New Amsterdam fuels a romance between Drs. Max Goodwin and Elizabeth Wilder, but it’s too little, too late in the final season of the NBC show.
New Amsterdam Season 5 introduced the audience to a new chapter in the life of Dr. Max Goodwin shown after the NBC series revealed he was married to Dr. Helen Sharpe was left at the altar. Medical drama has begun following Sharpe’s shocking departure, a bond between Max and Dr. Building up Elizabeth Wilder – but there’s no reason for it. It doesn’t fit with where the series is as Season 5 will also be its last.
Max and Elizabeth as a romantic couple at this late stage are lazy and insincere. The storyline allows Max to become complacent and rely on having a partner instead of healing and regenerating his passion for the hospital and its staff. Office-to-office romances are popular in medical dramas, but in this case they’re unnecessary and a disservice to the character of Max Goodwin.
Why New Amsterdam’s Max and Wilder Romance is too late
The romance between Max and Wilder follows multiple seasons with Max and Sharpe pushed as the end game. While the lack of it is due to actress Freema Agyeman leaving the cast, introducing another romantic entanglement is futile for Max. Season 5 is the final season and more than half over, making the romance a rushed amenity designed to wrap up Max’s storyline in the conventional way. It also doesn’t feel believable given the lack of any sort of closure between Max and Helen.
In a recent interview with TVLine, showrunner David Schulner said viewers will “absolutely” see Max struggle with potentially breaking away from his relationship with Helen while he’s attracted to Wilder in a similar way he’s “connected with him.” had fight [his wife] Georgia’s death and his growing feelings for Sharpe.” Schulner reflected on the complexities of the situation: “Life isn’t clean enough to have complete stops and starts, be it in your personal life, your love life, your professional life. Everything bleeds into the next.”
This explicitly acknowledges the other problem with this idea: viewers have already seen it. New Amsterdam Fans watched as Max juggled grief at Georgia with increasingly romantic ones at Sharpe, with the added element of guilt that he’d felt anything after the death of his child’s mother. Having him go through a scenario that contains all of the same emotional elements doesn’t make sense and doesn’t do justice to the character that’s the focus of the show.
What the last season of New Amsterdam could have done to Max
New Amsterdam‘s last season, Max could have developed in many other ways. After firing half of the hospital staff in the show’s pilot, he became viewers’ liaison between the medical side of the show and the human side, balancing both sides in a way otherwise only seen The good doctor. He encouraged openness and forged bonds with the other characters through a shared desire to fix the systemic issues that crept up in each episode. But those ideas were sometimes pushed aside as he focused on his romantic life.
This final season was an opportunity for the show to explore Max’s journey to healing and self-acceptance without a romantic relationship. It was also a chance for him to support the other characters – who all struggled in Season 5 – and rebuild the hospital with the vision he introduced in Season 1. His tenacity and willingness to fight for what’s right with a direct and open approach has made both his character and the series so popular… but instead the writers are focused on another romance that barely has time to develop.
New Amsterdam airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC and streams on Peacock.