Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Tuesday. new amsterdam. Proceed at your own risk!
There was a doctor who was conspicuously missing from new amsterdamThe series finale on Tuesday: Dr. Helen Sharpe, played by Freema Agyeman, who left the NBC drama at the end of season 4.
In the series finale, Max announced that he would be moving to Geneva, Switzerland to work for the World Health Organization. As he vowed to play his daughter Luna, who became New Amsterdam’s medical director when she was an adult! — The center of his life with his new job, Max’s romance with Dr. Elizabeth Wilder came to an abrupt end, though the two clearly still had strong feelings for each other. But what about his ex-fiancée, who is mentioned in the penultimate episode?
“[Freema] I was totally down to come back for the season finale,” executive producer and showrunner David Schulner told TVLine. “Our only regret is that she and Anupam Kher, her character [Dr. Kapoor] He died, obviously, on the show, but we would have loved to honor those characters and actors in the finale as well, but we just couldn’t make it work.”
Executive producer/director Peter Horton explains that it was scheduling issues rather than plot that prevented Helen from being part of the show’s swan song. “We really tried it with Freema as well, just to see if we could get her, and she just didn’t turn out well,” says Horton.
Despite that unfortunate circumstance, Schulner believes that “everything worked the way it was supposed to, because the story we had for Freema in the finale wasn’t as good as the one we ended up with,” he shares. “So on the plus side, we would have had Freema in the finale, but the downside is it wasn’t as satisfying.”
Asked if they had to adjust their vision for the series finale following Agyeman’s departure at the end of season 4, Horton says: “I think, to some extent, we had to row a little bit once we realized that she would not return. But as David said, we are very happy with the end result. It’s just different than it would have been if she hadn’t left.”
“We never wanted him to leave. We love her, and she was a huge part of our show,” adds Horton. “She just made a decision that we honor. But given our preferences, especially at the time, we would have said, ‘No, please stay.’ She is a great actress and a lovely person”.
Although Helen hasn’t been a part of the New Amsterdam hospital lately, her presence has been felt throughout the season, especially by Max.
“When [Max’s wife] Georgia died in season 1, she was around for the whole of season 2,” says Schulner. “So we knew that Helen left Max at the altar at the end of season 4, Helen had to be around in season 5 even as Max was trying to move on. You don’t have to go beyond that. Helen has to be part of the show. So we did what we could given the limited footage we had.”
For more on the big developments from the series finale, check out our Q&A with the executive producers. here.
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