One of the reasons for the success of the series is the work of Jocko Sims, who plays Dr. Floyd Reynolds. Saying that this current season has been a challenge for his character is an understatement.
We had the chance to sit down with Jocko to talk about the character’s current entanglement, what his character thinks of Dr. Veronica Fuentes, played by Michelle Forbes and whether his character truly believes that Max will leave New Amsterdam.
Pop Culture Principle – In the most recent episode, Max was able to save Dr. Reynolds job, but also said that he wouldn’t be able to protect him next time. Is that something that will stick with him the rest of the season, or will he put it in the back of his mind and continue to just do his work?
Jocko Sims – It’s both. It is going to be a constant drumbeat with the fact that we are not safe. I can say to the fans that at this point, it’s a little bit like Game of Thrones. Don’t get too attached to any character, but at the same time, it’s business as usual because these doctors are really good at putting the patients first and we still have a hospital to run. We have some different hurdles now, but we have to press on and move forward.
Jocko Sims – I will say that Dr. Reynolds does have this new position. He’s been promoted twice before now as the character. First, to the Head of the Cardiac Surgery Department in the pilot during the first season and then as Deputy Chair of Surgery when Dr. Baptiste hired him for that position and both of those were filled with exhilaration and joy and to contrast that, he’s not feeling too good about this new position. In an upcoming scene, he tells Dr. Sharpe that this just doesn’t feel right.
Pop Culture Principle – Do you think Dr. Reynolds really believed that this entanglement with Dr. Malvo and Dr. Baptiste was going to actually work?
Jocko Sims – Well, it’s not over yet and I will say that something has to give. I think they are still figuring it out. Did my character expect this? Not at all. I think that it’s a great thing for a number of reasons. It helps keep the story moving.
I pictured Reynolds getting married and starting a family and I am kind of glad it didn’t happen yet because sometimes the road to that journey is a bumpy one for most of us. Also, finding the right person can be difficult. There are some fans who believe that Dr. Reynolds is too good for Dr. Malvo.
You have to realize that there are some people going through something like this, although it may not be exactly like what is going on with our show. Whether it’s infidelity or a polyamorous relationship going into it, or you end up in something like that, it’s real life and I’ve learned that there may be people out there who can actually relate.
Pop Culture Principle – Dr. Reynolds’ mother was a big part of his story recently, but we haven’t seen her lately. Will we see her again this season and if so, I am sure she will have some thoughts on this love triangle. Wouldn’t you agree?
Jocko Sims – I don’t know if we will see the lovely Leslie Uggams in the near future. I just love working with her. She is just an extraordinary human being and talent. The amount of wisdom and the things she’s seen is one thing and she is just so much fun.
What I don’t do is bother the writers to find out what is coming up for a number of reasons. For all you actors out there, you sometimes put the writers in uncomfortable positions with your own personal concerns, not that that is happening with our show, but on other shows, I’ve seen it happen. I like to leave them alone and let them do their jobs.
That being said, I don’t know if we will see Dr. Reynolds’ mother, but it only makes sense. We have to see what she says about this. We all probably know how she would act and if she gets involved, we have to have her find out in some unconventional way. I think it would be very interesting if Dr. Reynolds’ mother met Dr. Malvo and how that would play out. 😊
Pop Culture Principle – Although he’s had very little interaction with Dr. Veronica Fuentes, what do you think Dr. Reynolds thinks of her? Do you see her as somewhat of a necessary evil?
Jocko Sims – That’s a great question because she’s not really wrong about anything she says or suggests when it comes to New Amsterdam. A big shoutout to Michele Forbes who does such a great job as Dr. Fuentes. She’s made a point not to play the typical bad guy and she really takes her time in the scenes to deliver her evil messages in little boxes with bows on them and that’s not easy to do.
Dr. Reynolds is not a big fan of hers and I don’t know who is in the hospital. At the end of the day, much like real life, doctors care about the patients and we just want to help them. The idea that in this system that we call healthcare here in this country, there are these horrible obstacles in the way in order to get that care to the patients is just awful and she is a reminder of that. She is a necessary evil because some sacrifices are going to have to be made in one way or another. We have to balance it out somewhere and maybe Max could learn something from Dr. Fuentes and vice versa.
Pop Culture Principle – One of the standout episode so far this season is episode #5 and his relationship with his patient who was an older woman with something minor but may have stopped him from performing a major surgery which would have done wonders for his career. We saw a different side of him helping someone over career. Can you talk about that episode, that patient and the importance of it when it comes to his evolution?
Jocko Sims – First of all, I am thrilled that you brought up that patient that Dr. Reynolds was trying to avoid. That character was played by Pamela Dunlap who is now a friend of mine and lives in my neighborhood. She was brilliant and very funny in those scenes. We had a couple of scenes that were just as funny that were unfortunately cut out due to time. Maybe in the first season he would have opted to go for the other surgery, but he’s lived a little bit so there have been some changes in him personally.
Pop Culture Principle – Do you think Dr. Reynolds truly believes that Max is leaving, or does he think Max will eventually change his mind and stay at New Amsterdam?
Jocko Sims – At the point that you and I are talking right now, Dr. Reynolds does believe that Max is leaving, and I’ll just leave it at that. 😊
Pop Culture Principle – One of the great things about New Amsterdam is that the show is not afraid to tackle huge issues in today’s society. Healthcare, racial inequalities in healthcare, immigration, BLM and so on. How important is it to have a show talk about these subjects, but not hit you over the head with them?
Jocko Sims – I am living my dream with a dream role. I wanted to be a doctor and was so sure that I wanted to be a doctor in high school. Once I became an actor, I wanted to play a doctor, so this is great. What I did not expect was all these gems of knowledge and information that we drop without hitting you on the head as you said. We talk about things like how patients of color are treated differently when it comes to pain. They are told to take Tylenol and tough it out where the Caucasian patients are given opioids which in itself is a problem for them as well. These human behaviors that we have are so strange.
While I am in this world, but the actors who we hire with disabilities just blows my mind. We had two actors who were on an episode a couple of weeks ago. One character had a stroke and one of the characters had Parkinson’s disease, those actors were John Christopher Jones (Bob Rayburn) and Tim Omundson (“Kit”). I don’t think there is enough attention that is brought to this show for hiring actors that might not have any other opportunities and they are just so damn good. This show should be recognized more for those messages and what we do for actors with disabilities. This show tackles a lot of current issues and it’s a joy for me as an actor to be a part of this show.
A huge thank you to Jocko Sims for taking the time to talk with us. You can catch new episodes of New Amsterdam every Tuesday night at 10/9c on NBC!
**All photos courtesy of Zach Dilgard/Eric Liebowitz/Will Hart/NBC/Universal Television**