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Warning: Spoilers for the New Amsterdam Season 2 premiere are discussed below.
New Amsterdam opened Season 2 with the reveal of who died following that ambulance crash in last season’s finale, but not before making fans wait quite a while to learn who didn't make it. The medical drama spent most of its premiere as if Max’s wife, Georgia, Dr. Helen Sharpe, and Dr. Lauren Bloom had survived the accident.
Despite the tease, it was known that someone was not going to survive the premiere, and someone did not. In the end, New Amsterdam revealed that it was Max’s wife, Georgia, who succumbed and passed away, meaning that Helen and Lauren both survived. Was the tragic twist designed to pave the way for Helen and Max to get together?
New Amsterdam’s showrunner, David Schulner, was asked if Helen and Max’s relationship swayed the decision about who to kill off. Schulner confirmed that having Georgia die was planned from Day One with clues put in the pilot. However, he almost went back on that decision before getting some gentle support from executive producer Peter Horton, who advised him to follow through on the twist.
So what, if any, impact did Max and Helen’s burgeoning bond have in New Amsterdam’s decision to kill off Max’s wife? Schulner told TVLine:
You know, it’s interesting: It almost made me not kill Georgia. We have a huge fan base who all they want to do is see Max and Sharpe together, and that’s not in the cards right now. So without Georgia, it would actually make that easier, and we didn’t want that. We don’t want them to be together. They’re the best of friends, and that’s the relationship that we’re really excited to explore: two adult friends who love and care for each other. So actually, Georgia being gone made it too easy to give the fans what they wanted. It was actually a thought that maybe we shouldn’t kill Georgia for that very reason.
It does not sound like New Amsterdam killed off Max’s wife to clear the narrative way for a Helen and Max pairing. At least, not at the moment. The medical drama’s showrunner reveals that the plan is to continue playing Max and Helen as best friends.
David Schulner did acknowledge the concern that having Georgia die made it “too easy” for fans hoping for a Max / Helen coupling to get what they wanted. If that does eventually happen, it sounds like New Amsterdam fans are in for a wait.
As for where Max and Helen’s relationship currently stands, for David Schulner that is a good question. Schulner was asked about the dynamic between Max and Helen in the Season 2 premiere, to which he responded, saying:
When Sharpe put her hand on him and said, 'If you ever want to talk about it, you know, I’m here,' I think Max does not want to talk about it, and I think Max doesn’t want to be near anyone who wants him to talk about it. He’s just not there yet, especially at work. When he’s able to focus on everyone else, he doesn’t want to be reminded of what he’s missing.
From what David Schulner is saying, the status of Helen and Max's relationship in the Season 2 premiere was only due to Max’s grief, and him not wanting to discuss his loss. Helen, being the magnificent friend that she is, did not let that dissuade her from offering her support, though. As New Amsterdam’s showrunner explained, she let Max know that she was there for him and would be, whenever he's ready to talk.
Where does this leave fans who hope that Max and Helen’s connection will be romantically realized? Well, it does not sound like it will never happen. Even though, the "we don't want them to be together" part is problematic.
If Helen and Max do get together, it sounds like fans are in for a considerable wait. It seems highly possible that New Amsterdam is laying the groundwork for an eventual coupling, especially when you look at last season's arc.
The medical drama hinted at Georgia’s fate with the blizzard episode and what the psychic predicted while being treated by Max and Helen. It is not as if New Amsterdam has not acknowledged that Helen and Max’s relationship may extend past platonic feelings.
As for Season 2, New Amsterdam will not be without Max and Helen’s connection, which will continue to be a focus for the drama. His new doctor offered good tidings regarding his health. As viewers will recall, his cancer diagnosis opened the series and Helen will undoubtedly continue to be involved in that story too.
New episodes of New Amsterdam air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. The series’ second season is one of many fall premieres.