There’s a new, maverick boss at the country’s first and best public hospital – and he’s not making changes to make changes.
Nope. He’s a dewy-eyed idealist facing down the hordes of philistinea that keep his hospital from giving the absolute best patient care.
The series opens with a montage sequence introducing Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold, The Blacklist) as he has a morning cuppa joe and jogs to work; other threads of the montage feature a gas leak at the U.N. and a young black boy who comes of the airport and directs a cab to ‘New Amsterdam Hospital.’
Supported by one helluva cast – Sens8’s Freema Agyeman, Salem’s Janey Montgomery, The Last Ship’s Jocko Sims, Sens8’s Anupam Kher and world-class Everyman, Tyler Labine – Eggold goes a long way to making New Amsterdam a solid, if not original show.
It helps that New Amsterdam Hospital treats Ebola patients, Riker’s Island inmates and the President of the United States – the patient list is not that of the usual HMO-run institution.
Immediate changes in the premiere include firing the entire cardiac department and promising to bring ‘healthy food.’
Goodwin clearly does not suffer fools – or doctors who place billing over patient care; and appreciates good food!
He does, however, require a medical test for himself…
The two episodes made available for review take us into the world of New Amsterdam Hospital’s overworked staff – oncologist/publicist Dr. Helen Sharp (Agyeman), cardiac surgeon Dr. Floyd Reynolds (Sims), E/R doc Dr. Laura Bloom (Montgomery), internal medicine specialist Dr. Vijay Kapoor (Kher), and head of the Psych Department Dr. Iggy Frome (Labine in cleverly counterintuitive casting) – and the many and varied cases that come through the hospital.
We get to see them at their best and not-so-best -dealing with their workload and their personal lives (70-30 on workload, but some intriguing stuff in their personal lives).
New Amsterdam is fast-paced enough – and plays enough interesting variations on shows we’ve seen before – that it does entertain.
Eggold, Kher and Labine, especially, help elevate the material (which really is stuff we’ve seen before – right down to Goodwin’s health issue, which was hinted at in the trailers) and, frankly, none of the regular cast disappoints.
Overall, New Amsterdam is a slick, well thought out medical show that manages to take a premise we’ve seen before and give it something of a fresh coat of paint.
It reminds us that sometimes the happy ending is for a patient to have time to say goodbye to their loved ones – or that medicating a child might be clouding over the real problem.
It isn’t E/R (or even Chicago Hope), but it’s a solid show that will definitely earn some fans.
Final Grade: B