The series has returned from its midseason finale and things pick right up from the huge cliffhanger with Max and Helen moving to London and leaving the hospital in the hands of Dr. Fuentes.
We had the chance to sit down with executive producer and director Peter Horton to talk about the return of the series. What fans can look forward to with Max and Helen’s move, the sticky situation with Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Bloom and Leyla’s serious issue and Iggy possibly making a huge mistake.
Pop Culture Principle – In the most recent episode, myself and many fans thought that with the super bug problem, that would be the one thing that would keep Max from leaving the hospital, yet he still left at the end of the episode.
Peter Horton – Good! That was our goal and we were counting on all of the fans expecting him to stay!
Pop Culture Principle – With Max and his daughter in London with Dr. Sharpe, do you feel that Dr. Sharpe is truly worried that if Max isn’t happy in London, it’s all on her?
Peter Horton – Yes. That is a trump card he can play anytime he wants to. They both subliminally know it even though they don’t speak about it, at least not yet. Going to London was a big move for Max and his daughter and it puts Sharpe one down to begin with and they know it. Even though they are in love with each other and don’t plan on using it and would never admit it to each other, it’s sitting there. It is the elephant in the room.
Pop Culture Principle – Speaking of London, our guess is that Max is going to have some issues implementing his American ideas with the healthcare system in the UK? Would you agree?
Peter Horton – Yes, definitely. In fact, both of them do to a degree. Even though Sharpe was trained in the British system, she’s moved past that. She’s been submerged in the American medical system for a long time and the American culture and the American perspective in terms of what is considered appropriate or not. She definitely runs into her own buzz saws with that and so does Max.
Max has to get his medical license in the UK and he can’t exactly say he was the head of New Amsterdam in New York and feel free to call the current director and ask her for some references. He obviously didn’t leave there on good terms. So, he’s got his challenges getting settled in London.
Pop Culture Principle – Michelle Forbes has been a great addition to the cast at Dr. Veronica Fuentes. Do you see her as a necessary evil in order to help save New Amsterdam?
Peter Horton – All good villains think they’re right and to a degree they are. They have a point of view that is valid. It’s just that what causes villainy in those circumstances is usually a myopic view of something. They can only see their piece of it and can’t see the overall piece and to her, her piece is the fundamental and essential piece and to a degree, she is right. The hospital has to have money in order to operate.
In her tackling these issues, she’s got a rationale and logic that is kind of hard to refute in its own terms. It’s just that when you step back from it and you realize that it is true and it is a way to make the hospital fiscally responsible. The cost of doing that suddenly weights into it.
It’s kind of the challenge in America right now. We’ve basically come to this point were market value is the primary, if not only value in our culture to the detriment of what it means to be human and what makes it a pleasurable and healthy place to live. So, community and care and treating each other respectfully with human values is as important, if not more important to a happy life than making money.
So, it’s kind of the same argument here. Her perspective is that everything has to be sacrificed to the God of fiscal responsibility, but what she isn’t really valuing is the actual pain it causes patients and human beings. Is that really more important and that is the great debate in a capitalist society. I would say and we would say it’s not more important. Max doesn’t care about the money, he just wants to help people and that’s where Dr. Fuentes is right because Max’s way of thinking is going to bankrupt the hospital. And that doesn’t’ help anybody. So, the two of them focused on their myopic value system colliding with each other when the reality is a healthy society and hospital is a good balance of the two and not necessarily an equal balance, but a balance and that is what our show is wrestling with.
Peter Horton – Dr. Wilder is a new character and we are trying to give her dimension. Dr. Bloom could have certainly done it and would do it, but we really wanted to reveal a little more about Dr. Wilder. The main thing about her up to now is that she’s a hearing impaired surgeon which is cool, but what else is true about her? Who is she as a person?
To give her the mantle to not go up directly against Fuentes because she knows she’s not going to win that way, but to go behind her back and to be subversive and smart about it reveals so much more about her and it gave us a chance to really introduce her with a full body as opposed to just the unusualness of her circumstance and condition.
Pop Culture Principle – Speaking of Dr. Fuentes, we see that she found a way to stay on at New Amsterdam and oust Karen Brantley as Board Chair of the Hospital. Will we find out any more of what happened to Karen Brantley?
Peter Horton – Well, the cool thing about where we are at right now is that so many of the characters that we loved whether it be Brantley or Gladys or Casey are out there floating in the ether and not at the hospital anymore. Everybody wants them back including us and the fun is going to be teasing that out and can we find a way to rebuild humpty dumpy and can we put the band back together. That is going to be part of the struggle of the upcoming episodes. As the hospital stumbles more and more, what is Max going to do? How do we respond to the fact that the hospital is a shell of its former self? We have a really cool way that answers that question coming up and it’s a shocker.
Pop Culture Principle – We have an interesting storyline with Dr. Bloom making a donation to the hospital which helped her girlfriend Leyla get a residency position at the hospital. Although Bloom says she’s doing it for her girlfriend, do you feel this is more about Bloom than her girlfriend and how will this affect their relationship moving forward in Season 4? Now that Leyla knows, will we see this play out over the rest of the fourth season?
Peter Horton – There is a big collision with that storyline coming up and it’s really upsetting. This is going to play out for a little while. That’s a real violation on Dr. Bloom’s part and she has to pay for that sin.
Pop Culture Principle – Can you talk a little bit about the current chaotic situation Dr. Reynolds is involved with now and how in the beginning, he was the one who was always in control.
Peter Horton – It’s a good rule of drama that if someone starts out in one place, you can bet they are going to go somewhere else, probably on the other side of that coin. Dr. Reynolds is wonderfully jangled and turned upside down. This is a guy who had his whole life planned out and he was afraid to step outside the lines and now suddenly, everything is up in the air. The interesting thing about it is that’s both disruptive and upsetting to him, but there is also another side to him that he didn’t know he really had that is kind of gratifying for him. So, it’s wonderfully complex in that way and that’s what I love about this show is that no one is one dimensional.
Pop Culture Principle – It seems Iggy is making a big mistake by hiring Trevor to be his head nurse. Although Trevor is qualified for the job, will his flirting with Iggy be an issue moving forward with him and Martin?
Peter Horton – Iggy didn’t tell Martin, he just didn’t and this isn’t going to go anywhere good! Iggy just can’t quite help himself. What I love about what we are doing is that they all connect to the maladies that we setup for them. Iggy has had issues holding back his diet and not falling off of it because he’s got a food compulsion and this is not dissimilar to that. He’s sneaking this Trevor thing like he’s sneaking food. It’s definitely something he should know better about but of course on the other hand, shouldn’t because that’s his malady and his blind spot. He doesn’t know how not to indulge when he shouldn’t.
Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the rest of Season 4 of New Amsterdam?
Peter Horton – Well, circumstances at New Amsterdam are going to reach a critical point and something has got to give. There is definitely going to be a grand battle between Fuentes and Max. It’s a battle for the soul of the hospital and that’s what this season is all about.
A huge thank you to Peter Horton for taking the time to talk with us. You can catch new episodes of New Amsterdam every Tuesday night at 10/9c on NBC!
**Photos courtesy of Virginia Sherwood/Will Hart/NBC**