New Amsterdam Fanatics are still reeling from losing one of their own.
By the end of New Amsterdam Season 2 Episode 1, the series revealed which of the ladies had died after the accident.
It was the character whom people had suggested most: Georgia.
The decision to kill off a recurring character this soon into the series was a controversial one among many fans, myself included. In many ways, New Amsterdam set itself apart from other medical dramas who rely on a long kill-list for ultimate shock value and emotional manipulation of the viewers.
New Amsterdam was doing something on its own. Losing a character when we just got to know them is frustrating. It’s irritating when the top contenders were the primary female characters.
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It was enough to give fans war flashbacks to a grim TV phase a few years ago where no woman, LGBTQ character, or ethnic minority was safe.
The premiere played with our emotions dragging on the month’s long nail-biting cliffhanger of which woman died. They gave us misdirects and red herrings along the way before Georgia’s death was confirmed.
Does it suck that one of the characters had to die? Absolutely. It’s something some of us still view as unfavorable. However, did the right person die? Also, yes.
The revelation led to a mixture of sadness, resignation, and relief. We’re sad for Max and what this means for him. We’re resigned to a death kickstarting the series. We’re relieved it wasn’t one of the other women.
The revelation also led to a sense of dread and annoyance because of how some fans would choose to react to it.
Sure, Georgia’s death, which according to a TVLine interview is something showrunner David Schulner always planned, is something fans are contributing to a fandom love triangle and Sharpwin ‘shippers.
Schulner admitted that fans of the Sharpwin ‘ship were almost the reason he didn’t follow through with his initial plan to kill Georgia off. He said:
We have a huge fan base who all they want to do is see Max and Sharpe together, and that’s not in the cards right now. So without Georgia, it would actually make that easier, and we didn’t want that. We don’t want them to be together. They’re the best of friends, and that’s the relationship that we’re really excited to explore: two adult friends who love and care for each other. So actually, Georgia being gone made it too easy to give the fans what they wanted. It was actually a thought that maybe we shouldn’t kill Georgia for that very reason.
He always planned to kill Georgia, and it had nothing to do with paving the way for a Max and Helen romantic relationship he doesn’t himself foresee.
To understand “why Georgia,” you have to consider two beliefs can exist without being causational or correlative.
Max and Helen have great chemistry that fans enjoy. Georgia wasn’t high on the list of compelling aspects of this series.
The appeal of Sharpwin and Helen herself could be nonexistent, and the result remains the same. Georgia’s storyline narratively was the weakest and not a driving force for this series.
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It’s not a reflection of Lisa O’Hare, who is great, but it’s the show’s narrative and theme. We were sold on a medical drama first and foremost, not a family drama. As a result, the family and loved ones of the primary doctors of New Amsterdam will always be tertiary characters who are the most expendable.
It’s never going to be about those specific families but rather the effects of the family on one of the main characters/doctors. Outside families are a small portion of this series, not the primary focus of the series.
Aside from diehard Lisa O’Hare fans, did anyone tune into the series specifically for Georgia Goodwin? Doubtful. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Georgia offered a supportive role to the primary character, but she never had an individual storyline that was of note and essential to the story.
Out of the three women, she contributed the least to the show’s overall narrative. Unfortunately, that made her the most expendable.
It never helped matters either that the story she did have wasn’t always at its strongest. But in hindsight, it was obvious that she was on the path toward being killed off and maybe that’s why she wasn’t a strongly written character in the first place.
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The background on the Goodwins was solely meant to explore Max’s character, but not hers. We learned they had marital issues because of Max’s dogged pursuit to improve the healthcare system at the expense of himself and his marriage.
Max and Georgia were separated because of Max’s hyperfocus on work. It was easy to question the two of them rekindling things when their main issue was unresolved.
Max continued to put his health at risk and burn himself out trying to balance his work and home life. Looking back, the need to reunite the pair — before permanently ripping them apart in a tragic fashion — was necessary to get to where we are.
Some fans are upset about this development, and it is sad.
