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Doctors with heart

(Francisco Roman/NBC)

Television

Doctors with heart

NBC show New Amsterdam features a compassionate medical team and secular perspectives

New Amsterdam, an NBC medical drama, stars Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist) as a status-quo-busting medical director, Dr. Max Goodwin. Now in the second half of its first season, the show grew out of Eric Manheimer’s 2012 memoir of his time as director at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

In the pilot, Goodwin gathers hospital staffers and announces, “I work for you so you can work for your patients.” That’s the show’s theme: radically changing hospital protocols to put patients first. Goodwin fires the cardiac surgical department, eliminates waiting rooms, agrees to make hospital food healthy, and refuses to place billing above patient care. By the pilot’s end, skeptical doctors are on board.

The first season portrays typical medical crises and character relationships. It emphasizes compassion, but sometimes unrealistically, as when Goodwin invites homeless people into the understaffed hospital. Ongoing subplots revolve around why the winsome and witty Goodwin is so driven, as well as how he will handle his own dire health diagnosis.

Despite engaging characters, the show has predictable (and secular) scenarios and views: The male head of psychiatry has a husband and two adopted children, and he supports surgical change for a transgender teen. Law enforcement and race issues seem one-sided. Characters rarely broach religious thoughts, but in one episode a doctor turns to another and says, “The Lord works in mysterious ways”—and the second replies, “Yes, she does.”

Positive elements include Goodwin’s overt love for his wife and unborn daughter, a hospital counselor’s desire to find a permanent home for an angry teen lost in the foster system, and staff kindness to a prisoner-patient about to give birth. Doctors routinely call unborn children babies. The script allows for development of deeper issues, so New Amsterdam could improve in its planned second season—or fall into a propagandizing pit.

Comments

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Tue, 02/19/2019 05:17 am

    I don't know what happened at Bellevue under Dr Mannheimer's leadership tenure. Though many hospitals are in need of revamping, as is the system, the power purportedly wielded by Dr Goodwin is unrealistic. But I guess that is TV. The details as mentioned in this article reflect more about the current status of the TV cesspool. Of course the people and relationships will reflect what is happening in society that in the West has lost its moorings. This is one more program to ignore unless one is looking for escapism to mushy sentimentality and current social issues. I recommend watching the various Netflix series on the decades of the 60s through the 90s. Each shows what was happening in the media, esp TV and movies during these decades. If anyone has some been unaware or blinded by what has been happening one only needs to see how decade after decade our society has embraced and extolled the steady spiral into depravity that these media bring to light.

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Thu, 02/21/2019 04:13 pm

    Out there in the world where God is an exclamation point and Jesus is a swear word, you can be sure of two things: the third date is the sex date and the fourth episode of any new TV series is the gay-character-introduction. It's so predictable. All four 2018 debut series bit the dust in our home for the same reason, including the otherwise-promising New Amsterdam, where they really DO use "baby" instead of "fetus".