All good things must come to an end.
Unfortunately, that is the case for the hit NBC series New Amsterdam which is currently airing its fifth and final season on the network.
Over the five seasons of the series, we’ve seen the hospital have its share of triumphs and setbacks, but throughout all of the drama, one question has always remained the same, how can I help?
One of the reasons for the success of the series is the work of Jocko Sims, who plays Dr. Floyd Reynolds.
We had the chance to sit down with Jocko to talk about the final season of the series, what he hopes the legacy of the show will be and what he would like to say to the fans of New Amsterdam who have supported the show from day one.
Pop Culture Principle – Has it truly hit you yet that this season is the end for New Amsterdam?
Jocko Simms – No, it hasn’t and I am surprised by that actually. I think right before I started, I was like oh my gosh, here we go, but with television, you just move so fast and there is so much to accomplish, by the end of the day you are so exhausted and you just want to go home and go to bed.
Every day that I am riding back to work, I am so excited to dive back in to the work. It has not hit any of us yet and I think episode 10 of 13, we will start to get a little emotional.
Pop Culture Principle – Your character, Dr. Floyd Reynolds has had his shares of up and downs over the course of the series. What has this character taught you as an actor and as a person?
Jocko Simms – I would say that it’s reaffirmed for me that Reynolds is a human being and that we all go through things. What was really cool is that Reynolds had a plan and then some things came along and threw him off his plans a couple of times. It started with Bloom and the fact that he had a relationship with her and that was not part of his plan. The fact that he ended up in a polyamorous relationship was not a part of his plan. What I learned is that as human beings, we can have plans, but we are still human and sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.
Pop Culture Principle – In the Season 4 finale, Dr. Reynolds finally finds his father. Will we see this relationship build in the new season and how important is it for Dr. Reynolds to know where he came from?
Jocko Simms – Yes. We will see a lot more of this relationship. It’s important for Reynolds to not only know where he comes from, but for him to understand why his father left. It’s also an opportunity for him to find forgiveness which is important for him.
Pop Culture Principle – Representation is a very important aspect of society and specifically our entertainment. Your character, as a black doctor, has been a shining example of excellence on television without being bogged down by stereotypes. Can you talk a little about the importance of representation and where you conscious of that while playing this character?
Jocko Simms – I very naively started this role not thinking much about the impact of my character Dr. Reynolds. That makes sense because we have to get in there, get in the flow of it, I have to do a good job, the show has to be good and the show has to stay on the air.
So you accomplish that and then after a while, you start to see the impact. I got a tweet from a women who said her young African-American son now wants to be a doctor and I thank you. He believes he can do it because he watched you on screen. Its things like that that sort of makes it kind of known to me and to us and we all appreciate all of that stuff. This character has been a great representation of hard work, he cares about people and he’s serious about what he does and he’s good at it and I’m glad that it has touched people the way that it has.
Pop Culture Principle – Of course, you can’t tell us what the final episode entails, but can you tell us if you are satisfied with the conclusion to Dr. Reynolds journey on New Amsterdam?
Jocko Simms – I have to answer that question honestly and the answer to that question is that I don’t know. I may be read one episode past the one we are filming and I think the writers have designed it that way which I am ok with. I like to be a fan of the show and take that ride. So, I have no idea where we are going to end up and I am really excited about that. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Pop Culture Principle – Looking back on the five seasons of the series, is there an episode or a moment that you think truly represents the kind of doctor and person Dr. Reynolds is?
Jocko Simms – That’s a tough question because there are a lot of episodes and scenes to sift through. I think ultimately Dr. Reynolds is a very patient and kind person. There is an episode coming up where Dr. Reynolds tries to get his mother and sister to do the unthinkable, which is forgive his father for leaving and it’s a battle.
I think it says a lot about the fact that a) he’s willing to forgive someone who hurt him and hurt his family and the people that he loves and b) the fact that he is steadfast and determined. Those two components regarding that situation just sort of exemplifies who Dr. Reynolds is.
Pop Culture Principle – With this being the final season of New Amsterdam, the fans have been supportive and vocal about the series since day one. What would you like to say to the fans that have watched this series?
Jocko Simms – To the fans, I can’t thank you enough for your love and support. I thank you for being true friends. Let me tell you what a friend is. A friend is someone who will be there for you no matter, which you have been, sometimes begrudgingly. Another good quality of a good friend is someone who is going to tell you the truth and sometimes we’ve gotten some things wrong and you all let us know instantly and we appreciated that. So, thank you so much and we could not have done this without you. It sounds so cliché, but it is the truth.
Pop Culture Principle – Looking back at the six seasons that you worked on this show, what are you most proud of about playing this character?
Jocko Simms – I’m really proud of the writers and them being so brave to take leaps and tackle all sorts of social issues. They have done such a great job and I am just proud to have been a part of that moving train which is something I didn’t expect. I thought we were just going to be another medical show, but we made you think and that I will miss.
Pop Culture Principle – New Amsterdam will live on with streaming and physical media. What do you hope the legacy of this show will be?
Jocko Simms – I hope that the legacy will be the mantra that we started with. The age old question, how can I help? The fact that we went through a pandemic while this show was on the air and the fact that we survived that, we learned a lot. Our show donated all our PPE gear to the hospitals in the area and bought food for nurses who were fighting the pandemic on the front lines.
It was a great opportunity in a bad situation to answer the question, how can I help? I hope that will be our legacy and I hope that when they watch the show in the future, they can figure out a way to be of service to their neighbor, a family member or a friend or to a stranger. I hope we inspire people to do that for many years to come!
A huge thank you to Jocko Sims for taking the time to talk with us. You can watch the final season of New Amsterdam on Tuesday nights at 10/9c on NBC.
**All photos courtesy of Ralph Bavaro/Eric Liebowitz/Virginia Sherwood/NBC**