New Amsterdam: Why Max's Approach To Fixing Systemic Racism Probably Won't Work

new amsterdam max goodwin season 3 ryan eggold nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the March 30 episode of New Amsterdam on NBC, called "Blood, Sweat & Tears."

New Amsterdam spent the first five episodes of Season 3 adding new issues to the pile of problems that the doctors of the hospital were already attempting to handle, and "Blood, Sweat & Tears" added another tragedy to the fold by touching on violence against Asians due to the COVID pandemic. The show isn't finished tackling hot-button topics just yet either, as next week's "Why Not Yesterday" will see Max on a mission to fix systemic racism at the hospital. Based on some comments by New Amsterdam star Ryan Eggold, Max may not be anywhere near successful with his approach.

I spoke with Ryan Eggold about all things New Amsterdam ahead of the Season 3 premiere, and he was already hyping the upcoming episode that addresses systemic racism. He described what's in store with Max's approach in the sixth episode that starts a "really interesting conversation about race," saying:

Max sets out to end systemic racism at New Amsterdam, and I think in his optimism and his idealism, the answer to that is simpler than it may be, in his mind. And I think he has a lot to learn there as we all do and so there's a really interesting nuanced sort of journey that he goes on in that episode, to better understanding his own part in that and how we can achieve that, which is obviously more complicated and nuanced than just a quick fix, and involves listening and growing, and understanding and making space. And it's a really relevant conversation. It's a really exciting episode.

Max's efforts to fix the system through optimism and idealism rarely work even on smaller problems, and "Blood, Sweat & Tears" alone showed Max struggling to recruit people to a blood drive and only accidentally succeeding by the end. And that was just a blood drive that came with the perks of puppies, food, and music, not systemic racism. Sometimes his optimism pays off and can even be the boon to help others get through difficult times, but I think it's safe to say that Max hoping to end systemic racism with idealistic stars in his eyes isn't going to work, despite his best intentions and efforts.

The good news is that Max Goodwin is nothing if not determined, and Ryan Eggold's comments indicate that Max could come to understand that the problem is a lot more complex than he realized and will need more nuance for any improvements to be made. The promo for the next episode reveals that Reynolds will give Max some statistics to illustrate racism in the medical field by the numbers, and also that Helen isn't going to handle Max with kid gloves on this subject. Take a look:

Helen is often Max's sounding board at New Amsterdam (although the awkwardness when Max walked in on an intimate moment between Helen and Cassian got in the way of that in "Blood, Sweat & Tears"), but that doesn't seem to be the case based on the promo for the next episode. The footage also shows Max's surprise at a statistic about his own hospital courtesy of the newly-returned Reynolds, and it looks like Max is in for a rude awakening when optimism isn't enough to fix the racism within the system. Speaking with CinemaBlend and other press outlets recently, Ryan Eggold previewed a moment between Max and Helen in the episode:

There are a lot of complicated conversations about race this year that are very interesting, that are very necessary and worth having and sort of nuanced and tricky. And there's not exactly a right answer, or there is but you don't know how to get there. And there's a lot of bold, brave writing in that area this year, from Erika Green, from Laura Valdivia, from all of our writers. And it's been tricky stuff to play... I think it's Episode 6 that Laura wrote and I have to do this little speech with Helen about coming to terms with my own sort of failures in that way. Things I never noticed or things I hadn't thought about enough or ways in which I could be more evolved and better and more aware of others and things. And it's interesting stuff. It's not safe TV, which is exciting.

New Amsterdam has delivered plenty of dramatic twists and tragedies over the years, so Ryan Eggold's comment that this upcoming episode won't be "safe TV" means that "Why Not Yesterday" could be must-see TV for fans. The promo indicates that Max and Helen might not be on the same page for the full episode, but hopefully his speech to her about addressing his own failures will help to bridge the gap between them. Find out when the "Why Not Yesterday" episode of New Amsterdam Season 3 airs on Tuesday, April 6 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

"Blood, Sweat & Tears" set the stage for some changing relationship dynamics moving forward as well, with Max learning about Helen's relationship with Cassian and the two getting closer and closer to having that conversation that they probably should have had by now. Reynolds' move to Lauren's ED meant an adjustment for both of them as Reynolds tried to learn the "jazz" of the ED. Iggy is still trying to find a way to keep himself healthy as he recovers from his eating disorder while still facing horrifying cases of people who need his help.

A lot is happening, so be sure to tune in! Next week's "Why Not Yesterday" won't be entirely about Max's efforts to fix systemic racism, as the episode description reveals that Lauren will be treating a patient who reminds her that not everything is as it seems. For her part, Helen will become overwhelmed dealing with a family matter, which comes not long after she lost a family member and really kind of helps explain why she might not have any patience for Max in the episode. Reynolds will have to try to keep his composure in the process of treating a father and son.

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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. 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).