They’re also angry because of this belief that it was meant to open the door for a Helen and Max relationship down the road, and it’s not a fair statement when you look at this objectively. It was the best option for the narrative, not because of future romance, but because of how little Georgia offers to the series as a whole.
Losing Georgia is a blow to Max, even now, what makes it sad is that Max lost another person in his life. He’s a single dad now. He’s raising a daughter on his own.
It’s sad that Luna doesn’t have a mother, and that her birthday is the anniversary of his mother’s death. It’s sad for all the ways it affects Max, but it’s not sad because of it being a significant loss to the series as a whole.
It’s not sad because of Georgia because we didn’t know enough about her to feel her loss on its own without how it affects her husband. She was never developed enough for anyone to have a strong impression of her.
At worst, she was dull and uninteresting. At best, she was the traditional procedural supportive wife who people liked well enough because of how it rounded out the character development of the primary character.
Either way, it made her the most expendable out of the three women. Lauren and Helen are actual doctors at the hospital of this medical series. They have established season-long storylines and much more story left to tell.
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Lauren’s addiction was a nice look into what happens when doctors get burned out and addicted to meds to keep themselves going. It only gets more interesting from here now that she’s battling a new trauma and disfigured leg while trying to stay sober.
It’s a compelling, meaty storyline. You want to see how Lauren’s journey unfolds and how she works through her struggles all season.
Helen has also experienced this traumatic incident and is trying to move on with her life. She had a season-long arc of learning to reconnect with her patients and shoulder their pain without running from it.
She had an intriguing storyline of being an infertile, professional woman who longs for children. She has a rich background of loss and pain, and it’s fascinating to watch her overcome all of these issues and be a better doctor and friend.
She has so much story to tell, not just with Max and her connection to him, but on her own. If it makes things easier for people, the friendship between Helen and Max is noticeably strained, and perhaps we’ll explore why that is, and it’ll be when she wants to support her friend, but he keeps pushing her away.
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Helen has plenty of stories left to tell both at the hospital and outside of it. Lauren has the same. The same could not be said for Georgia, unfortunately, so as a narrative choice, she was always going to be the most logical choice to kill off.
Lauren and Helen have arcs that contribute to the narrative as a whole in this series about good doctors doing what they can to heal their patients and a flawed system.
Georgia only contributed to a fraction of Max’s narrative. The best way for death to have maximum effect without taking away from the narrative was to kill off Max’s wife and explore how this affects his character moving forward.
The series doesn’t come to a grinding halt in Georgia’s absence. If we lost Lauren or Helen, it could have. It would be difficult heading into the sophomore season with their loss after investing in their stories.
Down the road, the series could revisit the loss of one of their own and snatch away one of the beloved primary characters. It’s a solid storyline to explore at some point in a series, whether you’d want them to or not.
It’s still something that could be on the table, and it’ll be devastating if/or when it happens.
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It was too early to do it now, though. It was too risky too.
Whether you loved Georgia or were indifferent. Whether you romantically ‘ship Sharpwin or prefer they remain platonic. Whether you found Lauren’s storyline compelling or annoying, we should be able to agree the result was going to be the same here.
Irrespective of the “Sharpwin agenda” or anything else, Georgia dying always made sense. Her death was the plan.
It was set up from the very first episode. Georgia had a complicated pregnancy and suffered from preeclampsia. She and Max glossed over their issues, reunited, and were happy.
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The setup was there from the beginning, and it was long before anyone could latch onto the chemistry between Max and Helen. In this case, one thing doesn’t relate to the other here.
It’s important not to conflate the ire over losing someone with losing the most expendable character out of the options given.
It’s upsetting that someone had to die. It’s bothersome that it had to be a female character.
We can discuss why it’s terribly cliche that it was Max’s wife, or why saddling one man with this much emotional turmoil and pain is overkill (pardon the pun).
But we also can acknowledge that Georgia dying was the most logical narrative choice; regardless of ‘shipping. The suggestion that something as petty as a popular pairing in fandom is the only reason this was the final decision is letting emotion exceed rationale.
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Alright New Amsterdam Fanatics, what are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think the entire narrative suffers from Georgia’s death? Are you going to miss her?
Hit the comments below!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.