the emphasis on her importance to Max naturally makes me suspicious that she might not recover from the ambulance crash, I also find it hard to believe that New Amsterdam would write out Freema Agyeman at this point. Not to wish ill on poor Lauren, but it would be downright tragic (and inconvenient for the plot) for Georgia to be the one who died so soon after she survived a difficult birth. I'm leaning toward Lauren as the death.
If that's the case, though, then why the new oncologist? Well, there are plenty of possible reasons that don't have to do with Helen winding up six feet under. Helen is the head of oncology, so she may have too much going on to dedicate as much one-on-one time to Max as he needs. Maybe she even worked out a treatment plan for him and then handed him off! Not all new doctors have to come because of a death!
More depressingly, it's possible that Helen was injured and so had to be out of work for a while to recover. Or maybe Valentina is just an expert in Max's kind of cancer! No need to panic just yet, although it can't hurt to cross your fingers for your favorite of Helen, Lauren, and Georgia to survive. That trailer is definitely foreboding.
New Amsterdam returns to NBC for Season 2 on Tuesday, September 24 at 10 p.m. ET. That's a competitive time slot, with the sixth season of NCIS: New Orleans launching the same night, as well as ABC's high-profile new series Emergence. For more important premiere dates, swing by our 2019 fall TV premiere guide.