Sometimes, when you watch TV professionally for a living, you get paranoid and start to question everything. Case in point: When Max’s doctor on New Amsterdam called him about the lump in his throat, viewers didn’t hear what she told him about the results. And then Max didn’t look especially thrilled when he told Dr. Elizabeth Wilder that he was “healed.” So does that mean Max is not actually cancer-free, as we recently asked in TVLine’s TV Questions column?
“Vlada, my wife had the same reaction that you did,” executive producer Aaron Ginsburg reassures me. “We’ve talked a lot about this in the [writers’] room, and at this moment in time, he meant it. He is cancer-free.”
“But that moment was so much [about] Max and Elizabeth, and what she was going through, that I think the truth of his remission was actually lost,” Ginsburg continues. “She just had surgery and had limited communication, and he was trying to help. But yes, he is cancer-free. It was good news, believe it or not.”
But you can’t blame a TV reporter for worrying, considering that almost every subsequent episode’s “Previously on…” has replayed the “I’m healed” moment, leading one to wonder if the series was trying to remind us of Max’s condition or just the growing chemistry between him and Elizabeth. And was Max teaching his daughter Luna how to make a smoothie by herself to prepare her for life without him?! (Like I said, paranoid!)
“If you carried that fear, I think that’s a good thing because it’s what cancer survivors live with on a daily basis, that it could always come back,” showrunner David Schulner says. “It is a constant fear for Max, and it should be a constant fear for the audience that this is what we’re going to do in our final season.”
And yet, Schulner is ruling out a tragic ending for Max as the series finale approaches (on Jan. 17), noting that another NBC medical drama already did it with Anthony Edwards’ character, Dr. Mark Greene, on ER. “Hopefully, our legacy will be that there’s hope for a better medical system, so I think killing Max would not be a great way to go out,” Schulner adds.
New Amsterdam fans, were you, like me, living in paranoid fear that Max was actually sick again? And are you relieved to be wrong?